MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/26: Backing a Pair of Aces and … Carlos Rodon?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carlos Rodon
- 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 26 slate of baseball games with his model below, including the White Sox-Tigers and Indians-Astros matchups.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
Once you stop searching for something, it usually finds you.
Whatever you’re doing, you always need to let go of the endless possibilities that exist. Focus on the present — only the things that you can control — and sometimes things will work out flawlessly:
Willson Contreras totally meant to foul this ball INTO the umpire's pocket. pic.twitter.com/BLwYlf22lP
— Official Vlad Jr. Fan Account (@Cut4) April 25, 2019
Factoring in the two A’s-Mariners games in Japan, we’ve been at this for a full month now, and I finally swept the board on Thursday; just when I stopped thinking about it.
I took a reverse sweep (0-4) on April 7 and was under .500 for the season (33-34-1) at that point, but still up five units. The next day, I said that I’d be happy if I continued to hit on my picks at around 50% for the season. That’s honestly still the case.
However, three weeks later and I’m on a 57-35-5 (61.9%) tear since, up nearly 13 units.
The truth of these projections is almost certainly between 50-60%, and most likely below my current season percentage (56.6%), particularly with the number of underdogs I’ve played.
It’s been a great run that I hope to continue, and even if I take another reverse sweep today, I couldn’t be more optimistic about this process going forward.
Something else to get excited about? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. makes his long overdue major league debut!
Vladito’s barrels were becoming legitimate threats to human life down in the minor leagues, so the Blue Jays were legally forced to bring him up to the majors:
Vlad Guerrero Jr. just hit one into the parking lot. YO.
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 18, 2019
To say I’m excited about his debut doesn’t do today justice.
Don’t be like Jesse Winker, grab some snacks and get ready for the reign of Vlad II to begin:
Jesse Winker thought about it, but he’s dieting.pic.twitter.com/N88AHyWfJJ
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) April 26, 2019
Recapping Yesterday’s Model
The model went 3-1 against full-game moneylines and 3-0 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Thursday.
My actual picks went 6-0, my clean sweep of the season, and I was up 3.46 units for the day!
It was a slightly positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained three cents on the Dodgers full game moneyline (-115 to -118) but gave it all back on their F5 line (-115 to -111). The same exact thing happened with Cleveland, gaining 10 cents on the full-game line (+150 to +140), but losing four cents on the F5 line (+140 to +144.
Cincinnati’s game moneyline never moved off of -136, but I did gain five cents on their F5 line (-145 to -150).
On Deck for Friday, April 26
All odds as of Friday morning (view live odds).
Based on opening lines, the model recommends two full-game moneylines and four moneylines for the first five innings (F5) for Friday.
The 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Cleveland Indians and Miami Marlin as the full-game plays. It also likes the Indians and Marlins as F5 plays, in addition to the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets.
As of writing, Boston does not currently have a starting pitcher announced for its matchup against Tampa Bay. That game was flagged as an edge play, on Charlie Morton and Tampa with David Price lined up to pitch for Boston, but Price’s start was pushed back to Saturday.
Let’s start with Corey Kluber and the Tribe, who I’m backing for the second consecutive day against the Astros in the first five innings and over the full game.
I’m playing it slightly differently today in the F5 market though, taking the half of a run on the runline, meaning that I would win on what would otherwise be a moneyline push!
Generally, one position player doesn’t make a huge difference on any MLB team, but this Cleveland lineup needed Francisco Lindor back in the worst way.
Cleveland also sent Hanley Ramirez packing after signing former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose lefty bat seems like a much better fit in this lineup.
Jose Ramirez finished third in 2018 AL MVP balloting, but Lindor is the engine behind this Cleveland team. They play with a different gusto when he’s on the field and in the dugout, jumping around and smiling like a kid on Christmas. Lindor’s personality is infectious:
Our top play of the 2018 season was a home run that we'll never forget.
Francisco Lindor has a habit of bringing movie script stories to life. pic.twitter.com/nIC7CNhpzv
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) December 31, 2018
You’re also getting Kluber as a plus-money underdog in that game today, which is a rarity because he has won two out of the past five AL Cy Young awards, and finished in the top 10 of Cy Young voting for SIX consecutive seasons!
Kluber was dominant against the Astros over two 2018 regular-season starts (combined 13.1 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 17 K), but was hit harder by Houston in a Game 1 loss in the 2018 ALDS (4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 HR, 2 BB, 7 K).
Kluber has also been a bit rusty so far this season, allowing 18 total runs over his last 19 innings pitched and four home runs over his past two starts (9.2 IP) But there’s nothing in his statistical profile, velocity readings or spin rate data to suggest that he’s anything but the pitcher who has been a true Ace since 2014:
Corey Kluber, 2018 Highlights. 😳 pic.twitter.com/n2omLRK9sw
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 15, 2019
I like the Jacob deGrom and the Mets as an F5 play, too, for similar reasons as I like the Kluber play: Everyone thinks that deGrom has been terrible this season and that he might even be injured. I don’t see any evidence of that.
For one, his terrible stats consist of a 3.68 ERA, with a 36:7 strikeout to walk ratio in 22 innings pitched. He’s struck out 39% of the batters he’s faced (32% in 2018) and his 15% whiff rate is in line with last season.
His average fastball velocity (96.9 mph) is also ahead of where it was last season. I won’t lay the big moneyline juice on the Mets (-175 as of writing), but I will take lay the F5 runline (-0.5) at a shorter price with deGrom finally getting run support from an improved Mets lineup.
I also think that the White Sox have a big pitching mismatch in the F5 part of their game against the Tigers, with Carlos Rodon taking on Daniel Norris.
Rodon was the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft — out of NC State, and one spot ahead of Kyle Schwarber — but he has struggled with injuries and command inconsistency since making his MLB debut in 2015.
There’s an old adage that it takes left-handed pitchers longer to develop, and this 26-year-old southpaw might finally be figuring things out. His whiff rate (12.5%) and strikeout minus walk percentage (19.3%) are each career bests and big improvements from 2018 (9% and 6.8% respectively).
Rodon has consolidated his repertoire into three pitches (four-seamer, slider, change-up), eliminating his two-seam fastball and bumping his slider usage by 13% from 2018, to 39% this season. His slider has been a huge net positive in his career, saving him 39.2 total runs compared to an average pitcher, while his fastballs have cost him 28 runs and his change-up has cost him 14 runs.
It makes sense to throw your best stuff as often as possible:
Carlos Rodon, Nasty 87mph Slider. 😷 pic.twitter.com/wDELVaRIC3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 19, 2018
Lastly, I played over 7 in Padres-Nationals, as I saw a split in the market between over 7 and under 7.5.
I remain personally unconvinced by Padres’ starter Matt Strahm, a popular breakout candidate heading into 2019, with his low strikeout totals and below average fastball. His velocity is still down more than 2 mph from last season, and I have this game projected for 7.9 runs.
With Max Scherzer pitching for Washington, one alternative play could be to play the over on Washington’s team total.
Bets (So Far) for April 26
- Cleveland Indians (+0.5, -135) F5 Runline
- Cleveland Indians (+125) Game Moneyline
- Chicago White Sox (-130) F5 Moneyline
- New York Mets (-0.5, -125) F5 Runline
- Over 7 (-115), San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
I’m going to continue to monitor the Tampa Bay-Boston game, as there might be something actionable on the Rays depending upon the Red Sox pitcher.
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/26: 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.