MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/29: Margevicius vs. Soroka Is a Sneaky Pitchers’ Duel
Jake Roth, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nick Margevicius
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps to find edges in betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and First 5 (F5) innings.
- He analyzes the April 29 slate of baseball games with his model below, including the Astros-Twins (7:40 p.m. ET) and Dodgers-Giants (9:45 p.m. ET) matchups.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
The verdict on Chris Sale? He’s still not right.
Sure, Sale struck out eight Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, but he continued to throw his fastball just 37% of the time, and the average velocity on the pitch was his third-worst mark of the season (91.3 mph).
After watching their reigning World Series champions play to an 11-17 start, while also knowing that their club signed Sale to a five-year, $145 million extension in March, all Red Sox fans must have that deer in the headlights look right about now:
Meanwhile, Mets fans have been fighting for their players, doing whatever it takes to distract their opponents in order to bring runners home:
Recapping Yesterday’s Model
The model went 2-2 against full-game moneylines and 1-3 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Sunday.
My actual picks went 4-3, and I was up 2.63 units for the day.
It was another positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 20-25 cents on my Rays moneyline wagers (+143, +138 to +118), nine cents on the Mets moneyline (-112 to -121), four cents on the Arizona moneyline (+104 to +100) and was within a penny on the San Francisco and Texas plays.
The total that I selected also dropped from 9 to 8.5 runs, but suffered a bad beat in 15 innings after going to extras tied at 3-3.
On Deck for Monday, April 29
All odds as of Monday morning (view live odds).
The model recommends three full-game moneylines for Monday.
At the time of writing, the 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants as the full-game plays.
It is always more difficult to find value in a smaller slate, and that isn’t the exception today. I think that all three games that the model spit out are worth playing, but I’m also not pressing more than 0.5 units on any of the three picks.
I played the San Diego line a bit prematurely, as it has already moved away from me as of the time of writing. The Padres opened as a +125 road underdog, but are currently lined around +145 after Fernando Tatis Jr. left yesterday’s game with a potential hamstring injury while making a split save catch:
I took the Padres at odds of +141, with rookies Nick Margevicius and Mike Soroka facing off. Soroka, a former first-round pick out of Canada, is the Braves’ top prospect and the No. 23 overall prospect per MLB pipeline.
Soroka is a highly efficient righty with plus control of his pitches, who uses a sinking fastball, slider, and change-up to generate weak contact in the zone.
Soroka is already a No. 3 or 4 starter, with the upside to become an All-Star caliber pitcher during his best seasons. Maybe it’s the Braves uniform, but Soroka’s stuff and command remind me of Tim Hudson.
Padres starter Nick Margevicius was a less-heralded prospect (7th-round pick in 2017), but San Diego moved him aggressively through their system, promoting Margevicius to their 2019 rotation after posting a 146:17 strikeout to walk ratio in Single-A baseball last season.
He is just the second player from the 2017 MLB draft to reach the major leagues and did so by taking advantage of all of the professional resources at his disposal.
The 22-year-old lefty out of Rider University hasn’t disappointed, with a 2-2 record, 3.60 ERA and a 23:7 strikeout to walk ratio over his first five major league starts (25 innings pitched).
Margevicus’s early batted ball data suggests that he is already an above-average starting pitcher, and likely just as effective as Soroka. I’m buying back a bit here against the steam coming in on Atlanta, especially with their bullpen becoming a major point of concern.
The San Francisco Giants have only scored 3.2 runs per game, the second fewest in baseball (Miami is at 2.8 per game) making them a difficult team to back against the Dodgers.
However, since the start of the 2017 season, the Giants are 18-23 against their biggest rival despite being an underdog in every game, and a $100 bettor would have netted $440 blindly backing them; for over a 10% return on their investment.
The Giants are 85-90 at home vs. 63-114 on the road over that same stretch of time, as playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly home parks in baseball keeps all games tighter and within reach.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija missed time and suffered from performance issues due to a torn pectoral muscle and shoulder inflammation in 2018, but he’s already back to being a league average pitcher (by several metrics) in 2019.
The Shark is also making tweaks to his repertoire, now throwing a cutter 23% of the time (up from 9% in 2018) as he decreases the usage of his four-seam and two-seam fastballs. He’s worth backing today at plus-money at home.
Lastly, the Minnesota Twins host Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros, and I think that Minnesota can also be a live underdog tonight.
For one, Twins starter Jake Odorizzi has tripled his curveball usage in 2019, from 5.3% career to 17.8% this season. He’s throwing his slider less and has nearly eliminated his cutter too.
Odorizzi’s swinging-strike rate is also up to a career-high (12.5%), a 2.5% increase, and he has gained one tick on his fastball since 2018 (91.3 mph to 92.3 mph).
The Twins are also smashing home runs at an impressive rate (mostly against the Orioles). They hit 12 over the past weekend at home against Baltimore which marked their most in a three-game series in franchise history; surpassing the 11 that they hit at a series in Baltimore last week.
Minnesota has hit 49 home runs in 25 games this season, the third most in baseball (behind Seattle with 59, and Texas with 54), but the most on a per game basis (1.96). Their .846 team OPS tops the next closest offense, Atlanta, by 0.22 points; a larger gap than exists between Atlanta and the ninth-placed team.
The perpetually underrated Eddie Rosario already has 11 home runs on the season:
There is certainly inflation built into those numbers due to their batting against the worst pitching staff in baseball (Baltimore), however, the Twins offense is also legitimately better in 2019.
Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jonathan Schoop were necessary veteran additions to a team who also needed and is getting growth seasons from younger players like Max Kepler.
The Twins are currently 16-9, with a two-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. If they want to prove that they have a legitimate shot of winning their division in 2019, they’re going to need to win games like the one that they have tonight – against Justin Verlander and the World Series favorite Houston Astros – especially at home.
Bets (So Far) for April 29
- Minnesota Twins (+156) Game Moneyline
- San Diego Padres (+141) Game Moneyline
- San Francisco Giants (+135) Game Moneyline
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/29: Moneylines & Over/Unders
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover full game and First 5 moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below.