Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/27: Value on Astros-Cardinals Over/Under?
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports. Gerrit Cole
- 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 Astros-Cardinals.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
Editor’s note: Since publishing, the Nationals announced they will be starting Matt Grace instead of Joe Ross, resulting in all previous Dodgers-Nationals bets being graded as no action.
Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.84 ERA) takes the mound today as the Dodgers (68-37) look to clinch a series win over the Nationals (55-48).
While the Dodgers are 14.5 games clear in their division, the Nationals are within striking distance ( 5.5 games) of the Braves in the NL East and are tied with the Cubs for the two NL Wild Card spots — each just one game clear of Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
At this point, the playoff intensity is beginning to ramp up, as these are crucial games for teams like the Nationals when they are fighting with the bigger kids just to stay in contention.
Before we get to that, I need to leave a potential candidate for “Play of the Year” below:
If only we could all look this smooth when we’re doing our job:
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 1-1 against full-game moneylines and 0-3 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 4-3, and I finished up 0.91 units for the day, as the Orioles line was released late, but was flagged by the model if you had plugged these odds into your spreadsheet.
I’ll likely be looking to bet him again on Wednesday when the Orioles host Toronto.
It was a mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I lost big value on the White Sox moneyline (+141 to +167), and that was the wrong side. I rarely miss that bad on a game, but I think I mostly mistimed the market — the Twins are a very public side this season and the public is more heavily involved in the markets on Friday nights.
Everything else was positive. The Orioles (+182 to +170), Royals F5 (+110 to -103) and Cardinals F5 (+100 to -112) moneylines each moved my way and the A’s-Rangers under dropped from 9.0 to 8.5.
MLB Betting Model for Saturday, July 27
Today, the model recommends one full-game moneyline and two moneylines for the first five-innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Dodgers as a full-game play. The model also likes the Cardinals and Dodgers as F5 plays.
I’m not betting against Gerrit Cole and his MLB leading 2.56 xFIP. Daniel Ponce de Leon has a great fastball to whiff batters high in the zone, but I don’t think he has enough secondary stuff to get through this Astros lineup unscathed.
As for the Dodgers, I think they look like an obvious public team on Saturday, and normally would be a team that I would look to fade, but I see pretty obvious value on a leading World Series contender that is rounding into peak form.
The Dodgers offense has a 113 wRC+ on the season — +117 vs. right-handed pitchers and +103 vs. southpaws (ninth). Since A.J. Pollock returned to their lineup on July 12, the Dodgers have a 140 wrC+ vs. right-handed pitching, with a ridiculous 13.5% walk rate (next highest is 10.8%).
Their lineup now goes eight deep with former or future All-Stars, including outfielder Alex Verdugo who is one of the less-heralded young stars in the game.
The 23-year-old outfielder has already generated 2.3 WAR in his rookie season, hitting 18% better than league average with good defense.
With Pollock back in the fold, it pushes Verdugo to a corner, giving the Dodgers a terrific defensive outfield:
Facing a lineup containing five lefties and multiple All-Stars in Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, A.J. Pollock and Corey Seager, I think this is as bad of a matchup as possible for Ross.
The Dodgers are likely going to spit at his slider, work deep counts to draw walks and get into this Nationals bullpen early. I have the Dodgers projected for six runs tonight, and gladly played their team total over 5.5 runs.
The Nationals certainly have more success against left-handed pitching (113 wRC+, sixth) than against righties (91 wRC+, 20th), so maybe the over is the way to go in this matchup, but how can you not back Clayton Kershaw at a shorter price than he should be?
For his career, Kershaw is 204-97 (67.8%, +17.6 units, 6% ROI) as a moneyline favorite, and he’s been profitable in every which way — on the road, at home and against both divisional and non-divisional opponents.
You might think that he has declined in recent seasons, and though you’d be right that his performance metrics have dipped slightly, the Dodgers have improved overall as a team. Since 2016 Kershaw is 69-22 against the spread (76%, +11 units, 12% ROI).
Against the F5 spread, Kershaw has been profitable in only this type of situation — as a favorite in a non-divisional road game.
Kershaw is 30-17 (63.8%, +6.5 units, 14.5% ROI) in such situations, and I obviously expect run support to come early against Ross.
Bets (So Far) for July 27
- LA Dodgers (-0.5, -120) F5 Spread
- LA Dodgers (-1.5, -110) Game Spread
- LA Dodgers (Over 5.5, -110) Team Total
- Philadelphia Phillies (+118) Game Moneyline
- Twins / White Sox, Under 11 (-120)
- Yankees / Red Sox, Under 12 (-120)
- Astros / Cardinals, Under 8.5 (-120)
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/27
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.