Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Sept. 5: Can White Sox Earn Series Split vs. Indians?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eloy Jimenez
- 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 White Sox at Indians (1:10 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 NFL season begins on Thursday evening, but that doesn’t mean that baseball season is over.
In fact, with public money hitting accounts and coming across the counter to engage with the NFL, the MLB market lends itself to softer numbers in September as casual bettors who wouldn’t usually bet on baseball look to get involved with some daytime and weekday action before getting back to their weekend football.
The NFL has 256 regular-season games, while MLB clears that nearly 10 times over with 2,430 matchups.
Why wait for Thursday night to sweat football wagers when there’s an entire day’s worth of baseball betting appetizers for your choosing?
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-3 against full-game moneylines and 2-3 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 5-2, and I finished up 1.76 units for the day.
It was a slightly positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 23 cents against the sides that I played, and finished even with the vig on the closing totals.
MLB Betting Model for Thursday, Sept. 5
Today, the model recommends six full-game moneylines and four moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Angels, Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners, Twins, and White Sox as full-game plays. The model also likes the Giants, Mariners, Twins, and White Sox as F5 plays.
But for an incredible catch by Oscar Mercado in the ninth inning on Wednesday, we likely would have cashed the White Sox moneyline at a significant number:
Wow. Can't even hate. That was insane. pic.twitter.com/h60g5R3VmT
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) September 5, 2019
But I’m ready to go right back to the well with the White Sox again on Saturday — and against a much less scary pitcher than Shane Bieber.
Zach Plesac comes into Thursday with a solid record (7-5) and sparkling ERA (3.61) in his rookie season — but the underlying metrics indicate looming regression: 5.26 FIP, 5.10 xFIP, 5.16 SIERA, .244 BABIP. 82.2% Strand Rate.
After posting a 27.7% strikeout minus walk rate at Triple-A earlier this season, Plesac has a K-BB% of 9.8% through 17 MLB starts, thanks to a below-average (9.2%) swinging strike rate.
Over his past 10 starts, including a six-run shellacking (in 0.2 IP) in his last outing against the Braves, Reynaldo Lopez has a 3.76 ERA and a 3.53 FIP (4.79 xFIP), with a strikeout minus walk rate of 13.8%, and a swinging strike rate of 12.4%.
His average fastball velocity in those starts is 96.7 mph, and his performance has tracked with improved velocity throughout the season:
Cleveland blew through its key relievers to secure Wednesday’s win — pulling Brad Hand for Nick Wittgren in the ninth inning after Hand ran into trouble.
Both were bailed out by the Mercado catch (above), but something is amiss with the Indians’ closer. Notice how Hand’s swinging strike rate has declined, and his FIP has spiked of late:
His velocity has held steady, but he has lost some movement on his slider. Here’s what Hand’s signature offering looks like at its best:
Brad Hand threw 20 pitches. 18 were sliders.
— MLB (@MLB) May 19, 2018
In August, Hand’s slider has averaged 7.4 inches of horizontal movement, and 0.97 inches of vertical movement. From March 2018 to July 2019, the slider averaged 8.6 inches of horizontal movement and 2.45 inches of vertical movement.
In other words, he’s getting significantly less depth on the pitch.
Here’s an example of a hanging slider that should have been crushed:
Notice where the catcher’s target is? Low and inside, intending for the slider to sweep across the bottom of the zone — but Hand keeps leaving these sliders up, with more regularity, as of late:
For some of the other model recommended plays, I have compelling reasons to go against them.
The Astros remain historically excellent against left-handed pitching, with a 133 wRC+ that easily ranks as the best amongst any offense since 2002 — so I’m not eager to play the Mariners; even with the very underrated Marco Gonzales on the mound.
The Athletics also continue to beat left-handed pitching, as they are now 42-21-2 (66.6%) on the first five innings spread dating back to July 1, 2018; with an even better record on the full game moneyline.
I’ll likely be looking to play the Athletics once again, vs. lefty starter Jose Suarez, despite my number.
Martin Perez was extremely useful for the Twins through mid-July (4.10 ERA, 3.79 FIP), but his eight starts since then have been abysmal (6.86 ERA, 6.54 FIP) as the effectiveness of his arsenal-altering cutter has waned.
I would love to back the Twins in Boston, but Nathan Eovaldi looks to be improving, and Perez is a tough pitcher to put your money behind right now.
Bets (so far) for Sept. 5
- Chicago White Sox (+183) Game Moneyline (1 unit)
- San Francisco Giants (+161) Game Moneyline
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 9/5
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.