MLB Expert Predictions for Monday: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Bets, Including Orioles vs. Diamondbacks

Credit:

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Robbie Ray

  • There are 11 games on Monday's MLB slate.
  • Our experts give out their favorite plays for the night, including two on Orioles vs. Diamondbacks.

Evan Abrams: Indians at Blue Jays

Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. Ryan Borucki (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

  • Indians Moneyline: -180
  • Blue Jays Moneyline: +165
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET

Ryan Borucki finally makes his season debut tonight at home against the Indians after numerous injuries have kept him out of the Toronto rotation since the end of training camp.

Borucki made 17 starts as a rookie last year, with a 3.87 ERA and was much more competent at home (2.64 ERA, .333 opponent slug %) than he was on the road (4.89 ERA, .429 opponent slug %).

The Indians have been much better against righties than lefties this year and I think Toronto is good value with a potential stud on the mound. Borucki’s specialty has been limiting the long ball, allowing just 7 home runs in 97.2 innings last year and Cleveland is just 20th in MLB in homers in 2019.

Cleveland is tossing Mike Clevinger on Monday against Borucki. Clevinger has been a steady starter for the Indians over the past few seasons, but his increase in runs and walks allowed on the road has made him a bit of a different pitcher away from Progressive Field.

I’ll take a stab at the Blue Jays on Monday night.

THE PICK: Blue Jays +165

Collin Wilson: Orioles at Diamondbacks

Aaron Brooks (2-3, 4.69 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (8-6, 3.92 ERA)

  • Orioles Moneyline: +225
  • Diamondbacks Moneyline: -245
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

If there is an offense to fade on Monday, it is Baltimore. After a weekend series at home against the Red Sox, the Orioles travel cross country for an interleague series with the Diamondbacks. Not only do the O’s lose a constant stick in the lineup with the removal of the DH, they take on one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league with Robbie Ray.

The Baltimore offense is second in strikeout percentage against left handers since May 1. Southpaw Robbie Ray is No. 5 in the league in K/9 percentage at 11.69.

While the Orioles bats are missing plenty of pitches, the Diamondbacks offense has not been anything special against right-handed pitching. Arizona has been in the bottom half of league advanced statistics like wRC+, wOBA and ISO all season.

On the season, the Diamondbacks are top 10 in ground ball percentage and 26th in line drive percentage against righties. Look for both offenses to struggle on Monday.

THE PICK: Under 9

Sean Zerillo: Athletics at Astros

Homer Bailey (7-6, 4.80 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA)

  • A’s Moneyline: +214
  • Astros Moneyline: -241
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

My projection calls for 7.23 runs in this game, more than 1.7 runs below the listed total, and this is also a good spot to play an under with the roof closed in Houston.

Historically, when a game total opens between 8.5 and 10 for a regular-season game played in a stadium with a closed dome, the under has hit 53.8% of the time (+$8,067, 4.4% ROI).

In 2019, this system is 68-57-7 (54.4%, +$763, 5.8% ROI) to the under, including a 19-12-2 (61.3%, +$597, 18% ROI) record in Houston.

Overall, Minute Maid Park is currently the most profitable park for unders with the roof closed (182-141-10, 56.3%, +$3,185, 9.6% ROI), edging out Tropicana Field by $68.

The Astros home stadium strongly favors pitchers, with a run environment that is nearly 15% below league average (28th) — less friendly to offenses than Dodger Stadium but slightly moreso than Citi Field is.

For a point of comparison, Tropicana Field plays about 9.5% below league average.

Gerrit Cole leads MLB in xFIP (2.57) by a wide-margin and with the Astros installed as a big home favorite, you’ll likely only need to sweat this bet for 8.5 innings.

THE PICK: Under 9

John Ewing: Athletics at Astros

Homer Bailey (8-6, 4.69 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA)

  • A’s Moneyline: +214
  • Astros Moneyline: -241
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Here’s a simple betting strategy: fade the best teams in baseball during the second half of the season. Seriously, it is that easy.

To make it even more profitable, bet against elite teams that have won at least 60% of games when they are facing a division rival. Increased familiarity with an opponent, like we see in division matchups, can help level the playing field and lead to more competitive games.

The Astros are 64-37 (.634) this season, the third best record in baseball. Houston hosts Oakland tonight in an AL West showdown making the Astros a match for this system.

THE PICK: Athletics +214

Danny Donahue: Orioles at Diamondbacks

Aaron Brooks (2-3, 4.69 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (8-6, 3.92 ERA)

  • Orioles Moneyline: +225
  • Diamondbacks Moneyline: -245
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

A +225 bet is one that you don’t expect to win all that often. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad bet, though, and in the case of tonight’s Orioles moneyline, I happen to think a strong case can be built for it being a pretty darn good one.

The .316 O’s just took two out of three from the Red Sox, and are coming off a 5-0 win entering tonight. To most bettors, that means their luck has to have run out. There’s no way the second-worst team in baseball keeps this mini hot stretch going, right?

That way of thinking (the Gambler’s Fallacy) often leads to inflated lines for bad teams coming off a win, as the public is generally all over the other side. Tonight is no different as 79% of tickets are hitting the D-backs.

Baltimore is also boasting a decent bet-vs.-dollar split, as their 21% backing has generated 25% of actual dollars being wagered. That means they’re drawing the bigger bettors (potentially sharps) while the D-backs are still accounting for enough money to remain the liability for sportsbooks.

All of these factors put the O’s in a spot that’s been very profitable over the past few years:

THE PICK: Orioles +225

Josh Appelbaum: Marlins at White Sox

Trevor Richards (3-11, 4.24 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (4-9, 5.86 ERA)

  • Marlins Moneyline: +104
  • White Sox Moneyline: -114
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

On paper, this looks like a layup for the public. Chicago has a better won-loss record (44-52 vs 36-61), enjoys home-field advantage at a short price and also faces a pitcher with a 3-11 record. How can you not back the White Sox in this one?

Because, unfortunately, sports aren’t played on paper. And a closer look at both teams shows that they’re the definition of evenly matched (both identical -98 run differential). As a result, Miami is providing sharps sneaky contrarian value in what should be considered closer to a pick’em game.

This Interleague showdown is all about line movement. The Southsiders opened as -138 favorites and have tumbled all the way to -114 even though they’re receiving nearly 70% of bets.

This is a classic sharp reverse line move situation. Despite the public loading up on the Chi-Sox, the line moved away from the popular side and toward the unpopular side (Miami +118 to +104). Why? Because books got crushed with big pro bets on the Fish, forcing them to adjust the line in their favor in order to limit their risk and entice buyback on Chicago.

We’ve tracked five separate bet signals on Miami, including big market-wide steam. Miami is also a road dog with a high total, a profitable spot since 2005, and a National League team in Interleague play. AL teams dominated Interleague play from 2005 to 2017, but over the past two seasons NL teams have won +21.54 units.

THE PICK: Marlins +104

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