Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 8/2: Can Pirates Play Spoiler to Mets’ Playoff Hopes?
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches at PNC Park.
- 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 Mets-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 Mets (53-55) and Pirates (47-61) begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday. Last weekend, the Mets swept the Pirates at home and they haven’t lost since, coming into tonight’s game on a seven-game winning streak with an outside chance at capturing a wild card.
Though the Mets are still in the playoff race, and the Pirates are looking ahead to 2020, there isn’t too much of a gap in true talent level between these two clubs, and the Pirates should still be favored at home here.
The Mets were installed as a -125 road favorite by oddsmakers, and despite taking over 70% of the moneyline tickets the Mets are now down to -110; indicating that some sharp money is on the Pirates tonight.
Before we get to today’s games, here’s a good baseball dog!
JUST LET THE GOOD DOGGO HAVE THE HOT DOG YOU MONSTER! pic.twitter.com/WcgcKFT4RR
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 2, 2019
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-4 against full-game moneylines and 1-3 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 2-5, and I finished down 1.53 units for the day.
It was a very positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 46 cents overall against the sides that I played, only losing six cents against the Reds closing number (+153 to +159).
The Reds-Braves game was rained out in the top of the seventh inning, so you will need to check the rules of your local book to see how your tickets for the game were graded.
MLB Betting Model for Friday, August 2
Today, the model recommends four full-game moneylines, and four moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Mariners, Pirates, Reds, and Tigers as full-game plays. The model also likes the same teams as F5 plays.
Of those potential plays, I have only selected the Pirates thus far, though I am still considering the Reds and Tigers.
I have harped on the Rangers and their struggles against left-handed pitching (87 wRC+, 24th) in 2019, and I see some potential in Tigers prospect Tyler Alexander.
The lefty has a good sinking fastball and complementary changeup, and an average slider to go with those pitches. He also has good command, but through his first four seasons of minor league baseball, he had failed to achieve a strikeout rate higher than 7.8 K/9 at any level.
In 2019, Alexander broke out with a 94:18 strikeout to walk ratio at Triple-A (10.0 K/9):
Tyler Alexander won International Pitcher of the week! He struck out 12 hitters in 7 IP allowing 1 R! I predict Alexander heads to the BP in his future, but I think he could carve out a Hardy type role. He has the stuff, but doesn’t have the consistency to be an MLB starter yet. pic.twitter.com/IL6lKtnOn5
— TigersProspectsVideo (@ProspectsVideo) June 26, 2019
And he has carried that form over into his three big league starts, with 14 strikeouts against two walks in 16.1 IP; recording nine of his 13 outs by strikeout in his last start against Seattle.
However, after taking two out of three games against the Angels, the Tigers finished June and July with a combined 10-40 record, and a -104 run differential — so is this really a team that you want to back?
I also saw some value on the over in that game, but I will be staying away from that too. As you can imagine, unders are profitable wagers when the wind is at the pitcher’s back:
The venue where that system is most profitable: Globe Life Park in Arlington (140-110-14, 58.3%, +32 units, 12.8% ROI).
I definitely will not be playing Yusei Kikuchi and the Mariners against the Astros, despite the projected line value and the Mariners fitting a few profitable contrarian moneyline systems.
Dating back to 2002, the 2019 Astros own the best wRC+ (135) against left-handed pitching of any individual team season. Behind them are two steroid-era teams, the 2002 Dodgers and the 2003 Giants (with Barry freaking Bonds).
The Pirates are quite the opposite as a team, with a 73 wRC+ vs. southpaws that ranks as the eighth-worst team season since 2002.
It’s a bit surprising — the Pirates are not left-handed heavy (they bat seven righty or switch bats against southpaw starters) and they rank 10th, with a 103 wRC+ against righties. But their K-BB% jumps from 11.6% vs. righties to 18.7% against lefties, as they walk a league-low 4.7% of the time against southpaws.
Their best hitter, the switch-hitting Josh Bell, has been more potent against righties (152 wRC+) than lefties (102 wRC+) both in 2019 and for his career (124 vs. RHP; 98 vs. LHP).
The Mets have hit lefties well (114 wRC+, fifth) but they have been subpar against righties (96 wRC+, 15th) and will get one today in Trevor Williams. Williams is having a down 2019 (4.57 FIP, 4.79 xFIP) following a breakout 2018 (3.11 ERA, 3.86 FIP) but his 2019 metrics are still comparable to those of Steven Matz (4.88 FIP, 4.45 xFIP).
Matz has had a below-average swinging strike rate for his entire career (9%) and it has held steady in 2019. His 55% first-pitch strike rate is also less than desirable.
Williams has improved both marks from 2018 to 65.7% and 10.9%, respective gains of 5.1% and 3%. His velocity has also increased by nearly one full mph.
He has thrown his slider 19% of the time this season but in his past six starts he has bumped that usage to 25%, further increasing his swinging strike rate to 12.2% in the process:
Williams doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but he does have the ability to locate it consistently in order to let his slider and changeup play off of it.
This is the result:
Trevor Williams, 91mph Fastball and 82mph Slider, Overlay/Slow pic.twitter.com/R29gYlu3lA
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 22, 2018
Bets (So Far) for August 2
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+102) Game Moneyline
- Under 10.5 (-115), Red Sox at Yankees
- Under 11 (-115), Royals at Twins
- Under 10 (-110), Mariners at Astros
- Under 8.5 (+100), Padres at Dodgers
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 8/2
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.