MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Favorite Bets, Including Marlins at Dodgers

MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Favorite Bets, Including Marlins at Dodgers article feature image

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

  • We have a full slate of baseball on Saturday, and our experts have four value bets they're currently eyeing.
  • See their picks and predictions for Brewers-Diamondbacks (8:10 p.m. ET), Marlins-Dodgers (9:10 p.m. ET) and more.

Evan Abrams: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

Rick Porcello (7-7, 5.36 ERA) vs. Tom Eschelman (0-1, 5.06 ERA)

  • Red Sox Moneyline: -215
  • Home Moneyline: +195
  • Over/Under: 12
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

On Friday night, the Orioles beat up on the Red Sox and David Price for an 11-2 win, with Price allowing 8 hits and 6 earned runs in just 4 innings pitched.

In 2019, the Red Sox are just 23-21 after a loss, losing bettors money overall (-$486), whereas in the previous two seasons Boston was a combined 83-45 (64.8%) after a loss, profiting bettors $2,082 on a $100 per-game basis, ranking as the second-most profitable team in baseball.

On Saturday, Boston is starting 2016 Cy Young award-winner Rick Porcello, who hasn’t exactly looked great as of late. Porcello has allowed 21 earned runs in his past 18 innings, with opponents hitting .357 against him. On the road in 2019, he owns a 5.74 ERA, allowing 11.1 hits per nine innings.

Everyone’s natural reaction will be to back Boston after a loss, which is partially why the Sox are north of -200 and receiving 87% of moneyline bets. I will take a stab at Baltimore scoring some runs and staying in this game.

THE PICK: Orioles 1st 5 Inn. Team Total Over 2.5 (+100) | Orioles +1.5 (+135)

Collin Wilson: Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.95 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +128
  • Home Moneyline: -138
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

First pitch should be at 110 degrees with a game-ending forecast of 107. It’s going to be blazing in Phoenix as two pitchers take the mound with much higher xFIP numbers than ERA. Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez has a 4.13 xFIP while Zack Greinke is at 3.62. Regression may come Saturday night with an umpire trend to kick start plenty of runs. Umpire Manny Gonzalez is 89-120 (42.6%) to the under. That is good enough for -36.65 units for an umpire who averages 9.5 runs per game.

Both offenses are in luck, as the Brewers favor matchups against righties while the Diamondbacks rake against lefties. Not only is Milwaukee in the top half of the league in every advance category against right-handers, but the Brewers also sport the second-best walk percentage since May 1. The Diamondbacks have been potent against southpaws in the same time. Arizona is top five in wRC+, wOBA and ISO against left-handers since the beginning of May. With starting pitcher regression, an umpire who favors the over and advanced splits in the sticks favor, the over is the way to play.

THE PICK: Over 9

Sean Zerillo: Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.95 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +128
  • Home Moneyline: -138
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

There is a football betting axiom that you have probably heard a hundred times: “Good teams win, great teams cover.” I think something similar applies to starting pitchers in baseball.

Over the long haul, I think you can judge the true quality of a pitcher, as compared to the consensus opinion of that pitcher, by how he performs in the first five innings (F5) betting market.

Zack Greinke is one of the most profitable F5 pitchers in our database, winning 62% of the time during his career (173-106-51, +$1,512, 4.6% ROI).

All of that profit comes when you support Greinke as an F5 home favorite, where his win rate increases to 71.5% (93-37-21, +$1,715, 11.4% ROI).

And Greinke is 32-12-4 (72.7%, +$708, 14.7% ROI) as an F5 home favorite since he signed with Arizona in 2016.

His elite command keeps him consistent and competitive in every outing. Among active pitchers, Greinke ranks seventh in walks allowed per nine innings (2.105) and 10th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.903).

Per Fangraphs, the Diamondbacks are the highest-rated defensive team in baseball this season. In 2018 they paced MLB with 157 defensive runs saved, which was several standard deviations above league average, 41 runs clear of the second-place Brewers and 96 runs clear of the third-place Athletics.

I believe that defense is typically overlooked in baseball analysis, and for that reason, people consistently underrate the quality of this Arizona squad.

THE PICK: Diamondbacks First Five Innings Moneyline (-140)

John Ewing: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers

Sandy Alcantara (4-9, 3.94 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 3.00 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +276
  • Home Moneyline: -315
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 9:10 p.m. ET

Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for LA on Saturday. The lefty has a 3.00 ERA — 10th in the majors — and has a favorable matchup against a Marlins offense that has scored 343 runs this season, the second-lowest mark in baseball.

The Dodgers opened as -305 favorites vs. the Marlins. Since 2005, the under has gone 106-93-5 (53.3%) when the home team is a favorite of -300 or greater. In the second half of the season, starting in July, the under has gone 80-57-2 (58.4%) in games with big favorites.

The under has been profitable in these matchups because they often feature a dominant hurler who limits the opponent offense, and if the home team is expected to win there is a good chance it won’t bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, which limits the number of scoring opportunities.

With Kershaw facing the Marlins offense, the under is an enticing play.

THE PICK: Under 8

How would you rate this article?