MLB Betting Picks (Friday, July 31): How Our Staff Is Betting Red Sox vs. Yankees, Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks
Denis Poroy/Getty Images. Pictured: Zac Gallen
Another day, another COVID related postponement in Major League Baseball.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, as it’s also another hefty day of games around the rest of the league — 12, to be exact — and our crew is finding value across much of the slate, including a consensus on how to bet the Dodgers-Diamondbacks moneyline …
Here are our favorite MLB bets on Friday night.
Odds as of 11:40 a.m. ET.
Danny Donahue: Red Sox Moneyline (+175) vs. Yankees
I almost never find myself in a position where I can bet the Red Sox using my brain as the driving force rather than my heart, but tonight’s game is about as close to a perfect storm as there could be when it comes to finding value.
Divisional underdog? Check. High total? Coming off a win? Check. Reverse line movement? Check. A heavily-bet game? Check.
Each of those factors either contributes to an increased variance in the game (which helps underdogs), causes the public to overvalue the other side (like, for example, thinking there’s no way these Red Sox can win three games in a row), or tells us we’re on the same side as the more respected bettors (the sharps).
Obviously when we add this number of filters to a system we start to enter a “too picky” territory, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Red Sox have a better-than-50% chance to win tonight as the above win-rate suggests.
I’m very comfortable calling them a valuable play at +175, however, and would feel good about this bet to about +150.
Collin Wilson: Padres vs. Rockies Under 11.5 (-112)
The estimated time of arrival for the Padres to land in Denver is unknown. San Diego played extra-innings baseball in San Francisco in the last game of Thursday evening, using plenty of pitchers out of the bullpen.
Rockies pitcher Jon Gray allowed one run on three hits in 4.2 innings against the Rangers in his first start. And don’t forget that Gray enjoys pitching at Coors and is the rare Rockies starter that boasts a lower ERA at home than on the road.
Garrett Richards also looked sharp in his opener against the Diamondbacks, allowing just one hit in 5 innings. The Rockies are 26th in wRC+ early this season against righties, so look for Richards to continue his success.
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.
We all know Coors is a launchpad, but there will be a slight wind straight in from centerfield. With my projection at 10, this will be a typical late-July Coors Field under sweat.
BJ Cunningham: Diamondbacks Moneyline (+120) vs. Dodgers
In Tony Gonsolin’s first season in the show, he posted a 2.92 ERA and a .177 BA against in 40 innings of work. However, those numbers are a little deceiving as his xFIP was a whopping 4.98.
His main pitch is his fastball (47.9% thrown in 2019), but it’s not anything special. It has average velocity (93.6 mph) without a lot of movement, and hitters tagged it pretty good in 2019, compiling a .347 wOBA.
His secondary pitches, however, were really effective in 2019. He throws a split-finger, slider and curveball and those pitches were really challenging for hitters in 2019.
Watching the film on Gonsolin, his split-finger has a lot of action, moving in on right-handed hitters. His curveball has 12-to-6 motion and has a really good bite. His slider, though, isn’t anything special; it doesn’t have a lot of movement and kind of just hangs in the zone.
Zac Gallen is the Diamondbacks ace of the future. His fastball, changeup and curveball were electric in 2019, holding opponents to a .186 average. His fastball has average velocity, but he has fantastic control over it and can move it all around the plate.
His change and curveball have some nasty action on them. His changeup is especially elite and almost acts like a sinker with crazy late breaking action.
Gallen’s only issue is his walk-per-9-inning rate is a tad high (4.05 in 2019). He won’t be able to afford getting behind in the count against the Dodgers loaded lineup.
If you want to know more about BaseRuns and how I use it to build my projections, check out this deep dive on my model.
Based on my projections, Gallen rates out way better (0.51 BaseRuns/Inn) compared to Gonsolin (0.63 BaseRuns/Inn) who is due for some negative regression.
I actually have the D-backs projected as favorites in this game at -114, so I am going to back them at +125 and would bet them all the way down to -102.
Stuckey: Diamondbacks Moneyline (+120) vs. Dodgers
I agree with BJ on the Snakes here.
Tony Gonsolin is a promising prospect who had success last year, but I’m not sure how sharp he’ll be tonight. He didn’t make the Opening Day roster because he was late to summer camp and didn’t participate in any of the Dodgers intra-squad games leading up to the regular season.
I doubt he’s all the way stretched out and the LA pen has been taxed the past few nights. The Diamondbacks also saw him last year in his MLB debut and roughed him up.
I’m very high on Gallen, who I think is the best pitcher on the team. He does have walk issues at times but his stuff is fantastic. Gallen also looked very comfortable pitching at Chase Field last year with a 2.25 home ERA.
I show value here down to +110 so will gladly scoop up +125 and hope the dormant Diamondbacks bats finally wake up against a pitcher who might not be in full form and on a very limited pitch count. I also played a portion on the first-five moneyline.