Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/20: Can Diamondbacks, Greinke, Pass the Brewers in Wild Card Hunt?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke
- 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 Saturday's slate of games, including how to bet Twins-A's (7:10 p.m. ET) and Diamondbacks-Brewers (8:10 pm. ET).
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
Just 10 days out from the unitary July 31 trading deadline, the Arizona Diamondbacks stand at 50-48 with a +71 run differential, the second-best scoring differential in the National League.
With a win on Saturday, the Diamondbacks will pass the Brewers (51-48) in the wild card standings, and they could have hold of an NL wild-card spot by the end of the weekend with a series win over Milwaukee.
To get there, they’ll need a big start from Zack Greinke on Saturday.
On Friday, Mike Leake nearly recorded the 24th perfect game in MLB history, setting down the first 24 batters that he faced. Although he didn’t quite get there, Leake did settle for a Maddux, finishing with the following line:
- 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 98 pitches
Before that, Leake faced the Angels on July 12, when they threw a combined no-hitter. Leake’s line on that night?
- 0.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 47 pitches
The two games involved a one-hitter and a no-hitter, with the losing side failing to score a run in either contest. And yet both games went over their totals.
Baseball is an exceedingly strange sport, and once the ball is in flight virtually anything can happen. That’s why strikeouts and walks are so crucial.
Take the Mets loss on Friday night, for example:
Betting on the Mets in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/rOjDVXz1LU
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) July 20, 2019
Ok, to be fair, that’s only something that the Mets do:
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 3-2 against full-game moneylines and 1-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 7-1, and I finished up 3.51 units for the day.
It was a mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 12 cents overall against the moneylines that I played, netting as much as 18 cents against the Giants moneyline (+173 to +155) but losing 13 cents on the Padres moneyline (+140 to +153)
Totals were also a mixed bag. The over I played in the Toronto-Detroit matchup increased from 9.5 to 10, but the under 11 that I played in Minnesota also climbed by one-half of a run.
MLB Betting Model for Saturday, July 20
Today, the model recommends five full-game moneyline and three moneylines for the first five-innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Rangers and Rockies as full-game plays. The model also likes the Marlins and Orioles in addition to the Royals and Twins as F5 plays.
The Diamondbacks also narrowly missed the cut in both halves, but I ended up playing them on the F5 and full-game moneylines.
Zack Greinke has the lowest walk rate of his career in 2019 (3.3%) and is second in MLB only behind Hyun-Jin Ryu (3.0%). By strikeout-to-walk ratio, Greinke (7.13) ranks behind only Ryu (8.00) and Max Scherzer (7.87).
As a cerebral pitcher who obsesses over his FIP more so than probably any other baseball player, Greinke has to like that his rolling FIP is back in 2015 territory, when he led MLB with a 1.66 ERA prior to signing with Arizona:
Greinke does this with an average fastball below 90 mph because he is a junk merchant.
He completely adjusts his approach based upon the game situation and regularly adds and subtracts to his pitches in order to mess with their timing.
Zack Greinke, Nice 69mph Slow Curveball. pic.twitter.com/XB9LMgA5tW
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 15, 2019
Per the article linked above, Greinke has “already thrown 15 fastballs slower than his average changeup velocity this year.”
He’s also incredibly consistent, posting quality starts in 15 of his 20 outings while pitching six innings or more in 18 of those starts.
Based upon their run differential, the Diamondbacks have an expected record of 56-42. They have power and speed offensively and play the best team defense in the National League.
With the ability to throw Greinke in a wild card scenario, the Diamondbacks are a team that should be looking to add at the trading deadline, as they did when they acquired J.D. Martinez in 2017.
The Giants were a model pick when I played their moneyline at -120, and while I don’t see much value in their current number (-140), I would note a few things:
- The Mets emptied their bullpen in a 16-inning loss to the Giants on Thursday.
- They suffered another heartbreaking extra-innings defeat on Friday.
- On Saturday, they’re starting Rule 5 pick Walker Lockett, who has allowed a .375 xwOBA over the past two seasons.
- Sunday’s starter, Steven Matz, has pitched a combined 11 innings over his past five starts.
The Mets cannot afford a short outing from Lockett on Saturday, but he doesn’t inspire much confidence either (career 6.76 FIP). They’ll likely push him to eat innings no matter the score, and I wouldn’t expect a quick hook if he gets into early trouble.
Furthermore, Jeff Samardzija is on a run of three straight quality starts for the red-hot Giants, who have incredibly gotten back to .500 at 49-49 due to a 13-2 July.
Lastly, I played the Twins on the F5 moneyline against the Athletics. The Twins were the best F5 team in baseball through May (34-15-4, +$1,354) but have been one of the least profitable F5 teams since then (14-18-8, -$699).
However, they have crushed left-handed pitching all season long, ranking second vs. lefties with a 123 wRC+. Oakland ranks third vs. lefties with a 116 wRC+.
The A’s are closer to league average against right-handed pitching (101 wrC+, 12th), and as I discussed on July 14 I think that Jose Berrios is trending in the right direction across the board.
Bets (So Far) for July 20
- Arizona Diamondbacks (-140) F5 Moneyline (Risk 1U)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (-135) Game Moneyline
- Minnesota Twins (-137) F5 Moneyline
- San Francisco Giants (-119) Game Moneyline
- Under 11 (-120), Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
- Under 12 (-115), Boston at Baltimore
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/20
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.