MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/18: Can Kyle Freeland Continue the Rockies’ Winning Streak?

MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/18: Can Kyle Freeland Continue the Rockies’ Winning Streak? article feature image

Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Freeland

  • 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 18 slate of baseball games with his model below, including the Rockies-Phillies and Dodgers-Brewers matchups
  • Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.

On Wednesday, benches cleared between the Royals and White Sox after Brad Keller plunked Tim Anderson:

Anderson had pimped his home run off of Keller earlier in the game, and Keller decided to hit him with a well-placed, 92 mph fastball (Keller throws 94-95 mph normally) to start the bottom of the sixth inning in game tied at 2-2.

This is your reminder not to bet on the Royals, White Sox, or any teams that aren’t trying to win baseball games in 2019. If the Royals cared about winning this season, in the slightest, they wouldn’t risk losing a 2-2 game in order to give Tim Anderson a bruise on the bum.

Nevermind the fact that this is all incredibly stupid. A bat flip doesn’t harm anything except a pitcher’s confidence. A misplaced beanball can end a career.

This is a game, after all … isn’t it supposed to be fun? I say let the bats fly, and let pitcher egos die.

Recapping Yesterday’s Model

The model went 1-1 against full-game moneylines and 0-1-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Wednesday. It also went 1-0 against totals, with the projection nailing the Under 11 (9 runs vs. 9.2 projected) in the Rangers-Angels matchup.

My actual picks went 3-0-1, and I was up 1.74 U for the day.

It was also a net positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).

I lost out on six cents with Arizona’s moneyline (+147 to +153) but gained seven cents back with the Royals F5 line (-110 to -117), and two cents on Oakland’s moneyline (-110 to -112).

The total also dropped from 11 to 10.5 runs, with juice on the under (-115).

On Deck for Thursday, April 18

All odds as of Thursday morning

The model recommends one full-game moneyline, and one moneyline for the first five innings (F5) on Thursday. 

The 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Blue Jays as the full-game moneyline play. It also likes the Rockies as an F5 play.

I’m abstaining from the Blue Jays pick today, as the ticket count and moneyline cash are split 50-50 in their matchup against the Tigers as of the time of writing. Meanwhile, the line has moved 15 to 20 cents toward the Twins; after opening at -160, Minnesota is currently lined around -175 or -180.

At -105 odds, the Dodgers narrowly missed being an F5 model play, and I like them today after Milwaukee took two of three games from the Dodgers in Los Angeles over the past weekend.

The public perception might be that the Brewers are the better team — and likely to win this series at home. However, I have the Dodgers winning the first five innings nearly 55 percent of the time today (and the game 53 percent of the time), suggesting a small edge on the road team at short odds.

Dodgers starter Julio Urias missed most of the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder, but he appears to be healthy in 2019. His average fastball velocity is up from 93 mph to over 95 mph, the highest mark of his young career.

Urias owns elite velocity for a left-handed starter, and he generates a high number of whiffs and called strikes with his fastball:

He already faced Milwaukee on April 12, giving up five runs on six hits in five innings, walking one batter and striking out four. In what will be his last start (for now) before moving back to the bullpen (to preserve his arm for later in the season), I’m expecting a big showing from the young lefty.

For what it’s worth, the Dodgers are also on a four-game winning streak.

The other team that I like today, Colorado, is on a three-game winning streak of its own. The Rockies return home on a day of rest to face the Phillies, who had to travel overnight after beating the Mets at home.

Not only are the Rockies in a good spot, but they are also throwing one of the most underrated pitchers in the game, Kyle Freeland.

Freeland made great strides to improve his mechanics between the 2017 and 2018 seasons:

Eliminating the toe tap allows for more consistent mechanics. Instead of having to re-load his leg and weight, Freeland now maintains his tempo so that his upper and lower half are working in conjunction with one another.

Freeland can be a confounding pitcher to watch because, like Urias, he owns excellent velocity for a left-handed starting pitcher, but unlike Urias, he simply doesn’t generate swings and misses (8.4% career swinging strike rate).

Rather, Freeland relies on three fastballs (four-seamer, cutter, sinker), while only throwing his change-up about 11% of the time, and his slider 5% of the time.

With this mix, Freeland generates a high number of groundballs (49.4 percent career) and popups (11.5 percent career), which works well when you have Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado to clean things up on the left side of your infield:

Now, instead of making mechanical adjustments, Freeland has moved on to more strategical efforts. This soon-to-be 26-year-old is a pitcher’s pitcher, who also happens to have great stuff.

In the second half of 2018, Freeland turned in a 2.49 ERA over 86.2 innings, while nearly striking out one batter per inning (81). He is someone who I’m expecting to continue to improve going forward.

Bets (So Far) for April 18

Thus far, I have locked in:

  • Colorado (-105) F5 Moneyline
  • LA Dodgers (-110) F5 Moneyline
  • Diamondbacks (+150) Moneyline

Stay tuned on Twitter or follow me in The Action Network App for my entire betting card for Thursday, 4/18.

Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/18: 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.

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