Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Sept. 14: Trust Tampa’s Pitching Committee Early?
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Trevor Richards (34), catcher Mike Zunino (10).
- 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 Friday's slate of games, including how to bet the Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers (8:05 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 their 14-9 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday, the Oakland Athletics are now 88-60, one half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, and a full game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the lead in the AL Wild Card race.
The Athletics are 28-12 when facing a left-handed starting pitcher in 2019; meaning that they are only two games over .500 in games against right-handed starters.
They draw another southpaw on Saturday in 2019 All-Star Mike Minor. Can they extend this streak against left-handed pitching, and add to their lead over their Wild Card competition?
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 1-5 against full-game moneylines and 0-5-2 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 3-6, and I finished down 1.07 units for the day.
It was a mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 16 cents overall against the sides that I played, netting as much as 20 cents against Oakland’s moneyline (-160 to -180). The Mets/Dodgers under also moved my way by half a run.
MLB Betting Model for Saturday, Sept. 14
Today, the model recommends six full-game moneylines and three moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Blue Jays, Brewers, Dodgers, Rays, Royals and Pirates as full-game plays. The model also likes Rangers, Rays and Tigers as F5 plays.
I went against my number on the Rangers yesterday, with Oakland facing lefty Brock Burke, and I played Saturday’s moneyline early and have seen that line swing more than 15 cents towards Oakland.
Betting Oakland against lefty starters, whether on the F5 moneyline, game moneyline, or F5 spread, has hit at a nearly 70% clip since July 1 of last season.
For Saturday, I think the most optimal way to play this trend is to bet the over on Oakland’s team total (5.5) – as I project them for 6.2 runs
Initially, the wind was blowing in at Globe Life Park – the most profitable park for unders with the wind blowing straight in. However, that under trend is no longer actionable for today, and Mike Minor is a pitcher who is due for regression.
His ERA (3.08) is nearly a run lower than his FIP (3.90) and almost a run and a half lower than his xFIP (4.52). A 4.43 SIERA further confirms those underlying metrics.
Minor has lost a full tick on his fastball throughout this season:
Minor is still a better pitcher than Mike Fiers (3.97 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 5.27 xFIP), so I don’t fully trust the Athletics to win this game, but I do expect them to score some runs.
As for the model recommended plays, I like the Brewers and the Rays on Saturday.
I previewed Tyler Glasnow on September 8, before his first start back off of injury. He looked sharp, with five strikeouts in two innings against the Blue Jays:
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 8, 2019
What’s mean? After throwing Glasnow’s heat and big breaking ball up against the Angels early, the Rays will bring in changeup specialist Trevor Richards behind him:
⚔️Sword of the Week Winner⚔️
Trevor Richards, Filthy 84mph Changeup.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 19, 2019
Richards’ changeup has accrued a total pitch value of +10.3 in 2019; 10th in MLB, one spot ahead of Stephen Strasburg.
Those two pitchers should be able to lock down the first five innings, before handing the ball off to the Rays elite group of late-inning relievers.
I have to imagine that the Angels will have a difficult time scoring against this staff today.
Lastly, I targeted Jordan Lyles of the Brewers, who has a 2.51 ERA since the Brewers acquired him from Pittsburgh around the trade deadline.
However, Lyles has out-pitched his FIP (4.49) and xFIP (5.23) in Milwaukee; after recording a 4.79 FIP and 4.40 xFIP with the Pirates this season.
His pitch mix is slightly different with the Brewers – fewer changeups, and more curveballs and sliders.
The curveball is considered his best pitch, and Lyles is throwing it nearly one-third of the time with Milwaukee:
Jordan Lyles is getting more than half his Ks this season (27 of 53) on curves pic.twitter.com/4rDGq06Ytu
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) May 24, 2019
You’d probably be surprised to learn that his curve has an average spin rate – which is why we use high tech equipment to measure these pitchers.
None of Lyles pitches stand out in terms of pitch value, and he’s super susceptible to hard contact; making his command a vital factor in any given start.
Cardinals righty Jack Flaherty is on quite a run over his past four starts (22 IP, 3 BB, 25 K, 0.82 ERA) but his xFIP is still 3.21, and his hot streak has garnered public attention. Milwaukee is the clear contrarian side.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the Dodgers, who I didn’t select for today.
As of writing, the majority of the cash is behind the Mets, but 63% of the moneyline tickets are on the Dodgers as an underdog. They look like a trap play to me.
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s ERA (2.45) is still a full run better than his xFIP (3.46), and he has had four straight bad outings (21 runs in 19 innings pitched).
Jacob deGrom (2.84 FIP, 3.22 xFIP) is a significantly better pitcher and is not someone that I’m looking to bet against.
Bets (so far) for Sept. 14
- Cincinnati Reds (+121) F5 Moneyline
- Milwaukee Brewers (+180) Game Moneyline (1U)
- Oakland Athletics (-105) Game Moneyline
- Oakland Athletics Team Total, Over 5.5 (+105)
- Tampa Bay Rays (-150) F5 Moneyline
- Tampa Bay Rays (-150) Game Moneyline
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 9/14
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.