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MLB Betting Picks for Saturday: How to Bet Tigers vs. Reds, Diamondbacks at Padres and More

MLB Betting Picks for Saturday: How to Bet Tigers vs. Reds, Diamondbacks at Padres and More article feature image

Denis Poroy, Getty Images. Pictured: Dinelson Lamet

Other than the lack of fans, the DH in the National League and the fact that it’s the fourth week of July, Opening Day went about as expected … in that most of the teams with a minus sign next to their name won.

Favorites went 12-2 on Friday, with the only upsets coming from the Marlins and Blue Jays.

As for totals, even with two games finishing 1-0, the over took an 8-6 edge to start the season.

So are we in for more of the same on Saturday? Here’s what our experts are betting:

Odds as of 9:30 a.m. ET.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

Danny Donahue: Orioles Moneyline vs. Red Sox (+180)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • First pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

Today is a lot like Week 2 of an NFL season — AKA my favorite week of the entire year for betting.

The betting market is overreaction central on Saturday, which really makes no sense in baseball considering that starting pitchers play such an important role in the outcome of games, so today’s matchups might as well be looked at as completely new.

That’s also unfortunately why I have to fade my Red Sox (and probably a few other favorites that won yesterday, honestly), who won handedly, 13-2, last night.

In our Bet Labs database, teams that lost their first game of the season and are receiving less than 35% of bets as a result in game two (the O’s are getting just 18% today) actually have a winning record since 2005. And since most of them are underdogs, that 32-30 record has been good for 18.7 units and a 30.1% return on investment.

For those curious, the Tigers, Angels, Pirates and Mariners also fit this system as of Saturday morning.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Stuckey: As-Angels Over 9 (+100)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • First pitch: 4:10 pm ET

I’m not a fan of betting on Dylan Bundy and I’m suspecting that Joe Maddon may have a quick hook with his six-man rotation going early in the season. That means we could see the Angels’ bullpen eary and often.

That unit didn’t look comfortable last night and lacks depth, so I can trust the A’s to get to them if they’re tasked with getting a lot of outs.

Oakland’s bullpen also looked off last night and closer Liam Hendriks threw 28 pitches in his blown save.

I like Sean Manaea overall, but he may take some time to find his groove this season. His velocity was way down in his last warm-up start as he didn’t touch 90 MPH once and finished with a “spring training” ERA north of 10. It’s also worth noting that Mike Trout is a ridiculous 7-for-17 with four homers against the southpaw.

I’ll take a shot here on the Over 9 for this divisional matchup in Oakland during the day where the ball carries more.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

BJ Cunningham: Reds -1.5 (-109)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • First pitch: 5:10 p.m. ET

Luis Castillo has grown into one of the best young arms in the game thanks to his terrific changeup, which induced a 48% whiff-rate and a .182 average against in 2019.

Castillo ranks out as a top-30 pitcher in model and is only projected to allow 0.44 BaseRuns per inning against the Tigers on Saturday.

The Reds lineup got much deeper this offseason with the additions of Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama and those guys paid immediate dividends with a seven-run outburst against Matthew Boyd, who is a much better starter than Saturday’s opponent, Ivan Nova.

Nova is starting to get up there in age and the 33-year-old wasn’t great a season ago as all of his pitches yielded a wOBA (a regressed version of on-base average) of over .300.

Nova’s projections for this year aren’t pretty and he rates out horribly in my model at 0.69 BaseRuns per inning. He will no doubt have a difficult time navigating a stacked Reds lineup.

The Tigers’ offense was shut down by Sonny Gray on Friday and that could be a sign of things to come for a lineup that has 37-year-old Miguel Cabrera and C.J. Cron as the No. 3 and 4 hitters, respectively.

The Reds opened as -210 favorites and based on my model, I think that is actually too low. However, since I project the Reds to win this game by 2.31 runs, so I am going to back the Reds -1.5 all the way up to -125.

Michael Leboff: Diamondbacks vs. Padres Over 4.5 – First 5 Innings (-107)

  • Odds available at DraftKings [Bet Now]
  • First pitch: 9:10 p.m. ET

We’ve got a pair of strike-out artists going at it out West on Saturday night. Arizona’s Robbie Ray will take on San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet in what projects to be a whiff-fest. That being said, both of these pitchers have some serious blow-up potential.

Lamet was a trendy sleeper pick for the shortened-season Cy Young Award. In a longer season his control and home-run habit would likely keep him from threatening the National League’s best arms, but he could put things together for a 60-game season and run away with the award.

Ray always is interesting in pre-season markets for similar reasons. His stuff is nasty and if he stays healthy he’s always going to be near the top of the K-Count at season’s end.

While both of these pitchers have high ceilings, I like the Over 4.5 on the F5 moneyline because they both issue too many walks and are susceptible to the longball and thus, the dreaded big inning.

Lamet allowed 3.7 walks and 1.5 home runs per 9 innings last season while Ray ended the year at 4.34 and 1.55 in those same categories, respectively.

Lamet and Ray can both K their way out of a jam, but I’m going to take a chance that they are not at top form in their first start of the season. I’ll take a shot on the F5 over and hope that there’s a big inning or two in the first half of this ballgame.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

Collin Wilson: San Diego Padres (-130)

  • Odds available at FanDuel [Bet Now]
  • First pitch: 9:10 ET

Dinelson Lamet has long been touted as a high-end prospect in the Padres organization and the 28-year-old put together a phenomenal end to the 2019 season. Lamet closed his campaign with 45 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched and had a 3.44 xFIP against an ERA of 4.07.

The Padres also should have a fresh bullpen behind Lamet in this one as they didn’t use Kirby Yates or Craig Stammen in their 7-2 win on Friday night.

The Padres will have to deal with Robbie Ray and his blistering strike-out stuff on Saturday but the Friars could have an edge over the Arizona hurler. The Padres did have the fourth-highest K rate against lefties in 2019, but they also posted the third-best walk-rate, which is something Ray struggles with.

Tommy Pham is especially lethal against left-handed pitchers as the outfielder finished with a 160 wRC+ in 2019. I like Pham and the Padres to get the job done again on Saturday.

[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, CO, IN and WV only.]

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