MLB Expert Predictions for Friday Night: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets, Including Dodgers at Rockies

MLB Expert Predictions for Friday Night: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets, Including Dodgers at Rockies article feature image
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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rockies Raimel Tapia and Trevor Story

  • There are 14 MLB games on tap for Friday night.
  • Our experts detail their favorite bets of the night including Reds vs. Cubs (7:10 p.m. ET), Rangers vs. Rays (7:10 p.m. ET), Braves vs. Mets (7:10 p.m. ET) and Dodgers at Rockies (8:40 p.m. ET).

Collin Wilson: Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds

Cole Hamels (6-2, 2.92 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (3-5, 4.03 ERA)

  • Cubs Moneyline: +109
  • Reds Moneyline: -119
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Do not let these ERAs fool you.

Cole Hamels may have a sub-3.00 ERA, but his xFIP of 4.00 tells a different story. Sonny Gray’s ERA is also misleading but in the opposite way. Gray’s 3.62 xFIP suggests he’s been pitching much better than his ERA suggests.

Cincinnati is a stubborn offense against left-handers. Since May 1, the Reds boast the fourth-best strike-out percentage  and 10th-highest walk-rate against southpaws.

Hamels may have issues after his first time through the Reds order, as his homerun-to-flyball (HR:FB) percentage jumps from 3.8 to 17.9% when hitters see him a second time.

The Cubs have not been hitting well against right-handed pitching the past two months. They are among the top five in ground-ball percentage and rank 28th in hard-hit percentage against orthodox hurlers, leading me to believe Gray will get plenty of soft contact today.

The PICK: Reds +109

Danny Donahue: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

Mike Sororka (8-1, 2.07 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-6, 3.25 ERA)

  • Braves Moneyline: +128
  • Mets Moneyline: 138
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Who in their right mind would be betting on the Mets tonight? Well, I’m not going to try to suggest that my mind is “right” by any means, but I’m on the Amazins.

Yes, even after yesterday’s debacle, even though Mike Soroka comes in at 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA, and even with the Mets 11 games back of the Braves in the NL East, I’m still not only betting the Mets, but laying -138 juice, as they’re somehow favored tonight.

It’s because of their status as a favorite, though, that I have faith in these losers. Since 2005, when a team moves at least 10 cents on the moneyline to -130 or higher despite getting 40% or less bets, they’ve gone 197-97, winning 38.6 units for a 13.1% return on investment.

In other words, favorites are favorites for a reason. Books know what they’re doing by offering the Braves at plus-money today, and if they’re confident enough to back the Mets then I guess I am too.

The PICK: Mets -138

Sean Zerillo: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays

Lance Lynn (9-4, 4.32 ERA) vs. Yonny Chirinos (7-3, 3.00 ERA)

  • Rangers Moneyline: -130
  • Rays Moneyline: +125
  • Over/Under: 8.0
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

The Rays pitching staff has been beset by injuries and short outings in recent weeks.

Jose Alvarado, Diego Castillo, and Tyler Glasnow have each landed on the IL, and Blake Snell is going through an extremely rough patch in June (5 starts, 17.1 IP, 30 H, 24 R, 12 BB, 22 K), averaging fewer than 3.5 innings per start.

An 18-inning affair in Minnesota on Thursday was potentially crippling as the Rays had to use their entire relief staff, including both innings eaters in Jalen Beeks and Ryan Yarbrough.

They should be short-staffed today with rookie Brendan McKay slated to make his MLB debut on Saturday. And with no off-day until the All-Star break, Tampa Bay will need to give their pitching staff a breather at some point.

On an individual basis, the Rangers hit right-handed pitching extremely well per wRC+, with Willie Calhoun (182), Joey Gallo (173), Shin-Soo Choo (147), Danny Santana (136), Hunter Pence (128), Logan Forsythe (111), Nomar Mazara (107), Elvis Andrus (105), and Ronald Guzman (104) each providing above-average contributions.

Lance Lynn has arguably pitched better than Mike Minor has this season too, meaning that you’re likely backing the Rangers’ best pitcher here:

  • Lynn: 4.32 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 3.88 xFIP, 3.90 SIERA
  • Minor: 2.40 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 4.30 xFIP, 4.30 SIERA

The PICK: Texas Rangers (+125) Game Moneyline

Mark Gallant: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-1, 1.27 ERA) vs. Antonio Senzatela (6-5, 4.91 ERA)

  • Dodgers moneyline: -195
  • Rockies moneyline: +180
  • Over/Under: 12.5
  • First pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

It’s darn near July and Hyun-Jin Ryu still has an ERA of 1.27…absurd. So frigging absurd, in fact, that something’s gotta give, just like the movie.

Ryu has accomplished this ERA mainly thanks to two things – a crazy-low walk-rate and crazy-high left-on-base percentage. The former is something that I can’t really bash on, but the latter is something that’s due to regress. His FIP and xFIP are both still really good thanks to his 0.55 BB/9, but they’re also both more than a run higher than his ERA.

Like many folks, Ryu has struggled pitching at Coors, posting an ERA of 7.56 there over the course of four starts. Odds are that sparkling ERA of his will rise tonight.

By betting against the Dodgers, you also have to bet against their lineup, which is a very tough thing to do. But hey, that’s why we’re getting the Rockies at +180.

The PICK: Rockies +180

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