MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Staff’s 3 Favorite Bets, Including Padres vs. Dodgers

MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Staff’s 3 Favorite Bets, Including Padres vs. Dodgers article feature image

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kenta Maeda.

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

Collin Wilson: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

CC Sabathia (5-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (5-7, 4.87 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +122
  • Home Moneyline: -132
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

All aboard the Blake Snell train while the price tag is cheap. June was a rough month for the Rays left-hander, as he got torched by the Tigers, Angels, Twins and Yankees. Snell returned to form against the Texas Rangers on June 30 (6 innings, 12 strikeouts, 2 ER). Location was the issue for the Rays ace, as his velocity never dipped.

An xFIP of 3.01 should give bettors confidence in backing Snell, even with a 4.87 ERA.

The Yankees enter Saturday with declining splits against southpaws. Since May 1, the Bronx bombers are 28th in wOBA and wRC+ against left handed pitching.

CC Sabathia gets the nod for the Yankees, but he has not pitched in almost two weeks. Look for the Rays to jump on the Yankees quick while Snell returns to his 2018 Cy Young form.

The PICK: Rays -132

Sean Zerillo: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks

Jon Gray (9-5, 3.84 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (5-6, 4.10 ERA)

  • Rockies Moneyline: 100
  • Diamondbacks Moneyline: -120
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

I project the Diamondbacks as a -137 favorite in this game, so there is clear line value on them in this matchup.

Despite opening as a -125 favorite and the public is supporting the underdog Rockies to the tune of a 70-30 split on moneyline tickets and cash, the Diamondbacks are still listed as a -120 favorite.

Sports Insights has tracked four different steam and reverse line movement signals on the Diamondbacks, with no conflicting signals coming in on the Rockies.

Arizona is 3-8 vs. Colorado in 2019, but the D-backs have only been outscored by three runs (65-62). They were 8-11 vs. the Rockies in 2018, while getting outscored by 21 runs (115-94).

Oddly the Diamondbacks are just 18-22 at home in 2019, despite a +9 run differential. The Rockies are 20-24 on the road with a +8 run differential. Colorado is five games over .500 at home with a -2 run differential at Coors Field.

One potential concern is the Rockies’ recent success against left-handed pitching. Since the start of June, they rank 13th with a 102 wRC+ vs. lefties, compared to 28th, with a 74 wRC+, vs. righties. Their strikeout minus walk rate over that period is 18.4% vs. righties and 16.3% vs. lefties.

Arizona has likely had the best defensive team in baseball over the past two seasons. Per FanGraphs, they lead MLB this season with a defensive value of +31.5; the Rockies rank 20th at -4.3

Shortstop Nick Ahmed is one of the better defensive players in the sport, with the range and arm to track down batted balls that most other infielders wouldn’t dream about being able to get to:

UNREAL throw by Nick Ahmed 😱

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 22, 2018

The PICK: Diamondbacks -120

Danny Donahue: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers

Chris Paddack (5-4, 3.05 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (7-4, 3.78 ERA)

  • Padres Moneyline: +148
  • Dodgers Moneyline: -158
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

At this point in the season, fading the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros of the league feels like a betting death sentence. It’s the type of wager that brings out a “have you not been watching baseball this year?” response.

But while it’s easy to pick on such a bet if it loses, it actually has been very profitable historically to fade good, public teams in the second half of the season, especially when incorporating a few more general baseball betting tactics.

From Game 82 onward, when an underdog in a divisional game takes on an opponent at .600 or better, and the public loads up on the better opponent (more than 65% of bets — which is generally the case), that underdog has gone 287-345 since 2005.

While not a winning record, it has won 118.5 units for an 18.7% return on investment, experiencing no losing seasons over that span.

The Padres fit the bill tonight, so I’ll be rolling with San Diego.

The PICK: Padres +148

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