MLB Expert Predictions for Wednesday: Our Staff’s 7 Favorite Bets, Including Angels vs. Dodgers

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Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ross Stripling

  • Our experts give out their favorite plays for Wednesday's MLB slate, including Twins vs. Yankees and Dodgers vs. Angels.

John Ewing: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros

Chris Bassitt (7-4, 3.96 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.99 ERA)

  • Athletics Moneyline: +192
  • Astros Moneyline: -208
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET

Justin Verlander is pitching well this season. His ERA of 2.99 ranks 10th among starters, and he has 172 strikeouts (fifth in the majors). But he’s also giving up a lot of home runs.

The All-Star pitcher has surrendered 28 longballs this season – the most in baseball. Verlander’s career-high for homers allowed is 30, which he will easily pass this season.

One of the reasons Verlander is struggling to keep opposing hitters in the ballpark is that he’s becoming more of a fly-ball pitcher. He hasn’t had a ground-ball rate above 40% since 2012. The more balls in the air, the greater the potential for a home run.

Yesterday, I successfully recommended wagering on Paul Goldschmidt at +390 to hit a home run against the Pirates. After cashing that ticket by targeting another home run-prone pitcher in Chris Archer, I’m back for more. Here are the odds for the Athletics to hit a home run today:

Ramon Laureano is third for Oakland in home runs hit, and most of his damage (16 of 20 HRs) has come against righties. Laureano has been smashing since the All-Star break, hitting .429 with four homers.

I like Laureano as a longshot at +410 odds against a pitcher allowing 1.8 home runs per nine innings. Plus, the home run doesn’t have to come against Verlander. If Laureano goes deep at any point in the game, this bet is a winner.

THE PICK: Laureano to hit a home run +410

Collin Wilson: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners

Mike Minor (8-5, 2.86 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (8-8, 4.27 ERA)

  • Rangers Moneyline: -138
  • Mariners Moneyline: +128
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 3:40 p.m. ET

Following the same formula for the past couple of months, fading Mike Minor should be profitable for the remainder of the season. Minor’s ERA is well below his xFIP of 4.09, signifying plenty of regression in the future for the lefty. Other split stats include an 87% strand rate and 43% ground-ball ratio, both of which are well off career splits for the southpaw.

The Mariners’ season splits against left-handed pitching do not jump off the page, but filtering through the past seven weeks paints a different picture. Since the beginning of June, Seattle ranks eighth in wRC+ and sixth in ISO while posting an unlucky BABIP of 26th in the league against left-handers. The Mariners have also become patient at the plate, posting a top-five walk percentage against southpaws since June 1.

THE PICK: Mariners +128

Mark Gallant: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals

Kyle Freeland (2-7, 7.62 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (7-5, 3.40 ERA)

  • Rockies Moneyline: +200
  • Nationals Moneyline: -220
  • Over/Under: 10 (u-115)
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Tonight in D.C., the wind is going to be blowing in towards home plate. The over/under is 10. This has not been a good year for taking unders, but this is one I certainly like.

The Nats are tossing Patrick Corbin, who has been towards the bottom of the league when it comes to allowing homers in a year that everyone is giving up dongs left and right.

Kyle Freeland, on the other hand, has been… awful, just awful. His presence on the mound is certainly the reason this total is this high, as he has an ERA north of seven – nearly five full runs higher than last year. They sent him down to Triple-A for a while, but that hasn’t really helped, as his ERA has actually gone up in two starts since returning.

That’s definitely going to scare some folks off, but I’m going to side with history and take the under, which has hit at nearly a 55% rate when the wind blows in; it’s done even better when the total closes at 10 or higher.

While it’s not something I would bet on by itself, I also found it interesting to see that unders are 6-1 when Corbin is pitching with the wind in; unders are 5-0 in that spot with Freeland.

I do think we will see over/unders regress back towards the mean, and this total just sticks out to me as being a bit too high.

THE PICK: Under 10 (-115)

Danny Donahue: Kansas City Royals at Atlanta Braves

Brad Keller (6-9, 4.18 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.61 ERA)

  • Royals Moneyline: +170
  • Braves Moneyline: -185
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

At 60-42, the Braves are sitting pretty atop the NL East standings, boasting the second-best record in the National League. Despite that, they dropped the first of a two-game set with the lowly Royals (38-64) last night. There’s no way KC sweeps this mini series, right?

Well, that’s surely what the public is thinking, anyway. Eighty-one percent of bettors have taken the Braves tonight, but this line has actually moved toward the Royals (+176 to +170), indication sharp action on the underdogs. And in the past, it’s been profitable to take bad teams coming off a win, as that public way of thinking often leads to inflated lines.

