MLB Expert Predictions for Friday: Our Staff’s 7 Favorite Bets, Including Mariners vs. Angels

MLB Expert Predictions for Friday: Our Staff’s 7 Favorite Bets, Including Mariners vs. Angels article feature image

Apr 5, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) hits a solo home run in the 8th inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. It was Trout’s second homer of the game. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

  • There are seven evening MLB games on tap for Friday.
  • Our experts detail their favorite bets of the day, including Red Sox-Dodgers (7:10 p.m. ET) and Braves-Padres (10:10 p.m. ET).

Collin Wilson: Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres

Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. Dinelson Lamet (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -105
  • Home Moneyline: -105
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

There is no denying the pickup of former Arkansas Razorback and Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel has been a success for Atlanta. Two wins, two quality starts and a low ERA have been a boost to the Braves since mid-June.

Recent starts for Keuchel against the Marlins and Phillies mask an xFIP of 4.53. Pitching at Petco should help keep the ball in the yard, but a poor K:9 rate of 4.32 may equal plenty of Padres baserunners.

Toeing the rubber for the home team is Dinelson Lamet, with one start under his belt since returning from Tommy John surgery. Lamet was able to strikeout seven in just five innings against the Dodgers just before the All Star break.

His fastball was mid-to-upper 90s with plenty of movement, foreshadowing a successful return after 22 months. In closing, the price is too good for a healthy Lamet against Keuchel, who should see regression.

The PICK: Padres -105

Danny Donahue: Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres

Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. Dinelson Lamet (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -105
  • Home Moneyline: -105
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

Hard agree, Collin, and I’ll be digging into Bet Labs for my reasoning.

Obviously, the Braves had a better first “half” of the year than San Diego. At 54-37, they sit atop the NL East, while the Pads’ .500 record has them smack in the middle of the NL West.

With this line at almost a pick’em, 82% of bettors have expectedly backed the better record with Atlanta, yet we’ve seen the line move in the opposite direction since opening (the Braves have gone from -115 to -104).

When a team checks off those boxes — minus-money against a better opponent, less than 25% of bets, line getting worse — it’s been profitable to play that club in the past.

The specific requirements in the system above — which the Padres fit tonight — produce a 70-46 record for 17.8 units and a 15.4% return on investment since 2005.

The PICK: Padres -105

John Ewing: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels

Mike Leake (7-7, 4.32 ERA) vs. Taylor Cole (0-1, 4.58 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +152
  • Home Moneyline: -162
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 10:05 p.m. ET

Seattle has been the most profitable over team this season, going 57-32-5 (64.0%) and returning a profit of $2,251 for a $100 over bettor. It is no surprise then that a majority of bets are on the over in the Mariners’ first game after the break. But I’d be careful assuming today’s game will go over.

Since 2005 in the first game after the All-Star break the over has gone 96-108-5 (47.1%), and popular overs, those receiving more than 50% of tickets, have been even worse: 55-71-5 (43.7%).

Why have overs underperformed in this spot? My theory is that teams are able to start their best pitchers after the Midsummer Classic and have rested bullpens. Both should contribute to limiting the number of runs scored.

With the over not being profitable bettors can target the under, specifically unpopular unders in the first game after the break.

The PICK: Under 10

Evan Abrams: Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals

Robbie Ray (6-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.31 ERA)

  • Diamondbacks Moneyline: +105
  • Cardinals Moneyline: -115
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET

Adam Wainwright (-115) is listed as a small home favorite against Robbie Ray and the D-backs. Wainwright has been listed as a home favorite of less than -130 36 times in his career and he is 22-14 (61.1%), winning by more than one run per game.

In 2019, Wainwright has pitched in three of these games and the Cards are 3-0, winning by 2.3 runs per game with St. Louis allowing a total of four runs.

In Wainwright’s 36 starts as a short home favorite, the under is 25-9-2 (73.5%), going under the total by 1.4 runs per game with an average of just 6.58 runs per game scored between the two teams in those matchups.

My only worry with the under is Robbie Ray’s home and road splits. Ray has a 3.45 ERA at home and a 4.33 ERA on the road this season, but in his career it has been just the opposite — Ray has a 4.73 ERA at home and a 3.40 ERA on the road.

I’ll be on Cards under 8.5 (-110), under 8 (+105) and Cards -1 (+122).

