MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Friday: 3 Best Bets, Including White Sox vs. Rays & Phillies vs. Padres (August 20)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper
- Fourteen games take place under the lights in Major League Baseball tonight.
- Our analysts have found value in betting three of those games.
- Continue reading for our best bets from Friday's MLB slate.
The weekend is here, and it’s time for more baseball. Friday’s slate includes an afternoon tilt between the Royals and Cubs before a full 14 games under the lights.
Our analysts have found angles on three of those evening affairs, including White Sox vs. Rays, Diamondbacks vs. Rockies and Phillies vs. Padres.
Here are our three best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
White Sox vs. Rays
Tanner McGrath: I hate fading the Rays as home underdogs, but I absolutely despise Michael Wacha as a starting pitcher.
Wacha ranks in the bottom two percent of qualified pitchers in the following statistics:
- xERA (6.45)
- xBA (.301)
- xSLG (.532)
- xwOBA (.378)
While he managed to get fairly lucky through the first few months of the season, the regression train has pulled into Wacha station. Over his past six starts, Wacha has posted an 8.04 ERA and has allowed 44 hits in 28 innings with a 1.025 OPS.
While the Rays are generally a profitable team, Wacha hasn’t helped their cause. Especially in the first five innings:
Meanwhile, Lucas Giolito is having a down year but is due for some positive regression (3.83 ERA, 3.40 xERA). Plus, scratch his one pathetic start on August 4 against the Royals (4 IP, 6 ER), and Giolito has allowed just six earned runs over his past 33 innings pitched (1.63 ERA).
Tampa Bay has a big offensive advantage in this game, especially considering the White Sox have been just league average over the past 30 days (100 wRC+). But Chicago’s pitching advantage is much larger than their offensive disadvantage, which is why I’m happy to play their first five innings run line at close to even money.
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies
Mike Ianniello: There has been some voodoo magic going on at Coors Field this season as the Colorado Rockies are 41-21 in Denver this year, the second-best home record in the league.
The Rockies are hitting .286 with a .357 wOBA and averaging 5.9 runs per game at home this year, all of which are the best marks in the league. Colorado has won seven straight home games, including just sweeping the San Diego Padres.
Colorado will have Austin Gomber on the hill for them, fresh off the paternity list. Gomber has been absolutely nails at home this year. In eight starts he is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA. He has allowed just eight earned runs and opponents are hitting .172 against him at Coors Field.
Opposing one of the best home teams in the league, will be one of the worst road teams in the league. The Arizona Diamondbacks set an MLB record earlier this season for most consecutive road losses and are just 14-45 away from Arizona this season, tied for the record in the league.
On the road this year, the Diamondbacks rank 28th with a .216 batting average, 26th with a .285 wOBA and 27th with a 75 wRC+.
Arizona pitcher Tyler Gilbert will undoubtedly be one of the lasting highlights of this season after tossing a no-hitter in his first MLB start. But most pitchers tend to struggle in their next start after a no-hitter and the inexperienced Gilbert seems like a ripe candidate for that, especially pitching in Coors Field against a red-hot Rockies team in just his second career big league start.
The Snakes have been to Coors Field six times already this year and are just 1-5 in Denver. I think this is a good game to attack in multiple ways (moneyline, spread, first five, etc) but I will look to specifically target the pitching mismatch.
Gomber has been money at home all season and the Rockies are 7-1 in the first five innings in his eight starts this year. I will back Colorado to lead after five innings (-0.5) to get a better price at -125.
Phillies vs. Padres
Brad Cunningham: Matt Moore has been not very good this year, to put it kindly. He has an xERA at 5.00, a xFIP at 4.86, and a hard hit % allowed close to 40%. His biggest problem has been his fastball, which he is incredibly reliant on. He goes to it 57.7% of the time and is allowing a .295 batting average and .380 wOBA to opposing hitters this season. Fastballs are one of the pitches you cannot throw this Padres lineup because they have a +17.9 run value against them this season.
Blake Snell is having a horrible first season in San Diego, as his xERA has ballooned up to 5.59, which is the highest of his career. His biggest problem is he’s walking too many guys with a BB/9 rate all the way up at 5.60.
Although the Phillies have not been hitting the ball well over the past week, they have been hitting left-handed pitching well with a .326 wOBA and 102 wRC+, which both rank in the top 10 in baseball.
I have 5.63 runs projected for the first five innings, so I think there is some value on Over 5 runs at +100 and would play it up to -107.
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