MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/20: How to Bet Saturday’s 2 Doubleheaders
Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Max Kepler
- 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 20 slate of baseball games with his model below, including the Mets-Cardinals and Rockies-Phillies matchups.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
If you have ever wondered why Chicago is called the “Windy City,” you likely assumed that it had something to do with the strong gusts of air caused by nearby Lake Michigan.
Historians would argue that the reference stems from late 1800s politicians in the city who were “full of hot air.”
But if you watched the Diamondbacks-Cubs game on Wednesday afternoon, you would know that the wind at Wrigley creates absolute havoc, too:
It was far from the only strange play caused by wind during the game.
Anything hit in the air was a cause for utter panic — for players and spectators alike. What would have been routine pop fouls along the baselines on otherwise clear days floated 40 feet into the stands, and there were numerous, embarrassing missed catch attempts.
The Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte (formerly a middle infielder) is still in the midst of transitioning to center field, and the baseball gods were not so kind to his position change on Friday:
The wind in Chicago is strong and blowing in at Wrigley once again today (though not as much as yesterday).
My projections (which do not currently include a weather adjustment) are about a full run higher than the betting market for both the game and the first five innings, but I won’t be playing either total in these wacky conditions.
Recapping Yesterday’s Model
The model went 1-1 against full-game moneylines and 0-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Thursday. It also went 0-1 against totals in the F5 market.
My actual picks went 2-3, and I was down 1.21 units for the day, mostly as a result of playing Colorado’s F5 moneyline twice (they again failed to score until later innings).
It was another positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained two cents on the Mets (+141 to +139) and the Diamondbacks (+158 to +156) moneylines, four cents on the Angels moneyline (-116 to -120) and 17 cents combined on my Rockies F5 moneyline wagers (-132 and -135 to -142).
Unfortunately, I did give 10 cents back on the total (-120 to -110).
On Deck for Saturday, April 20
All odds as of Saturday morning.
With two doubleheaders scheduled (Minnesota-Baltimore and Atlanta-Cleveland), there are 17 games on the docket for today.
The model recommends five full-game moneylines and five moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Saturday.
The 4% trigger threshold officially marked Baltimore (for both games), Kansas City, Miami and Texas as the full-game moneyline plays. It also likes Baltimore (both games), Cleveland (Game 1), Philadelphia and St. Louis as F5 plays.
Let’s talk about the two doubleheaders quickly.
Cleveland is lined similarly at home (-140 and -148) with both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer against the Braves.
The Twins have a difference of nearly 60 cents between their two moneylines at the Orioles (-200 and -140), representing the talent gap between Jose Berrios and Martin Perez.
As my colleague John Ewing has written about previously, “a common approach among bettors when handicapping a doubleheader is to fade the Game 1 winner in the second matchup — the idea being that the team that lost the previous game will be more motivated while the winner might rest starters to avoid fatigue.”
John found this approach to be unprofitable; however, he did find value in visiting teams that won Game 1 of the doubleheader as a favorite that were also favored in the second game.
As a result, I will be looking to play Minnesota on the road at Baltimore in Game 2 if and only if Jose Berrios and the Twins take care of Game 1 — completely going against my projection and the model recommendation.
Baltimore is on my personal “do not bet” list, so I won’t be picking those model recommended plays. The Marlins and Royals are also on my “do not bet” list, and I’m not taking a shot against either Max Scherzer in Miami or Masahiro Tanaka at Yankee Stadium.
That leaves Texas as the only potential full-game play and is something that I will definitely consider at over +200 in a major contrarian spot at home against a divisional opponent.
In the F5 market, I’m likely going to consider playing all three of Cleveland (Corey Kluber), Philadelphia (Aaron Nola) and St. Louis (Miles Mikolas).
Corey Kluber might be undervalued today because he is going through his typical April swoon, with a 6.16 ERA and 1.8 WHIP in 2019. March and April are typically Kluber’s worst months, with 3.84 ERA and 1.2 WHIP splits compared to a 3.03 ERA and 1.08 WHIP for his career.
Kluber has also been dominant over 24 career interleague starts: 14 wins, 7 losses, a 0.948 WHIP and a 177:17 K:BB ratio in 161.1 innings pitched.
The Klubot commands his entire arsenal (sinker, cutter, slider, change-up, four-seamer) like a kid toying with whiffleballs:
Aaron Nola’s early 2019 struggles are a more interesting case.
Nola’s first-pitch strike rate is down 16.4% (to 48.3%), and batters are having more success against him outside of the zone – reducing their swing rate at balls by 7.5% (33.7% to 26.2%) while increasing their contact rate by 7.6% (60.4% to 68.0%) on those same pitches.
Nola’s curveball is one of the most devastating pitches in the game; it ranked first in overall curveball pitch value (per FanGraphs) last season and third on a per-pitch basis (behind Kluber and Zack Greinke, and ahead of Blake Snell):
Miles Mikolas is the third F5 favorite that we might be backing today, more so as a result of the Mets pitching situation. Not only is Chris Flexen taking Jacob deGrom’s start, but Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo, the Mets’ two best bullpen arms, also will likely not be available.
Due to blowups from Jason Vargas and Steven Matz, the Mets bullpen has been completely taxed over the past week, and they will be looking for pure length out of Flexen today, regardless of how he pitches.
The Mets stole a game last night with Vargas starting (using Lugo and Diaz to get to the finish line, but barely), and they are completely set up for a major letdown spot on Saturday.
Lastly, I played under 8.5 runs in the Boston-Tampa Bay game. Though I project that game for 8.2 runs today, I see positive market signals on a system that my colleague Josh Appelbaum now has me monitoring:
Bets (So Far) for April 20
Thus far, I have locked in:
- Under 8.5, Boston at Tampa Bay
I’m currently watching the following lines for the best prices:
- Minnesota Game 2 Moneyline (but only with a win in Game 1 of the doubleheader)
- Texas Game Moneyline
- Cleveland F5 Moneyline
- Philadelphia F5 Moneyline
- St. Louis F5 Moneyline
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/20: 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.