Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Sept. 10: Back Padres’ Ronald Bolanos in Second Start?
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: San Diego Padres starting pitcher Ronald Bolanos (57).
- 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 Tuesday's slate of games, including how to bet the Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies (7:07 p.m. ET).
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
The Braves (90-55), Nationals (79-63) and Phillies (74-69) were all supposed to compete for the NL East crown in 2019; but the mostly homegrown Braves have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
The Nationals (+117) own a better run differential and expected record (82-60) than the division-leading Braves (+102, 82-63), while the Phillies sport a negative run differential (-6) and sub .500 projected record (71-72).
Per FanGraphs, the Braves have a 99% chance of winning the NL East, and the Nationals have a 95.7% chance of making the NL Wild Card. But despite lingering within three games of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot, those projections only give the Phillies a 2.3% chance of making the playoffs.
With 19 games remaining on their schedule, the Phillies need to go on a tear to end the season; and leapfrog four teams for a playoff spot. They’re 6-7 against the Braves in 2019 and will face them six more times in their next eight games.
Can they get the ball rolling with a win on Tuesday?
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 1-3 against full-game moneylines and 0-2 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 1-3, and I finished down one unit for the day.
It was very negative in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I lost 60 cents against the sides that I played, losing as much as 36 cents against the Angels moneyline (+144 to +180).
MLB Betting Model for Tuesday, Sept. 10
Today, the model recommends six full-game moneylines and five moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Angels, Athletics, Blue Jays, Marlins, Padres and Phillies as full-game plays. The model also likes the Angels, Giants, Marlins, Phillies and Reds as F5 plays.
Four of these teams fit the same system for Tuesday. Each are contrarian (receiving less than 30% of moneyline bets) underdogs coming off of a loss, lined between +120 and +180:
That system is 58-62 (48.3%, +24.5 units) in 2019, and the Athletics, Marlins, Padres and Phillies each fit the criteria for Tuesday.
I would have bet on Oakland whether or not I showed line value on them today, as I have consistently bet the Athletics against left-handed starting pitchers.
The Athletics are 47-21 (69%, +$1,853) on the full-game moneyline vs. left-handed starters since July 1, 2018; including a 16-13 record as an underdog.
As for the Phillies, Jason Vargas has been pretty stable since a time traveler interviewed him on April 13.
In the 22 starts since then, Vargas has a 3.83 ERA and a 4.41 FIP – though his xFIP is 5.22; and his SIERA is 5.28 for the year.
Overall, his strikeout-minus-walk rate is down over 4% from 2018; and his hard-hit rate has increased by nearly an equivalent amount.
His average fastball velocity is also in freefall, dropping 2.6 mph from 2018 to 84.4 mph.
And yet, his changeup and curveball continue to display positive pitch value, with Vargas ranking 13th in total curveball value, and 19th in changeup value amongst pitchers who have thrown 100 or more innings on the season.
He also allows an average exit velocity of 85.9 mph – in the 92nd percentile amongst pitchers, and his .312 xwOBA further confirms that Vargas generates a ton of weak contact.
The changeup (which has declined by a similar velocity as his fastball) has a 36% swinging-strike rate; easily the best and most consistent offering that Vargas has.
In the late slate, I’m going to back the Angels and the Padres once again – because I see line value on those teams, and they each fit the contrarian system that I discussed earlier.
The Angels face Zach Plesac, whose ERA (3.98) masks a more troubling FIP (5.27), xFIP (5.12) and SIERA (5.18). The batted ball data is also unkind – as Plesac has permitted an average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and expected metrics that all rank in the bottom 25% amongst pitchers.
The fastball and curveball, both of which have minimal spin relatively to league average, have each been hit particularly hard.
His slider has a 35% swinging-strike rate, and Plesac should consider throwing it more often:
The Padres will start Cuban prospect Ronald Bolanos, in his second MLB outing after facing the Diamondbacks on Sept. 3 (6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4K).
Ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Padres deep farm system, the 23-year-old Bolanos played professionally as one of the youngest players in Cuba’s Serie Nacional (before defecting); so he will likely remain unfazed at the MLB level.
Bolanos has a quirky delivery, but smooth arm action, and he profile as a back of the rotation starter after some refinement.
His fastball was graded as a 55, or above average — as he can touch 97 mph:
He generated four whiffs with his curveball and one with his slider in that first outing, but Bolanos needs to work on the command of his secondary pitches.
The Diamondback swung through some mistakes in the outing, and Bolanos can’t afford to miss with his breaking ball up in the zone.
Some of those mistakes got crushed, but this one did not:
Bets (so far) for Sept. 10
- Los Angeles Angels (+125) Game Moneyline
- Miami Marlins (+164) Game Moneyline
- Philadelphia Phillies (+146) and (+152) Game Moneylines
- Oakland Athletics (+125) and (+148) Game Moneylines
- San Diego Padres (+147) Game Moneyline
- Toronto Blue Jays (+152) Game Moneyline
- Under 10 (-105), Athletics at Astros
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 9/10
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.