MLB Expert Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Friday, Including Twins-Rangers
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Minnesota Twins designated hitter Marwin Gonzalez (9) talks to Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1).
- Our experts give out their favorite plays for four games on Friday's MLB slate: Mariners at Blue Jays, Orioles at Red Sox, Twins at Rangers and Dodgers at Braves
Danny Donahue: Seattle Mariners at Toronto Blue Jays
Matt Wisler (2-2, 4.35 ERA) vs. Jacob Waguespack (3-1, 4.31 ERA)
- Mariners Moneyline: -140
- Blue Jays Moneyline: +130
- Over/Under: 10
- First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
The Mariners fit two simple betting strategies that, when combined, create an especially profitable spot.
They’re a bad team off a win, which gives the public reason to think that they should be due for a loss tonight — which isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, betting on bad teams to win a second-straight game has been a profitable MLB move since 2005.
On top of that, they’re getting a higher percentage of dollars than bets, while still maintaining a minority in both cases. That puts them on the same side as bigger bettors (likely sharps) and sportsbooks.
Putting all that together creates a system that’s won 47.2 units since 2016 (when we began collecting money percentage data) for a 19.9% ROI.
The PICK: Mariners +130
Mark Gallant: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Aaron Brooks (2-6, 6.35 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (10-9, 5.67 ERA)
- Orioles Moneyline: +240
- Red Sox Moneyline: -270
- Over/Under: 11.5
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
I’ve had a difficult time betting on the Orioles. Most of the time I just flat out lose, but when they beat the Astros last week in historic fashion, I still lost my Orioles -1.5 (+704) ticket. What a time to take a RRL.
Tonight, Baltimore heads to Boston to take on Rick Porcello and the Sox.
Look, I am a Red Sox fan, but there is no way Porcello should be nearly -300 against anyone. I don’t care if it’s the Orioles. The Boston bats could definitely beat up on Aaron Brooks, but Porcello and the ‘pen are not worthy of such a lofty price.
To my surprise, 83% of bettors are actually laying that line on the Red Sox. I know they are a popular team and the O’s are horrendous, but at +240, how could you not take a shot on Baltimore?
The PICK: Orioles +251
John Ewing: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers
Jake Odorizzi (13-5, 3.44 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (11-6, 2.9 ERA)
- Away Moneyline: -102
- Home Moneyline: -108
- Over/Under: 10
- First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
This evening’s Forecast calls for average wind speeds of 12 mph blowing in from center during the Rangers-Twins game. Historically, it has been profitable to bet the under when the wind is blowing in.
The wind can impact the trajectory of a batted ball. When the wind blows in it can knock down home runs into long fly balls, which lowers scoring.
Betting the under when the wind is blowing in during Rangers home games has been even more profitable since 2005: 141-101-14 (58%), returning a profit of $3,238 for a $100 bettor.
A steam move bet signal has been triggered on the under, which is an indication of smart money.
With history and the professionals expecting fewer runs to be scored, the under has value.
The PICK: Under 10
Sean Zerillo: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers
As John stated, betting the under at Globe Life Park in Arlington is historically a profitable play when the wind is blowing in.
I projected a weather-neutral total of 11.3 runs in this matchup, but the total opened at 10 due to the double-digit wind speeds blowing in from centerfield.
In lieu of betting the over on this game total, due to the weather related trend, I opted to bet the over on Minnesota’s team total of 4.5 instead — as I have the Twins pegged for 5.96 runs on Friday.
Both pitchers come into this game with underlying metrics that suggest they have each out-pitched their present 2019 ERA:
Minor has stranded 85.7% of baserunners, compared to his career average of 75%. That 10% difference accounts for roughly 20 fewer runs than expected this season — which if you accounted for in his 2019 line would give Minor a 4.12 ERA.
His fastball velocity is also slowly eroding, and he faces a difficult matchup tonight in the Twins — MLB’s second best offense vs. left-handed pitching (126 wRC+):
The Rangers’ offense has been in a free fall since Joey Gallo was injured on July 23. Since that date, they rank 29th against right handed pitching with a 67 wRC+.
I’ll avoid the Rangers input on the total; but will keep finding ways to back the Twins, in addition to the Astros and Athletics, against all southpaw starters.
The PICK: Minnesota Twins Team Total Over 4.5
Evan Abrams: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Kenta Maeda (8-8, 4.12 ERA) vs. Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.32 ERA)
- Dodgers Moneyline: +110
- Braves Moneyline: -120
- Over/Under: 10
- First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
Tonight I am making a situational spot wager. The Dodgers are coming off a day-game loss to the Marlins on Thursday in Miami and make the short flight to Atlanta to face the Braves on Friday.
The Dodgers face Mike Soroka, who on paper has been lights out with a 2.32 ERA and a 10-2 record, including the Braves going 15-6 in his 21 starts. When dissecting his home/road splits, you notice he has a 1.32 ERA on the road and a 4.08 ERA at home in 2019, but more importantly, opponents are slugging over a hundred points higher at SunTrust Park compared to the road and their OPS is up over two hundred points at home than away.
- Soroka has allowed 12 earned runs in 81.2 innings pitched on the road
- Soroka has allowed 21 earned runs in 46.1 innings pitched at home (including 19 ER in his last 28.1 IP at home)
The Braves are coming off a hard-fought series win against their division rival, Mets and I think there is value in L.A. as an underdog.
The Dodgers are giving the nod to Kenta Maeda, who has had his road struggles this year (5.66 ERA), but he is still allowing less than a hit an inning away from Dodger Stadium. In his two career starts against the Braves, he has allowed one earned run in 13.1 innings pitched. I’m rolling with the Dodgers on the road tonight.
The PICK: Dodgers (+110)