Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/18: Back Bauer or Boyd in Indians-Tigers?

Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/18: Back Bauer or Boyd in Indians-Tigers? article feature image

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Trevor Bauer

  • 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 Thursday's slate of games, including how to bet Rays-Yankees (3:00 p.m. ET) and Indians-Tigers (7:10 pm. ET).
  • Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.

A couple of potential 28-year-old trade targets will take the mound in Cleveland tonight, as Matthew Boyd and Trevor Bauer square off.

Bauer certainly has a louder personality and is more of a household name. Boyd is arguably having the better season, should have made the All-Star Game and is the pitcher who I would prefer to have on my team for a playoff stretch run and beyond.

Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model

At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-2 against full-game moneylines and 0-2 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).

My plays went 2-4, and I finished down 1.33 units for the day.

It was a mostly positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).

I gained 34 cents overall against the three moneylines that I played and mostly finished neutral on totals.

MLB Betting Model for Thursday, July 18

All odds as of Thursday morning (view live MLB odds). Stay tuned on Twitter or follow me in The Action Network App for my entire betting card for Thursday. 

Today, the model recommends one full-game moneyline and one moneyline for the first five-innings (F5).

As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays (in Game 1 vs. Yankees) as both full-game plays and as F5 plays.

Let’s break down the two starting pitchers in the Detroit-Cleveland matchup, Boyd vs. Bauer:

To me, Boyd is the better pitcher right now, and it’s not even particularly close.

Bauer had a K-BB% between 12.1% and 12.5% each year from 2014-16, before increasing that mark to 18.2% in 2017 and 22.9% in 2018. He’s now seeing that regress toward 18% this season.

Virtually all of his metrics have regressed toward his 2017 season (keeping slight gains), and his 3.65 ERA this season has been bolstered by a .268 BABIP (career .297).

Bauer was dominant in 2018 (2.44 FIP, 3.14xFIP), but that year looks like an obvious outlier among his career numbers. His xwOBA was in the top 8% of baseball in 2018 and has never been lower than .315 (slightly better than league average) in any other season.

He’s getting ahead of hitters less often, with a 58% first-pitch strike rate in 2019 (59% career), after a career-best 64% in 2018.

Comparatively, Matthew Boyd is getting first-pitch strikes more frequently than ever before (64.5%, up from 60.7% career), and he’s also getting hitters to chase at pitches outside of the zone more often; raising his swinging strike rate to an excellent 14%.

All metrics are trending in the right direction for the Tigers’ southpaw:

His ERA has also been inflated slightly due to a 16% HR/FB rate, but Boyd has had homer problems in the past, and his 1.50 HR/9 mark tracks wells with his career number (1.54 HR/9)

Boyd ranks fifth among starting pitchers with a 6.33 K/BB ratio, and fourth in K-BB% — and he is the trade deadline pitching target who I would prefer to have for my organization over Bauer.

The Tigers are 7-12 on the full-game moneyline when Boyd starts this season, but 7-9-3 on the F5 moneyline.

Considering that Cleveland ranks first in MLB in bullpen ERA (3.34) with a 3.35 K/BB ratio, while Detroit ranks 25th in ERA (5.02) with a 1.96 K/BB ratio, I’ll only be looking to back Boyd and the Tigers in the first half.

I have the Tigers’ projected F5 win probability (45.5%) more than 4% higher than the full-game.

I’m also going to continue to back Wade Miley when he pitches for the Astros. Instead of laying big juice, I’m playing the game spread closer to even money on Thursday.

Since the beginning of 2018 Miley is 22-13 (62.9%, +$909, 26% ROI) against the spread overall, but 13-7 as a favorite (+$799, 40% ROI), and 10-3 in 2019 with the Astros.

Lastly, though I show value on the Rays in the first game of their doubleheader today vs. the Yankees, doubleheaders are a unique circumstance and I’m unsure as to whether I’m going to play the line value in Game 1, or sit back to see if there is value on Charlie Morton and the Rays in Game 2.

You should read this piece from my Action Network colleague John Ewing, on the optimal approach for betting doubleheaders.

Bets (So Far) for July 18

  • Astros (-1.5, -105) Game Spread
  • Detroit Tigers (+165) F5 Moneyline
  • Over 7 (-120), Mets at Giants

Stay tuned on Twitter or follow me in The Action Network App for my entire betting card for Thursday, July 18.

Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/18

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.

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