Friday MLB Betting Picks, Predictions: Our Bets for Reds vs. Pirates, Padres vs. Athletics (Sept. 4)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis Jr.
There are 20 — yes, twenty –games on Friday’s MLB slate. We’ll be breaking down several of them here, but as for our favorite spots on the loaded schedule, you’ll find those below.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
Note: Odds as of 11:50 a.m. ET.
Danny Donahue: Reds Moneyline (-175), Run Line (+108) vs. Pirates
A -175 favorite is not really my style. An unpopular -175 favorite, though … now you’re talking my language.
Only 45% of moneyline tickets have landed on the Reds in this afternoon’s first of a doubleheader with the Pirates. Still, Cincinnati has moved from openers around -160 to up near the -180 mark.
Historically speaking, that kind of reverse line movement has been a recipe for profit.
In our database (since 2005), favorites that have opened greater than -130 and seen their line move at least 10 cents on 45% or fewer bets have gone 130-42. Of course, favorites are supposed to win, so that record by itself isn’t very telling.
What is telling is the output: 34.6 units for a 20.1% return on investment.
The same system produces an even greater result on the run line (42.6 units for a 26.8% ROI), but beware that those games were all nine innings as opposed to the seven scheduled for this afternoon, meaning there was more time for the better team to break away.
A reason to feel confident that could still happen here? The wind at PNC will be blowing straight out to center at 9 mph throughout the game, which sets up nicely for run-scoring.
Even better? Cincinnati ranks second in the majors in fly-ball percentage off lefties (Pittsburgh sits at 25th against righties), so if either team is going to be making use of that wind, it should be the Reds.
I’ll split my bet in half in hopes that seven windy innings are enough for Cincy to get out to a two-run lead.
BJ Cunningham: Padres (+124) vs. A’s
The Padres have been the hottest offense in baseball over the past two weeks, posting a .388 wOBA and a 146 wRC+. Manny Machado is starting to justify his $300 million contract, as he’s hit five home runs and driven in 15 runs over his past 12 games, which has led to a .495 wOBA.
And although the Padres are better against righties compared to lefties, they still hit left-handed pitching hard (.344 wOBA & 117 wRC+), so they should have a good matchup against Luzardo tonight.
Zach Davies has actually been very effective to this point in the season. He is well below his career average in both ERA (2.61) and xFIP (3.99) and has been on point with his control.
Davies has a 0.90 WHIP, 1.96 BB/9 and 0.87 HR/9, which all are career-best marks for him. He should have a good matchup against an A’s lineup that has been ice cold over the past two weeks (.297 wOBA & 89 wRC+).
Luzardo is Oakland’s top prospect and has some electric stuff. He brings 97 MPH cheese from the left side, followed up by a sick curveball and a decent changeup. However, Luzardo has been a little erratic at times this season. In 32.2 innings pitched he’s allowed 33 hits and 11 walks, which has pushed his WHIP all the way up to 1.37.
His curveball has been his only effective pitch this season, as it’s his only one allowing a wOBA under .320. With the Padres red-hot offense coming to town, Luzardo will have to be on his game tonight.
With how good the Padres offense and Davies have been this season, I don’t think they should be underdogs in this game. So I think there is some value on San Diego at +124.