The PICK: Cardinals -1 (+122), Under 8.5 (-110) and Under 8 (+105)

Mark Gallant: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles

Yonny Chirinos (7-4, 3.15 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (4-10, 4.65 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -155
  • Home Moneyline: +145
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Today is a day for favorites … at least history suggests it will be. It better be, because I’m probably going to bet on a lot of them one way or another. I reckon my favorite favorite of the bunch is the Rays, who I’ll be taking -1.5.

Favorites with at least a .500 record have dominated crappy teams the day after the break on both the moneyline and runline. Do you think the players on the Orioles are happy to be back from the break? Hell no.

Look for the extended rest to give the Rays a boost against the miserable O’s.

The PICK: Rays -1.5 (-105)

Sean Zerillo: Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox

Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.76 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (9-4, 4.65 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +103
  • Home Moneyline: -113
  • Over/Under: 10.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

I was able to grab this total at Under 11 late last night, but I still like it quite at bit at 10.5.

The primary reason is that this game total shows the largest gap between my projected total (9.3) and a listed total for today, even after the half-run adjustment from 11.0 to 10.5.

The wind is also blowing (lightly) in from right field at Fenway Park, and it’s not paritcularly hot, so I don’t have any concerns about the conditions.

As umpires for this series are yet to be announced as of writing, a negative assignment could alter my opinion slightly, but for now assume that that factor is neutral.

The Red Sox bullpen is oft-maligned, but it does rank second in baseball with 421 strikeouts in just 351 innings pitched.

Matt Barnes (2.69 FIP), Brandon Workman (2.95 FIP) and Marcus Walden (3.40 FIP) each show strong indicators, and should all benefit from the extended rest provided by the All-Star beeak.

The same could be said for Kenley Jansen (3.45 FIP), Pedro Baez (3.33 FIP) and Dylan Floro (3.57 FIP).

I have concerns about these bullpens in terms of middle inning depth and their ability to survive several short starts in the span of a week. The first day after the All-Star break presents no such concerns, and is historically a profitable day to bet unders.

Both managers should have a quick hook in this rematch of the 2018 World Series.

The PICK: Under 10.5

Stuckey: Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox

Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.76 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (9-4, 4.65 ERA)

  • Dodgers moneyline: +103
  • Red Sox moneyline: -113
  • Over/Under: 10.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

While the Dodgers can actually hit lefties this year (something they haven’t always been able to do in recent years), they are still more dangerous vs. right-handed starters.

The Dodgers are 42-21 (66.7%) vs. right-handed starters and 18-11(62.1%) vs. lefties.

They will face a southpaw tonight in Eduardo Rodriguez in Fenway Park.

On the other side, the Sox have had more success against right-handed starters this year, which they will face tonight in Kenta Maeda. In fact, Boston actually has a higher OPS than Los Angeles vs. righties, and only the Yankees rank slightly higher at .829.

The Sox are only 11-14 vs. lefty starters this year, but 38-27 vs. righties.

In regards to the actual pitching matchup, Rodriguez is a guy I have targeted over the past few weeks. Since highlighting him as one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball, he’s gone 3-0 in five starts with a 3.87 ERA.

He’s still been unlucky overall for the season with a .324 BABIP, especially for a guy that doesn’t give up hard contact. As a result, his ERA sits at 4.65, compared to an xFIP and FIP right around 4.

You’ll also see Maeda at the top of the hard-hit and soft-contact leaderboards. However, unlike Rodriguez, he’s had a very fortunate .235 BABIP. In comparison, he was at .321 last year. He’s also had a bit of good luck in regards to leaving men on base.

That partly explains why Maeda has an ERA almost a full run lower than E-Rod’s despite both being soft-contact guys with almost identical strikeout, walk and home run numbers.

If you’re brave enough to get in front of the the Dodgers train, your best suited to do so when they face a lefty starter on the road. LA has been unstoppable at home with a 37-12 record, compared to just 23-20 away from the friendly confines. That is what we have tonight with a Sox pitcher who should get a few more breaks in the second half compared to Maeda. (The key word is should; someone can always run well or poorly for a full season).

Also, after a disappointing first half of the season, I think the defending champs come out with a renewed focus and sense of urgency on the first day after the break. Meanwhile, you could see a semi-flat Dodgers team on the East Coast after all of the All Star festivities, similar to what we saw with the Astros last night.

I make this Red Sox -120 and played this on the app overnight at -106. And while the line now sits around -113, there is still some value left here.

The PICK: Red Sox -113

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