MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Giants-Rockies

MLB Expert Predictions for Saturday: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets, Including Giants-Rockies article feature image

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Gray

  • Our baseball experts detail their favorite bets for Saturday's MLB action, including Giants at Rockies.

Collin Wilson: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.48 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (6-3, 2.98 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -133
  • Home Moneyline: +123
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 2:20 p.m. ET

Happy Lance Barksdale day! The umpire is notoriously known for low scores with a lifetime record of 241-191, winning under bettors 55.8% for 33.93 units. Both teams throw a lefty on the mound during Saturday’s matinee. Against southpaws, the Brewers have been .500m while the Cubs are a lowly 9-13. The team records are a precursor to the advanced stats, which support an under.

While the Cubs offense has been near the bottom of baseball in strikeout rate and wRC+ since the All-Star break, Chicago has been 29th in wRC+ and wOBA against lefthanders since June 1. Combine that with a low ISO and top strikeout rate (27.2%) over that span, and any lefthanded pitching has a chance to beat the northsiders.

The PICK: Under 9

Evan Abrams: San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies

Madison Bumgarner (6-7, 3.67 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (10-7, 3.88 ERA)

  • Giants Moneyline: +110
  • Rockies Moneyline: -120
  • Over/Under: 11.5
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

The trade deadline has passed and the Giants are now 0-2 in the month of August after keeping almost all of their assets, including tonight’s starter Madison Bumgarner. In Bumgarner’s last two starts against the Cubs and Padres, he has allowed 7 earned runs in 14 innings pitched. In his previous five starts before that, he allowed 5 earned runs in 29 innings pitched.

Tonight he makes his second start in Coors Field this season. In his first, he allowed 3 earned runs in 8 innings, but allowed 2 home runs. Bumgarner has allowed 5 home runs in his last 11 innings pitched at Coors Field. In his career, Bumgarner owns a 4.33 ERA at Coors Field, with opponents virtually hitting .300 against him (.296).

On the other side, the Rockies have Jon Gray on the mound, who has been consistently a better starter at home than on the road, which is obviously ironic due to Coors’ reputation.

In 2019, Gray has been Jekkyl and Hyde against San Fran, but I see value in their short home price tonight against Bumgarner.

The PICK: Rockies (-120)

Danny Donahue: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros

Marco Gonzales (12-8, 4.21 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (3-14, 6.07 ERA)

  • Mariners Moneyline: +191
  • Astros Moneyline: -210
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Seattle is generating just 30% of bets tonight against the Astros (AL-best .640 win pct), which means they fit two of my favorite simple betting strategies: backing contrarian divisional underdogs and fading elite teams in the second half of the season.

Since 2005, divisional underdogs receiving less than 35% of bets against a .600 or better team in the second half have gone 298-361, but have won 118.5 units for an 18% ROI.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to see Sean Zerillo’s betting model showing an edge on Seattle as well.

The PICK: Mariners +191

Stuckey: Cardinals at Athletics

Dakota Hudson (Record, 3.88 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (Record, 3.54 ERA)

  • Cardinals Moneyline: +137
  • Athletics Moneyline: -146
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 9:07 p.m. ET on MLBN

This game will feature two starters at the top of my potential short-term fade list — as regression looms for each. A perfect recipe for an over tonight in Oakland, especially considering I make the total 9.5

Mike Fiers comes into the game sporting an impressive 3.54 ERA but his advanced metrics scream regression. His xFIP sits at 5.37 — almost two full runs higher than his earned run average.

A lot of his luck can be attributed to balls put in play. Per FanGraphs, Fiers has an extremely fortunate .239 BABIP — the third-lowest among all qualified starters. (.300 is about league average and Fiers has a .283 BABIP for his career, even including this year.)

This is a guy striking out less than six batters per nine (career low and third-lowest among qualified starters) and getting fewer swinging strikes than ever before. The balls being put in play are going to start finding holes and gaps — the ones that at least stay in the park.

Similarly, Dakota Hudson has also benefited from good fortune for most of the season. His respectable 3.88 ERA is over a full run lower than his 4.92 SIERA.

The Cardinals righty is one of only 12 starters striking out fewer than seven batters per nine (Fiers is one of the other 11) and one of seven walking more than four per nine. That’s not a recipe for sustained success in the majors.

Yes, Hudson induces a ton of ground balls (his 58.3% GB% leads all qualified starters) but regression is coming for the 2016 first-round draft pick. He’s simply putting too many men on base to continue at his current pace. In fact, among qualified starters, only Aaron Sanchez has a higher WHIP (1.69) than Hudson’s 1.54. Plus, Oakland is a fly-ball hitting team, owning the fifth-lowest ground ball rate in MLB.

Give me the over here between two pitchers I will likely be fading a ton in August. I’ll likely sprinkle a little on the F5 over as well.

The PICK: Over 9

John Ewing: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros

Marco Gonzales (12-8, 4.21 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (3-14, 6.07 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +180
  • Home Moneyline: -195
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Mariners-Astros total opened 10.5 and more than 70% of tickets are on the over. Yet the over/under has dropped to 10.

When the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages this is called reverse line movement and is an indication of sharp action. Using The Action Network tools, we have tracked steam move and reverse line movement bet signals on the under.

The pros are expecting fewer runs than the oddsmakers but can bettors be confident wagering on the under after the line has decreased?

In a word: yes. Since 2005, it has been profitable to follow reverse line movement with baseball totals. A $100 bettor following this simple strategy has returned a profit of $8,177 in this time.

The public is betting the over, because of course they are, but the pros like the under and historically it has been profitable to follow reverse line movement unders.

The PICK: Under 10

Sean Zerillo: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers

Matthew Boyd (6-8, 3.95 ERA) vs. Adrian Sampson (6-8, 5.32 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: 101
  • Home Moneyline: -111
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET

It’s not often that I look to bet a team that has won fewer than 20% of their games over a two-month stretch, but that’s exactly why the Tigers are so valuable on Saturday.

With Matthew Boyd on the mound, I projected Detroit as a slight favorite for the game, and as a 57% favorite in the the first five innings (F5). Yet their game moneyline opened at a shorter price (+100) than their F5 moneyline (+115), which was very curious to me.

Despite their 10-41 record since the beginning of June, the Tigers record improves to 20-31 against the F5 spread and 19-29 in the role of an underdog over that same period.

Again, certainly not a team that you would be running to put your money behind, but worth noting that their bullpen (which recently dealt away all-star closer Shane Greene) has been a big culprit in their losses.

Matthew Boyd comes into this game with ERA indicators (3.46 FIP, 3.33 xFIP) more than a run and a half better than Adrian Sampson (5.37 FIP, 5.12 xFIP), and Boyd gets to face an offense that ranks 23rd, with an 88 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

It’s an ideal matchup for a pitcher who has turned into a top 20 starter in baseball, and he’s clearly being undervalued in this spot.

I actually preferred the F5 spread when it opened, but that has been heavily juiced up. I would still recommend the F5 moneyline all the way down to -110.

The PICK: Detroit Tigers F5 Moneyline (+105)

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