MLB Expert Predictions for Tuesday Night: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Nola vs. Keuchel
Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Dallas Keuchel
Collin Wilson: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres
Tyler Beede (1-3, 6.45 ERA) vs. Matt Strahm (3-6, 4.94 ERA)
- Giants Moneyline: +140
- Padres Moneyline: -155
- Over/Under: 8.5
- First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
Regardless of a neutral umpire trend behind the plate, the Under is in play when the Giants face a lefty. Matt Strahm goes for the Padres tonight, facing a San Francisco team that is dead last in wRC+ and wOBA against southpaws.
The friendly confines of Petco should help the San Diego starter, as he has a 2.48 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through 29 career innings at home. Through July 1, Petco is the lowest ranking ballpark in park factors for runs per game.
As for the Padres, they will be without their biggest bat in Tuesday’s contest with the suspension of Manny Machado.
Tyler Beede will be in a good spot as well. San Diego ranks second in strikeout-rate against right-handers at 26.1%. The Padres also rank among the bottom 5 in walk-rate and eighth in groundball % against righties. If there is a spot for Beede’s ERA to regress to the lower xFIP of 5.36, it should be in this spot.
The PICK: Under 8.5
Danny Donahue: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
David Price (5-2, 3.36 ERA) vs. Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.60 ERA)
- Red Sox Moneyline: -150
- Blue Jays Moneyline: +140
- Over/Under: 9.5
- First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
The Blue Jays fit a nice combination of historical profitable MLB spots tonight. For starters, they’re a bad team coming off a win, which sets up an opportunity to take advantage of a potentially inflated line thanks to the gambler’s fallacy.
They’ve also got what I consider to be an ideal bet vs. dollar discrepancy. At the time of writing, the 34% of bettors behind them have accounted for 48% of actual money being wagered. That not only means they’re drawing the bigger, probably sharper bettors (the line has moved from +150 to +140), but by keeping the money percentage under or around 50%, it also ensures that we won’t be betting against the sportsbooks needs.
Throw in the fact that they’re a divisional dog with a total on the higher end, and we’ve got three independently profitable systems coming together on one side..
The PICK: Blue Jays +140
Evan Abrams: St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
Jack Flaherty (4-5, 4.75 ERA) vs. Matt Carasiti (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
- Cardinals Moneyline: -140
- Mariners Moneyline: +130
- Over/Under: 9
- First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
Seattle started the season 13-2 and are since 24-49 (.329), the 3rd-worst record in baseball ahead of just the Tigers and Orioles.
The Mariners will “start” relief pitcher Matt Carasiti, who is making his third-career start, where he has thrown exactly one inning in his previous two starts. The Mariners bullpen is rested after a day off yesterday and the previous two times Carasiti has started, Seattle has only allowed four total earned runs in the eighteen innings.
On the flip side, the Cardinals will roll with Jack Flaherty, who is coming off the worst start of his career, allowing seven earned runs against the Athletics.
Flaherty has an ERA of 7.84 in his last four starts (18 ER in 20.2 IP), but his biggest issue has been the long ball. He has allowed 18 home runs, which is tied for 10th-most in baseball, including allowing nine HR in his last five starts.
The PICK: Mariners (+130)
Josh Appelbaum: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.22 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 5.06 ERA)
- Phillies Moneyline: -102
- Braves Moneyline: -108
- Over/Under: 10
- First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
It’s a misconception that sharps (pros with an edge) and squares (casual bettors who bet for fun based on gut instinct) are always on opposite sides of a game. While wiseguys love to bet against the public, capitalize on Average Joe bias and place themselves on the side of the house (who all know always wins), pros won’t lay off or fade a play just because of where the public percentages lie.
This NL East over/under is a perfect example.
The total opened at 9.5. Currently 64% of bets but 94% of dollars are taking the over, indicating public support but also heavy smart money. We’ve also tracked a big steam move on the Over 9.5, which helped pushed the total up to 10.
According to our Bet Labs database, overs have hit at a 51.6% clip this season (+15.13 units, 1.2% ROI). Overs that rise a half run are cashing at a 54.6% clip (+23.32 units, 7.9% ROI). High total overs (10 or higher) in conference games have cashed 58% of the time this season (+25.73 units, 13.8% ROI). Juiced ball, anyone?
It’s also a hot muggy night in Atlanta and the wind is blowing out to center, which provides ideal hitting conditions. Inject the runs into my veins!
The PICK: Over 9.5/10
Matt LaMarca: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
Matthew Boyd (5-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. Reynaldo Lopez (4-7, 6.12 ERA)
- Away Moneyline: -105
- Home Moneyline: -105
- Over/Under: 9.0
- First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
On the surface, this looks like one of the bigger pitching mismatches on the slate. Boyd has been excellent for most of the season, while Lopez has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball. It’s not like Lopez has been particularly unlucky either: Most of his advanced metrics suggest he’s been just as bad as his ERA indicates.
That said, the Tigers have been making mediocre right-handers look like Tom Seaver for most of the season. They rank dead last in wRC+ while owning the highest strikeout rate in the league. Overall, betting against the Tigers when they’re facing a right-hander has been extremely profitable this season, resulting in a 44-20 record and +13.9% ROI.
Boyd’s play has also slipped after a strong start to the season. He posted a 5.90 ERA during the month of June, including a 7.20 ERA on the road. The White Sox have been formidable against left-handers in 2019, ranking 13th in wRC+.
We won’t have many opportunities to back a right-hander at home as this short of favorite against the Tigers. Let’s take advantage.
The PICK: White Sox -105
Sean Zerillo: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
David Price (5-2, 3.36 ERA) vs. Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.61 ERA)
- Red Sox Moneyline: -149
- Blue Jays Moneyline: +139
- Over/Under: 9.5
- First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
I put this split regarding the Blue Jays offense in my full model preview for today, but it bears repeating here:
- Through May 31: 76 wRC+ (27th), .278 wOBA( 27th), 8.2% BB (25th), 27.7% K (29th)
- June 1 – July 1: 107 wRC+ (7th), .331 wOBA (8th), 9.6% BB (4th) 22.9% K (14th)
As a team, they scored 4.3 runs per game in April and 3.5 runs per game in a 7-21 May, before exploding for 5.07 runs per game in June.
I expected Toronto to be a team that struggled at the beginning of the season before they started to call up their bevy of talented minor leaguers, and we’ve arrived at that point.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. has hit about league average (101 wRC+), while the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. (165 wRC+ and a superior defender at a more important position) looks like the higher quality rookie.
It’s amazing to think that a 20-year old rookie could be called a disappointment for only hitting slightly above league average.
But Toronto has seen fellow rookie Cavan Biggio (125 wRC+) exceed expectations in the infield with veteran Eric Sogard (135 wRC+) while also getting a breakout campaign from the toolsy Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (14 HR, 165 wRC+).
Biggio, Sogard, and Rowdy Tellez are Toronto’s only true lefties, so they can send out seven or eight right-handed bats to face Price on Tuesday.
And rookie starter Trent Thornton (24.1% strikeout rate) can tame Boston if he has command over his fastball and slider. Walks (4.19 BB/9) and home runs 1.36 (HR/9) have been an issue, but he retains some upside with a diverse arsenal of pitches.
Toronto is likely to sell off established pieces (Marcus Stroman, etc.) in the near feature, but its all in an effort to reload, rather than rebuild, towards gaining major darkhorse status heading into 2020.
The PICK: Blue Jays +139