Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Aug. 23: Who Has the Edge as D-Backs, Brewers Jockey for Wild Card?
Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ketel Marte
- 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 Diamondbacks at Brewers (8:10 p.m. ET).
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
The Milwaukee Brewers (65-62) and Arizona Diamondbacks (64-64) remain afloat in the NL Wild Card hunt but are losing time to gain ground on the four teams standing between them and a playoff spot.
Arizona (+64) has a significantly better run differential than Milwaukee (-35), thanks in part to their stellar team defense which ranks as the best in baseball.
For that reason, I think that the Diamondbacks are undervalued on most nights – which is why I have continually backed them throughout 2019, and will do so once again on Friday.
But first, I challenge you to find someone with a better road trip outfit than what Amir Garrett wore on Thursday:
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) August 22, 2019
There’s a lot of terrific choices in here, including Nick Senzel wearing Vince Papale and/or Mark Wahlberg’s #83 Eagles jersey (middle).
But nobody topped Garrett, who wore his own game-used college basketball jersey from his time at St. John’s:
Why would I wear anyone else’s? I’m my own favorite player…
— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) August 22, 2019
I might have a new favorite member of the Reds in Garrett – a California boy who can’t help but represent Queens, NY whenever he gets the opportunity.
The six-foot-five southpaw has turned into a pretty nice arm out of the Reds bullpen – striking out 65 batters in 46 innings pitched in 2019:
Amir Garrett, Filthy 85mph Slider. 😷 pic.twitter.com/HMlyQ8GaEk
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 21, 2019
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 0-3 against full-game moneylines and 2-0 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 3-2, and I finished up 0.53 units for the day.
It was a neutral day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV), as I finished at a net neutral with the juice on the three sides and one total that I played.
I also played a parlay at +116, and it would have paid out +110 based upon closing lines.
MLB Betting Model for Friday, August 23
Today, the model recommends five full-game moneylines and four moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Reds and Royals as full-game plays. The model also likes the Mariners, Mets, Reds and Royals as F5 plays.
The Diamondbacks narrowly missed the cut, though I still like them at their current price around +130, and even down to +125.
Let’s talk about what makes them so good defensively, using defensive metrics provided by FanGraphs.
They are a very sure-handed team and make all of the plays that they are supposed to make. Sloppy mistakes from the Diamondbacks are infrequent occurrences.
Arizona also ranked first in MLB in 2018 by converting 98.4% of their plays that had a fielding probability between 90-100%.
Here’s how their fielding breaks down by position:
For me, any conversation about the Diamondbacks defense starts with Nick Ahmed, one of baseball’s most underrated players:
He has every defensive tool that you want in a shortstop, but his reaction times and smooth throwing accuracy standout.
Ahmed has good range, but he enhances that skill by getting an incredible jump on every ball that he fields. And his ability to adjust to harsh hops is uncanny.
He has also improved as a hitter, cutting his strikeouts while adding walks and power, entering above-average territory for the first time in his career:
Ahmed is in the midst of a 3 WAR season with more than a month left to play, an improvement upon 2018 (1.7 WAR) his previous career-best.
He has career highs in home runs (17) and steals (7) and may draw some trade interest this offseason with one year remaining on his contract.
Ahmed has had room to flourish in 2019 thanks to the position change of a teammate – as former shortstop Ketel Marte moved to center field during the offseason.
Marte, an All-Star and the current National League hits leader, has been the 13th most-valuable offensive contributor in baseball this season per wRC+ – sandwiched between Freddie Freeman and Juan Soto.
On a per inning basis, he has been the second most valuable defensive Center Fielder; behind Harrison Bader of the Cardinals; incredible considering his limited exposure to the position.
Early indications were bad:
The Windy City was unfair to Ketel Marte. pic.twitter.com/4nMQ5RVPge
— Subscribe to Cut4 on YouTube!!!! (@Cut4) April 19, 2019
Marte was essentially a scratch defender in the infield, but the Diamondbacks have ultimately nailed their assessment that he could be converted to an outfielder.
The Mariners tried a similar experiment with Dee Gordon in 2018, and the results were disastrous. This position change, which has led to a 5.7 WAR season for Marte, could prove to be franchise-altering.
The Diamondbacks have Marte under contract with club options through 2024. He will earn just $4 million in 2020; equivalent to roughly 8% of the on-field value that he has contributed to the Diamondbacks with a month remaining in 2019.
Amongst players who debuted in 2015 or earlier, there might not be a better bargain in baseball.
Bets (so far) for August 23
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+140) Game Moneyline
- Cincinnati Reds (-103) Game Moneyline
- Kansas City Royals (+164) F5 Moneyline
- NY Mets (-0.5, -120) F5 Spread
- San Diego Padres (+105) F5 Moneyline
- Seattle Mariners (+106) Game Moneyline
- Under 9 (-120), Phillies at Marlins
- Over 8 (-115), Red Sox at Padres
- Under 9.5 (-115), Blue Jays at Mariners
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 8/23
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.