MLB Expert Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Tuesday Bets, Including Blue Jays-Dodgers

MLB Expert Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Tuesday Bets, Including Blue Jays-Dodgers article feature image
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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw

  • Our experts give out their favorite bets for Tuesday's slate, including Tigers-Astros (8:10 p.m. ET), Rockies-Diamondbacks (9:40 p.m. ET) and Blue Jays-Dodgers (10:10 p.m. ET).

Collin Wilson: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros

Spencer Turnbull (3-11, 3.75 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.79 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -275
  • Home Moneyline: +245
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

While the moneyline gets most of the attention in this series, the total deserves a look with our umpire assignments. David Rackley will call balls and strikes tonight.

The umpire has a lifetime 77-107 record for under bettors. That is just 41.9%, losing -27.62 units. Minute Maid Park ranks ninth in Park Factors for home runs while our pitchers look to avoid the Crawford Boxes.

Turnbull’s ERA has been a bit misleading this season with an xFIP of 4.67. Houston has hammered right-handed pitching this season. The Astros are tops in wRC+ and have the best strikeout rate against right-handers during 2019.

Can the Tigers offense contribute to the total?

Aaron Sanchez looked to have a renaissance with a trade from Toronto, but only one quality start since the acquisition hasn’t paid off for the Astros.

The strikeout rate is there for the Houston starter, but he was tagged for four home runs against the Oakland A’s in his last outing. Since July 1, Detroit has the fourth-best line-drive ratio in the league against right-handers.

The PICK: Over 9

Danny Donahue: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Dodgers

Sean Reid-Foley (2-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 2.63 ERA)

  • Blue Jays Moneyline: +280
  • Dodgers Moneyline: -320
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

The Dodgers should win tonight. History suggests they should do so easily. Facing the lowly Jays behind Kershaw, LA is listed as a -320 favorite.

All right, so where does this total come into play? Well, if we’re confident in the Dodgers winning, we should also be confident in the bottom of the ninth not being played (since LA is at home). In other words, this game should have only 17 offensive chances as opposed to 18.

Since 2005, the under is 85-72-4 in games in which the total doesn’t rise (to try to rule out sharp overs) featuring a -300 or higher home favorite. As we filter by lower totals, that record improves pretty dramatically.

With totals under 9, for example, the under is 61-42-1, winning 17.0 units for a 16.3% ROI (the exact opposite strategy also generates a profit for overs).

While I don’t necessarily think the edge is as big as the record suggests, I do think it’s bigger than what the market accounts for, which is all it takes for this to be a smart bet.

The PICK: Under 8.5

Sean Zerillo: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks

Kyle Freeland (3-10, 7.09 ERA) vs. Alex Young (4-3, 3.98 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +138
  • Home Moneyline: -148
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

I see line value on a bunch of favorites on Tuesday, a rare opportunity for me to bet the chalk.

Of those teams, the Diamondbacks were the only ones to show an edge both in my full-game and first-five innings projections.

I set Arizona’s fair odds at -180 in this contest, so I’m bullish on its chances. Both teams will send out left-handed starters, and the Diamondbacks have a big edge in offensive splits against southpaws.

Arizona ranks third in MLB with a .359 wOBA and is tied for third with a 118 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. The Rockies rank eighth with a .337 wOBA, but when you factor in park adjustments for Coors Field they drop to 23rd with a 91 wRC+ against lefties.

The Diamondbacks have improved against lefties since July 1 (133 wRC+), while the Rockies have performed worse (87 wrC+, 28th).

Tuesday will mark the fourth time that Kyle Freeland has faced the Diamondbacks in 2019, and his second time in the past week. It has been a rough season (6.13 FIP, 5.06 xFIP) for a pitcher who posted 17 wins and a 2.85 ERA in 2018.

However, that ERA came with an underlying 4.22 xFIP, and regression kicked him in the teeth this season.

His walk rate has remained stable with 2018, but Freeland is having difficulty getting swinging strikes and strikeouts. He’s also giving up more hard contact, having allowed 24 home runs in 19 starts.

And this Diamondbacks offense owns an overall .296/.350/.592 triple-slash line against Freeland, with nine doubles, two triples and eight home runs in 125 at-bats.

Those eight home runs have come from eight different players, forming an assembly line of offensive production.

The PICK: Arizona Diamondbacks (-148)

John Ewing: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Dodgers

Sean Reid-Foley (2-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 2.63 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +280
  • Home Moneyline: -320
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

In Clayton Kershaw’s last start, he went seven scoreless innings while striking out 10 batters. The lefty will look to continue his hot pitching as he takes the mound tonight in Los Angeles, where he is 8-0 in 12 starts this season (2.26 ERA).

The Dodgers are massive -320 favorites with Kershaw pitching. LA has dominated at home this season with an NL-leading 48-16 record.

In games that Kershaw has pitched when the Dodgers are -300 or greater, the team is 18-4, winning by 2.82 runs per game.

The data suggests that the Dodgers historically win big in this spot. LA is -1.5 (-155) on the runline. With a dominant pitcher and a high-scoring offense (fourth in runs) that can smash (218 home runs), I like the Dodgers to win by at least two runs tonight.

The PICK: Dodgers -1.5 (-155)

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