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

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

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99).

  • We have a full slate of baseball on Friday, and our experts have six value bets they're currently eyeing.
  • See their picks and predictions for Red Sox-Orioles (7:05 p.m. ET), Marlins-Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET) and more.

Collin Wilson: San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs

Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74 ERA)

  • Padres Moneyline: +152
  • Cubs Moneyline: -165
  • Over/Under: 12.5
  • First pitch: 2:20 p.m. ET

From his season totals it would seem Eric Lauer cannot be trusted, as his ERA is eclipsed by an xFIP of 4.67. The bulk of the damage came in two starts at Coors Field, however, where Lauer was tagged for 13 earned runs in 5.2 innings with 18 hits and four walks to sink his WHIP. Take out the trips to Colorado, and Lauer has posted a sub-3.00 ERA on the season.

The Cubs are heading in the wrong direction against left-handed pitching. Since June 1 against lefties, Chicago is 29th in wRC+ and wOBA. In that same time span, the Cubs have the third-highest strikeout percentage in the league versus southpaws. A league-high ground-ball percentage of 51.5% may keep that ball in the yard when Lauer takes the hill.

THE PICK: Padres +1.5 -115

Danny Donahue: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

David Price (7-2, 3.16 ERA) vs. John Means (7-5, 2.94 ERA)

  • Red Sox Moneyline: -250
  • Orioles Moneyline: +215
  • Over/Under: 9.5 (o-120)
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

While the pitching matchup may not advertise it, there’s plenty to like about tonight’s Boston-Baltimore over. In fact, the starters’ low respective ERAs may have actually helped keep this number from getting out of hand.

First off, we have a big road favorite. That means there’s a very good chance that the bottom of the ninth will be played, as the Red Sox are more likely to be winning this game after 8.5 frames, and, obviously, more half innings mean more chances to score.

Baltimore is also expected to see temps over 90 degrees with a breeze blowing straight out to center, creating optimal hitting conditions — as is the case with many of today’s games.

Lastly, we’ve got a solid bet-vs.-money discrepancy on this game, as the 57% of over bettors have accounted for 85% of actual money being wagered. That means bigger bettors — the ones more likely to be sharps — are on the over. The market has responded by juicing up the total to 9.5 (-120), and a few shops have even shifted up to 10.

THE PICK: Over 9.5 (-120)

Mark Gallant: Red Sox at Orioles

David Price (7-2, 3.16 ERA) vs. John Means (7-5, 2.94 ERA)

  • Red Sox Moneyline: -250
  • Orioles Moneyline: +215
  • Over/Under: 9.5 (o-120)
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

I’ve taken a few overs on today’s sweaty slate, but I suppose my favorite of the bunch is Sox-O’s. I will need the Orioles to do something against David Price, but I think the Red Sox should be able to take advantage of John Means at hot Camden Yards.

Means has a K/9 below 8, which means there should be plenty of balls put in play by Sox bats. More importantly is the fact that Means’ fly-ball rate of 46.9% is among the highest of starting pitchers. With 90-plus degree temps, a 6-7 mph wind blowing out to center and an accompanying Weather Rating of 77… all signs point to balls soaring tonight.

Frequent fly balls are not going to be Means’ friends on a night like this one. You also can’t forget the fact that Baltimore’s bullpen has a league-leading 1.83 HR/9.

THE PICK: Over 9.5 (-120)

Josh Appelbaum: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers

Marcus Stroman (5-10, 3.25 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (0-6, 7.01 ERA)

  • Blue Jays Moneyline: -162
  • Tigers Moneyline: ++149
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Normally, if the public sees a pitcher with a 7.01 ERA, they’ll pound the over until the cows come home. But with a dealing Marcus Stroman (top-10 ERA in the AL) facing a light hitting Tigers lineup in a game with a high total, average Joes are on the fence when it comes to this over/under.

Not the sharps. They’ve taken a clear side.

The total opened at 9.5. Currently 54% of bets are taking the over, which indicates an ever-so-slight public lean. However, we’ve seen this line rise from 9.5 to 10. In a vacuum, the line shouldn’t move at all if the betting percentages are virtually split down the middle. Maybe you’ll see a slight juice adjustment of a few cents, but not a full half-run move. As a result, we know wiseguys are responsible for this uptick in the total, not casual bettors who are undecided.

