Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Sept. 25: Can Pirates Eliminate Lester, Cubs from Playoff Race?
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34), Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman.
- 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 the Cubs at Pirates (7:05 p.m. ET).
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets are each hanging on by a thread in the National League.
The elimination number is down to one for both teams — meaning that their season is effectively over with either a loss or a Brewers win; as Milwaukee owns a second place in the Wild Card behind the Washington Nationals.
All odds above as of Wednesday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
The Cubs have outscored the Brewers by more than 100 runs this season, as Milwaukee’s run differential is exactly zero. But they got hot at exactly the right time, with an 18-4 record in September; allowing just three runs per game.
Whether tonight, tomorrow, or this weekend, the 2019 Cubs will eventually be eliminated from contention. How much motivation do they have left in the tank, especially with another weekend series against the Cardinals looming?
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-4 against full-game moneylines and 3-1-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 5-5, and I finished even on units for the day.
Notably, the Cardinals blew two separate leads before losing in 19 innings to the Diamondbacks — in a game where Jack Flaherty had a no-hitter through six innings; finishing with 11 strikeouts.
It was a very positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV), however. I gained 63 cents against the four sides that I played, and had two of three totals move by half of a run in my direction.
The two sides that I included in my parlay also moved by a combined 35 cents — an effective 18 cent move, from +136 to +118, in a parlay.
MLB Betting Model for Wednesday, Sept. 25
Today, the model recommends eight full-game moneylines and eight moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Angels, Braves, Mariners, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Reds, and Tigers as full-game plays. The model also likes the same teams as F5 plays.
As I teased above, I’ll be going against the Cubs today — our last shot to go against Jon Lester, with his declining velocity and skyrocketing hard-hit rate, this year:
I’m no fan of Dario Agrazal (5.08 ERA, 6.06 FIP, 6.10 xFIP), particularly because he cannot strike anyone out — fanning a hilarious 4.8 batters per nine innings — but even still, the Pirates should be closer to +125 than +165 against Lester at home.
That being said, the Pirates are still in free fall, with a .324 winning percentage in the second-half; a 52-win pace over a full season.
After winning with the Brewers on Tuesday, I’ll go against the overachieving Jordan Lyles on Wednesday, with the underachieving Tyler Mahle.
Mahle has improved in 2019, seeing a 6% increase in strikeout minus walk rate, and an 8% increase in groundball rate, but his ERA has held steady:
Mahle should see positive regression towards his xFIP, which suggests a sub 4.00 ERA; nearly a full run lower than his current ERA.
Statcast agrees, showing that Mahle has allowed a .325 wOBA this season, with an underlying.309 xwOBA. League average is .318, making Mahle an above-average arm.
Meanwhile, Jordan Lyles has posted a 2.40 ERA in nine starts with the Brewers but has an underlying 4.58 FIP and 4.98 xFIP. His BABIP is .230, and he’s stranding 89% of baserunners — compared to career averages of .307 and 65.8%.
I show the Reds as a small home favorite (52%) in either half of this game. I backed them in both.
I’ll also be backing Dinelson Lamet against the Dodgers tonight. I discussed the Padres righty, and his strikeout prowess, as recently as Sept. 12. In his most recent outing, he registered 14 strikeouts against the Brewers:
Since the beginning of August, Lamet has 65 strikeouts in 45 innings with a 3.20 ERA, 3.24 FIP, and a 3.17 xFIP.
He’s quickly garnering status as a frontline starter heading into 2020, with a higher strikeout rate than either Jacob deGrom or Lucas Giolito.
Another young starter with upside who I am excited to back tonight is Kolby Allard of the Rangers.
Acquired from the Braves at the trade deadline, the 22-year-old lefty has impressed through eight starts (4.25 ERA, 3.74 FIP) — though he still has things to work on.
A 32:18 strikeout to walk ratio, with a 5.05 xFIP won’t cut it, especially pitching in Texas, but Allard is nevertheless talented — as the former top-ranked high school arm in the 2015 draft.
Without a change to his pitch mix, however, Allard might never turn into a strikeout pitcher. But he limits hard contact with command over his fastball, cutter, and changeup.
The cutter effectively works as a hard slider:
I’ll also be backing the Oakland Athletics, once again today, in the first half against a lefty starter.
I won’t rehash all of the trends, but the fact that these A’s vs. lefty starter wagers are hitting over two-thirds of the time is suggestive of something.
And I wouldn’t underestimate the boost that Frankie Montas (2.91 FIP) should provide, if only for a start.
Like Lamet, Montas has shown himself to be a potential top of the rotation pitcher when he’s been on the mound this season:
Bets (so far) for Sept. 25
- Atlanta Braves (-128) Game Moneyline
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+113) Game Moneyline
- Cincinnati Reds (+117) F5 Moneyline
- Cincinnati Reds (+123) Game Moneyline
- Oakland Athletics (-0.5, -135) F5 Spread
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+167) Game Moneyline
- San Diego Padres (+175) Game Moneyline
- Texas Rangers (+139) Game Moneyline
- Under 8.5 (+100), Yankees at Rays
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 9/25
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.