Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Aug. 29: Can Rays Avoid Sweep in Houston?
Dan Hamilton, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ji-Man Choi, Tommy Pham
- Sean Zerillo's MLB model helps you find edges when betting moneylines and over/unders for the full game and first five (F5) innings.
- He analyzes Wednesday's slate of games, including how to bet Rays at Astros (2:10 p.m. ET).
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
After dropping the first two games of their series to the Astros (87-47), the Rays (76-58) are now one game out of a wild card spot – with two more losses than the Oakland Athletics (76-56) who have two games in hand.
The Red Sox (72-62) have fallen five games off of the pace; so as of now this is a three-team race for two spots between the AL Central loser, Oakland, and Tampa Bay.
On Thursday, the Rays are an underdog of greater than +200 for the second straight day – and this could be a profitable spot for one of the more surprising teams in baseball this season.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 0-6 against full-game moneylines and 0-2 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 1-5, and I finished down 1.87 units for the day.
It was a mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 18 cents against the sides that I played, netting as much as 23 cents on the Blue Jays moneyline (+139 to +116), and 20 cents against the total that I played.
MLB Betting Model for Thursday, August 29
Today, the model recommends three full-game moneylines and five moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Rays, Royals and White Sox as full-game plays. The model also likes the Padres, Rangers, Rays, Royals and White Sox as F5 plays.
Andrew Kittredge has pitched surprisingly well for the Rays this season (3.70 FIP, 3.00 xFIP) and the Rays have moved him between a bullpen and opener role.
Notice how his pitch mix has changed in 2019:
That small dot that you see next to the list of pitch types? That’s the sinker, which Kitteredge began throwing this season – and turned into his most frequently used offering – throwing the pitch 42% of the time.
After seeing the arm side run he gets on the pitch, it’s easy to see why:
This Andrew Kittredge pitch is the very definition of "eating up" a batter.
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) June 19, 2019
Kitteredge throws his sinker and slider nearly 80% of the time combined, and his 16.5% swinging-strike rate is elite.
The Rays are 21-23 as a moneyline underdog this season, and 117-114 dating back to the start of the 2017 season – generating a profit of over 37 units with a 15% return on investment.
I projected them as a +132 pooch for today, and the public is piling on Greinke to complete the sweep against a semi-anonymous 29-year-old opener.
I also like the under 8.5 in this matchup, situated at Minute Maid Park with a closed dome – historically the best park for unders with the roof closed (185-141-9, +35 units).
The game also fits the following system for contrarian unders between two winning clubs:
For the White Sox-Twins matchup, I like the way that Dylan Cease has been pitching for Chicago. He has a 29:10 strikeout to walk ratio in his past five outings – with only one truly poor start in the bunch:
The 23-year-old righty has a major pedigree and big stuff and has apparently settled into the White Sox rotation – and I’ll look to back him as a divisional underdog here.
Lastly, I backed Lance Lynn and the Rangers as a -160 favorite on the F5 moneyline; which is the cutoff for juice that I would lay on a baseball favorite.
If you’re expecting Lynn to regress towards pre-2019 levels at some point soon, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
His average fastball velocity is up to 94.7 mph, a career-high; as is his swinging strike rate (12%) which is up 2% over 2018.
Bets (so far) for August 29
- Chicago White Sox (+170) Game Moneyline
- San Diego Padres (-130) F5 Moneyline
- San Diego Padres (-120) Game Moneyline
- Tampa Bay (+217) Game Moneyline
- Texas Rangers (-160) F5 Moneyline
- Under 8.5 (-105) Game Moneyline
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 8/29
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game and First 5 moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below.