Sharps have been pounding the over all day long. We’ve tracked five separate steam and reverse line moves on the Over 9.5, without a single conflicting play (or buyback) on the under. None of the over moves came at 10. So pros are telling you the 9.5 is key so that you cash a 8-2, 7-3 or 6-4 game instead of push.

This over also matches several profitable Bet Labs systems. So far this season, high-total overs (10 or higher) have gone 143-108 (57%), winning +30.64 units with a 11.19% ROI. Totals that have risen a half run have gone 173-149 (54%), winning +20.86 units with a 6.2% ROI.

Comerica Park is also a big over stadium, especially in the first game of a new series. Since 2005, the over has gone 200-156 (56.2%), winning +33.43 units with an 8.8% ROI in series openers. An added bonus: The wind is blowing out to left at 7-12 mph, and it’ll be scorcher at game time (87 degrees). Perfect conditions for bats to come alive.

THE PICK: Over 9.5/10

Evan Abrams: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.39 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.71 ERA)

  • Nationals Moneyline: -120
  • Braves Moneyline: +110
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

The Braves have lost three straight after winning eight of their prior nine games. They still lead the Nats by 5.5 games in the NL East and have Julio Teheran on the mound, who has been a very different starter at home than on the road in 2019.

He owns a 2.66 ERA at home and a 4.45 ERA on the road. If you look start-by-start at Teheran’s home game log, you’ll notice two blips. He allowed four earned against the Padres and six against the Mets; in his other six starts, he allowed one earned run or less. Teheran was scheduled to pitch on Thursday against Stephen Strasburg but now gets an extra day of rest and is still listed as a home underdog.

On the other side, Nats starter Patrick Corbin has similar splits to Teheran. He owns a 1.84 ERA at home compared to a 5.17 ERA on the road this season. Corbin has been lights out in his last few starts but has also faced just the Phillies, Marlins and Royals in that span.

I think there is value in Atlanta tonight at plus money.

THE PICK: Braves +110

John Ewing: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers

Zac Gallen (0-1, 4.24 ERA) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.78 ERA)

  • Marlins Moneyline: +254
  • Dodgers Moneyline: -281
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

The Dodgers (64-35) are good. The Marlins (36-58) are bad. Great analysis, right?

Well, that is often how recreational gamblers handicap games. A team’s record influences the public’s betting tendencies, and oddsmakers know this. The bookmakers will inflate lines for good teams knowing the public wants to bet on them, which creates an opportunity for contrarian gamblers.

Using the Bet Labs database, we have found that it is profitable to fade good teams (win rate of at least 60%) in the second half of the season when they face a bad team (win rate of 40% or lower). Following this simple strategy, a $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $3,239 since 2005.

THE PICK: Marlins +254

Sean Zerillo: New York Mets at San Francisco Giants

Jacob deGrom (5-7, 3.21 ERA) vs. Tyler Beede (3-3, 5.44 ERA)

  • Mets Moneyline: -175
  • Giants Moneyline: +157
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 10:15 p.m. ET

Behind the Minnesota Twins (+$1,198), the San Francisco Giants have been the most-profitable MLB underdog to back this season.

The Giants have netted a profit of $1,086 for a $100 bettor in the role of underdog, with a 15% return on investment, despite a 35-38 record.

The Mets have been the third-least profitable team to back as a favorite in 2019, costing bettors $611 despite a 25-23 record.

The Giants are also red-hot and playing the best they have all season, with a 12-2 record in July after playing .500 baseball in June and a wRC+ that is league-average (100) over the past two months.

Over that same span, their bullpen ranks second with a 3.89 xFIP, and fourth with a 3.90 FIP. The Mets bullpen ranks 26th (4.92) and 28th (5.33) by the same pitching metrics.

For the season, the Giants rank 13th in defensive value (+2.1), while the Mets rank 30th (-43.0).

With a 48-49 record, the Giants sit only 2.5 games back in the NL Wildcard hunt, and though their run differential is roughly the same as the Mets’ (-37 vs. -34), the Mets have gone just 16-22 with a -23 run differential since the start of June.

Tyler Beede has shown renewed confidence in his slider, and with a game total of 7.5 (after Bumgarner-Syndergaard was listed at 7.0 on Thursday), I’m expecting a big effort from the Giants’ young righty.

THE PICK: Giants (+157)

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