MLB Daily Betting Model, 4/16: Athletics a Live Dog vs. Astros, McHugh?
D. Ross Cameron, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Khris Davis
- 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 16 slate of baseball games with his model below, including the Yankees-Red Sox and Indians-Mariners matchups.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
On Monday I noted that the Boston Red Sox were 9-4 in Patriots’ Day games since 2005, with their last three losses each coming by one run. My colleague John Ewing also pointed out that in games starting before noon ET since 2005, favorites had gone 19-8; netting a $100 bettor a profit of $549.
However, my model suggested an edge on the Baltimore Orioles at a price of over +220. Naturally, the Orioles beat the Red Sox 8-1 as a +226 underdog, after opening at odds of +211. Boston closed as a -265 favorite, with 75% of the moneyline tickets and 86% of the moneyline cash behind them.
Even Chris Davis got in on the fun:
This is the third time that I have missed the boat on Baltimore as a big price this season, but it will not be the last.
Baltimore, Kansas City and Miami (a recent addition!) are all on my personal “do not bet” list.
The Royals play sound defense and have a good offense with Adalberto Mondesi, Whit Merrifield and the emerging Hunter Dozier, but their pitching outside of Brad Keller and Jakob Junis is a horror show — and Ned Yost has too slow of a hook with their bullpen in close games.
The Marlins have a steady rotation, but their lineup has too many holes on both sides of the ball — they cannot generate runs and they give their opponents extra outs, ultimately frustrating those young starters.
Baltimore is visually beginning to turn things around under new executive Mike Elias, who previously worked as the Assistant General Manager for the Astros. The Orioles have modernized their defensive approach in 2019 and finally appear to have a long term direction, but they still play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball and don’t have much depth in their prospect pool.
These teams are all playing to develop players for next season, not to win today. They will typically let young arms try to get out of their trouble or pitch through big spots, and they’ll leave subpar defenders in the game longer so that they can get reps at their position.
Do you think that these teams are putting extra budget money into advanced scouting for their next series, or into scouting high school and collegiate players for the upcoming amateur draft in June?
Their managers make in-game decisions and omissions that will cause you to pull your hair out. So why bother putting your money behind them?
Finding and exploiting an edge cannot be performed through a strictly scientific process; you need to take a more holistic approach when making selections.
Recapping Yesterday’s Model
The model went 1-1 against full-game moneylines and 1-0 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Monday.
My actual picks went 2-2, and I was only down 0.03 U for the day. I played the F5 Over 3.5 runs in the Rockies-Padres game, which displayed a significant edge after the total dropped by one half of a run. That score ended 2-1 after five innings, and the Rockies subsequently homered in the 6th and 7th innings.
It was a terrific day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 10 cents on the Marlins moneyline (+130 to +120), 6 cents on the Cleveland F5 moneyline (-109 to -115) and 3 cents on their full game line (-112 to -115). I also gained 3 cents on the F5 total (-106 to -109).
On Deck for Tuesday, April 16
All odds as of Tuesday morning
The model recommends four full-game moneylines, and two moneylines for the first five innings (F5) on Tuesday.
The 4% trigger threshold officially marked the Athletics, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Yankees as the full-game plays. It also likes the Marlins and Yankees as F5 plays.
I crossed off the Marlins immediately. I like Pablo Lopez a lot — his velocity is up over a tick from last season (93.6 to 94.8 mph) and he has good secondary stuff. But the Cubs have likely put 10 times more work and effort than the Marlins have, behind the scenes, into winning this one single game and series.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ll be on Oakland and Tampa Bay a lot against the public American League teams — Boston, Houston and the Yankees. That trend continues today as we have a significant edge on the A’s at home, whose fair odds I have closer to +105 — about 35 to 40 cents off from where they’re currently lined.
I like Cleveland once again at Seattle despite a small edge. The Mariners continue to take more than 50% of moneyline tickets due to their hot start, but the pitching discrepancy between Shane Bieber and Mike Leake is stark.
Bieber has only walked 1.8 batters per nine innings to begin his career, a rate comparable to peak Zack Greinke (2.15 BB/9 career). Bieber also has struck out 9.37 batters per nine innings using his nasty slider:
Chris Sale will take the mound today against the Yankees for the first time this season. He’s had great numbers against the Yankees; over eight starts from 2016-2018, he compiled the following line: 56 IP, 1.93 ERA, 8 BB, 75 K, 7 HR.
However, Sale hasn’t looked his typical self since July 2018, when his average fastball velocity was 98 mph and he maxed at 101 mph. His fastball averaged 93 mph in September and October of 2018, peaking at 97 mph, and has dropped again to 91 mph this season with a peak of 94.88 mph:
That’s the most that Sale has right now, and only when he needs it. Otherwise, you’re talking about a very hittable 89-91 on the fastball.
The location on the pitch is still good, but Sale is trusting it less as he’s been unable to generate swings and misses with the fastball. Sale’s overall swinging strike rate is down from 15.8% last season (a career high) to 10.5% in 2019, his lowest mark since 2012. He only has one whiff with the fastball.
Sale is relying on gaining weak contact from his changeup and slider, instead of blowing hitters away with heat. He’s throwing fewer fastballs than ever (37%) and exchanging all 13% of those fastballs for changeups. Through three starts and 16 innings pitched, he’s allowed 16 hits and 13 runs, with four walks and eight strikeouts.
I’m happy to keep fading Sale — even against an injury-riddled Yankees team — until he proves that he is 100% healthy.
Lastly, I had slight edges on Over 7.5 in the Pittsburgh-Detroit game, and Over 8 in the Cleveland-Seattle game, and played both because they aligned with strong market signals. I skipped a more significant edge on the F5 Over 3.5 in the Pirates-Tigers, as I preferred to get the Tigers bullpen into the mix for the total.
Bets (So Far) for April 16
Thus far, I have locked in:
- Arizona (+129) Game Moneyline
- Cleveland (-115) Game Moneyline
- Oakland (+145) Game Moneyline
- NY Yankees (-115) F5 Moneyline
- NY Yankees (-110) Game Moneyline
- Over 7.5, Pittsburgh at Detroit
- Over 8, Cleveland at Seattle
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 4/16: 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.