MLB Expert Predictions for Monday: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Rockies vs. Dodgers

Credit:

Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kenta Maeda

  • Our experts give out their favorite plays for Monday's MLB slate.

Danny Donahue: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.81 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (9-7, 4.05 ERA)

  • Dodgers Moneyline: -127
  • Rockies Moneyline: +117
  • Over/Under: 13
  • First pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

Seemingly all the basic baseball betting strategies I follow have somehow lined themselves up on the Rockies tonight. Divisional dog? Check. High total? Check. Super contrarian? Check. Significantly higher money than bet percentage? Check. Money percentage not so high that books have a liability? Check. Most heavily-bet game of the night? Check. Triggered Sports Insights Bet Signals? Check. Fading an elite team in the second half? Check. Line has moved toward them despite the lack of popularity? Check.

Regarding that final note, the line has moved pretty dramatically toward Colorado, bringing the Rox down from around +138 to as far as +114 — an implied probability jump of almost 5%. Because of everything listed above, I’ll settle for a closing number in that range if I have to, but for now I’ll be giving this line a chance to hopefully find its way back into the +120s before making my play.

The PICK: Rockies moneyline

Josh Appelbaum: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.81 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (9-7, 4.05 ERA)

  • Dodgers Moneyline: -127
  • Rockies Moneyline: +117
  • Over/Under: 13
  • First pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

Recreational bettors love backing good teams. After all, if they’re going to put their hard-earned cash down on a game, they want to back a proven winner. The Dodgers are the perfect example. They’re the best team in baseball and a public darling every time they take the field.

However, betting on elite teams like Los Angeles isn’t the cash cow the public thinks they are. Sure, LA has a league-best 69-38 (.645) record. But because they’re almost always a favorite laying a big minus number, LA has only profited +4.75 units this season.

In comparison, the Giants, who are 54-52, are +14.33 units on the season. This speaks to public perception, bias and the books shading lines toward popular teams, forcing the public to take overpriced numbers. The name of the game is and always has been about “value.”

Tonight, it’s business as usual with the Dodgers receiving 80% of bets at the time of writing. Despite the overwhelming support, we’ve seen Los Angeles fall from -150 to -127. Why? Because sharps got down hard on Colorado, forcing bookmakers to move the line in their favor (+138 to +117).

In addition to a lot of the spots that Danny noted above, the Rockies also are receiving less than 30% of bets and the line has moved 10 cents in their favor. Since 2005 teams that receive 30% or less of the tickets but have at least 10 cents of line movement in their favor have profited +128.95 units, per BetLabs.

The PICK: Rockies +117

John Ewing: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.81 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (9-7, 4.05 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -124
  • Home Moneyline: +113
  • Over/Under: 13
  • First pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

Coors Field is the most hitter friendly park in baseball. Tonight’s conditions should be even better for the guys with a stick in their hands. Temperatures at first pitch are expected to be in the low 90s and winds are forecasted to be blowing out at 10 mph.

Oddsmakers opened the Rockies-Dodgers total at 12.5 but it has been bet up to 13. Steam move bet signals, a sudden and uniform line movement across the entire betting market, have been triggered on the over.

More than 70% of tickets and dollars are on the over as well. The pros and joes think this game will be a shootout. Are they right?

Totals of 13 or more runs are rare in baseball. Since 2005, there have only been 34 games with an over/under of 13 or more. The over in those contests went 20-11-3 (65%).

It is a small sample but considering the optimal hitting conditions the over is the smart play.

The PICK: Over 13

Sean Zerillo: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins

Merrill Kelly (7-10, 4.22 ERA) vs. Caleb Smith (6-4, 3.30 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -102
  • Home Moneyline: -108
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Despite playing better team baseball of late, the Marlins offense ranks 30th with a 62 wRC+ and 27th with a 27.7% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching in July.

They have struggled against righties all season, with a 75 wRC+ (29th), and a 25.4% strikeout rate (25th).

Diamondbacks starter Merril Kelly has averaged a 19.1% strikeout rate in 2019, 3.9% below the season average (vs. RHP) of the offenses that he has faced. His strikeout rate increases to 21.5% vs. right-handed hitters, and considering the Marlins lineup contruct I’m inclined to use that number.

The Marlins regularly start seven right-handed position players. Neil Walker (switch) and Curtis Granderson (left), are the only regularly deployed non right-handed options, and both are strikeout-prone, declining veterans.

Kelly has faced an average of 23.9 batters per start this season. If he faces 24 Marlins on Monday, and maintains a strikeout rate 3.9% below the season average of his opponent (projected 21.5%), that equates to 5.16 strikeouts.

To me, that’s a conservative projection. If I were to make a more aggressive projection, based upon the Marlins recent performance and mosly righty lineup (projected 26.1%) I get to 6.25 strikeouts for Merill Kelly and his big curveball:

The PICK: Merrill Kelly Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-135)

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