Since 2005, sub-.400 teams (through at least a quarter of the season) that are coming off a win and receiving less than 20% of moneyline bets have gone 181-227. That ‘losing’ record has won 58.4 units over the time frame for a 14.3% ROI.

THE PICK: Royals +170

Josh Appelbaum: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins

J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.86 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (11-4, 3.18 ERA)

  • Yankees Moneyline: -119
  • Twins Moneyline: +109
  • Over/Under: 11
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

The Yankees and Twins have split the first two games of the series. Tonight’s rubber game opened as a true pick’em with both sides listed at -110. The public loves betting on big-name teams like New York, but they also see value in a good team at home with their ace on the mound at a juicy price. As a result, Average Joes can’t make up their minds as to who to take.

But wiseguys have taken a clear position.

Moneyline bets are split right down the middle, with an ever-so-slight lean to the Twins (53% of bets). However, we’ve seen this line move nearly 10 cents toward the Yankees (-110 to -117). In a vacuum, a line shouldn’t move at all if the percentages are split. So we know this move was caused by sharps siding with the Bronx Bombers.

Early this morning, pros steamed New York -110. We haven’t seen any conflicting moves (or buyback) on Minnesota.

The Yankees also fit three profitable Bet Labs systems: “Non-Division Road Favorites” (60.3%, +14.14 units this season), “Conference Favorite High Totals” (62.5%, +36.81 units this season) and “Fade the Trendy Dog, Favorites Sub 50% Bets” (57.5%, +7.57 units).

THE PICK: Yankees -117

Evan Abrams: New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins

J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.86 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (11-4, 3.18 ERA)

  • Yankees Moneyline: -120
  • Twins Moneyline: +110
  • Over/Under: 11
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday night’s Yankees-Twins game was utter chaos…

On Wednesday, after scoring 26 combined runs, they are at it again with J.A. Happ for New York and Jake Odorizzi for Minnesota.

In 2019, the Twins are 27-11 (71.1%) after a loss, beating their opponents by 1.8 runs per game, profiting bettors $1,447 on a $100 per-game basis. Minnesota is the most-profitable team in MLB in this spot. Of those 38 games, the Twins have been listed as an underdog 15 times; they are 14-1 (93.3%) in those, winning by 2.8 runs per game.

I like the value with Minnesota tonight as a home dog off a marathon loss. After Odorizzi’s absurd start to the season at home, he has cooled off a bit, but he is still much better at home (2.56 ERA in 2019, 3.51 career) than on the road (3.88 ERA in 2019, 4.29 career).

Odorizzi has tons of experience against the Yankees and has done pretty well against the thick of their order:

  • Hicks: 3-13, 3 K
  • Judge: 2-7, HR, 3 K
  • Encarnacion: 7-40, 2 HR, 5 K
  • Voit: 0-5, 2 K
  • Didi: 2-22, 4 K
  • Torres: 0-7, 2 K

Not to mention, the Twins have been great against lefties this season and are facing Happ, who has the highest ERA of any Yankee starter with at least 10 starts. The Twins are first in slugging, average and home runs against left-handed pitchers in 2019. I’ll roll with Minnesota tonight at plus money.

THE PICK: Twins +110

Sean Zerillo: Los Angeles Angels at Los Angeles Dodgers

Jaime Barria (3-3, 7.36 ERA) vs. Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.64 ERA)

  • Angels Moneyline: 171
  • Dodgers Moneyline: -186
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

I projected this game at 7.9 runs and played the under immediately when it opened at 9.5.

Though my early wager might be on the wrong side if the total closes at 10, I think that this is a really good contrarian under for Wednesday, and that under 10 is certainly the correct way to play it.

As of writing, it fits one of my favorite systems for under betting, which has generated a return of +8 units for a $100 bettor on a 58-48-5 record this season:

Like his two Dodgers teammates in Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw, Ross Stripling is highly efficient and one of just 17 starters averaging fewer than 5.1 pitches per out this season — a stat which typicallly correlates well with ERA and WHIP.

Some of the other names on that list besides the three Dodgers include former Dodger Zack Greinke, of course, in addition to Justin Verlander, Jose Berrios, Kyle Hendricks, Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German and Mike Soroka.

I also wouldn’t sweat Jaime Barria’s 7.36 ERA: The 23-year-old righty reached the majors prematurely in 2018 due to his advanced command, and he has increased his whiff and strikeout rates this season and owns a nice changeup and slider.

He’s coming off a shellacking against the Mariners on July 19 (3.2 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 2 HR, 4 BB, 4 K) but had 20 strikeouts against four walks and four runs allowed in his three starts (15 IP) before that, and I’m anticipating a 2-2 or 3-2 game when these two starters exit after five innings each.

THE PICK: Under 10

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