MLB Expert Predictions for Thursday: Will the Angels Get to Chris Sale?
Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Chris Sale
- Our experts give out their favorite plays for Thursday's MLB slate.
Danny Donahue: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Domingo German (14-2, 3.98 ERA) vs. Thomas Pannone (2-4, 5.98 ERA)
- Yankees Moneyline: -187
- Blue Jays Moneyline: +173
- Over/Under: 10.5
- First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
In what’s basically become a daily occurrence, I opened my odds page today to find a boatload of Bet Labs systems lighting up on a really bad team playing a really good team. With all the profitable spots that have lined up on the Blue Jays tonight, I don’t have much choice but to close my eyes and take a shot.
They’re super contrarian divisional underdogs, they’re facing an elite team in the second half, they’ve generated more money than bets and they’re coming off a win. Basically everything I could want from a team, they’ve got it. Damnit.
The PICK: Blue Jays +173
Sean Zerillo: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins
Dallas Keuchel (3-4, 3.86 ERA) vs. Elieser Hernandez (1-4, 5.66 ERA)
- Away Moneyline: -191
- Home Moneyline: 176
- Over/Under: 8.5
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
I projected this game total at 7.4 runs and expected the total to be bet down to 8.0 by game time.
As of writing, over 65% of the tickets and 70% of the cash being bet on the total in this game are taking the over, yet the number hasn’t budged off of 8.5, and the vig (-115) has swung towards the under.
Moreover, they will play this game under a closed dome tonight. Historically, it’s a profitable move to bet the under in a closed dome when the total closes at 8.5 or higher
In such circumstances, the under is 52-47-6 overall at Marlins Park, and 3-1 in 2019.
If you further limit the same criteria to divisional games at Marlins Park, the under has gone 24-19-4 (55.8%, +$353, 7.5% ROI).
While showing a relatively small sample under this system, Marlins Park is the most favorable pitching environment in baseball; with a run-scoring environment more than 17% below that of an average stadium.
The PICK: Under 8.5
John Ewing: Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox
Dillon Peters (2-0, 3.20 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (5-11, 4.68 ERA)
- Away Moneyline: +215
- Home Moneyline: -240
- Over/Under: 11
- First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Chris Sale has been the least profitable pitcher in baseball this season. With Sale on the mound the Red Sox have gone 8-15, losing $1,144 for a $100 bettor.
In his last two outings, both against the Yankees, Sale was tagged for 14 earned runs. His ERA ballooned from 4.00 to 4.68.
Bettors don’t trust Sale as less than 20% of moneyline tickets are on the Red Sox first five innings. Betting against the public is a profitable strategy in baseball and works well with unpopular F5 favorites.
Sale has struggled lately but he is still a talented pitcher. According to FanGraphs, Sale has accumulated 2.9 WAR this season – 25th best among qualified pitchers.
The public is fading Sale and the Red Sox in the first five innings creating an opportunity for smart bettors to go against the grain.
The PICK: Red Sox -240