Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, Aug. 15: Back Plutko, Indians in Bronx vs. Yankees?
Jordan Johnson, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Adam Plutko
- 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 Dodgers-Marlins (3:05 p.m. ET) and Indians-Yankees (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 New York Yankees (81-41) and Cleveland Indians (72-49) begin a four-game set in the Bronx on Thursday, in what could be a preview of an AL Division Series matchup.
Though Cleveland just dropped two straight games to the Red Sox, no team has played better baseball over the past few months — as the Indians own a 44-19 record and +103 run differential since the beginning of June.
The Tribe has managed this run without two of their best pitchers, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, who will both face minor league batters this week.
Until they return to bolster this pitching staff, can rotation fillers like Adam Plutko keep this team afloat in the AL Central?
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-4 against full-game moneylines and 1-2-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).
My plays went 0-7-2, and I finished down 3.60 units for the day; my worst betting day in months.
It was a mixed day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I finished relatively neutral on the sides that I played, gaining as much as 26 cents against the Royals F5 moneyline (+131 to +106) while losing 21 cents against the Marlins spread (+140 to +161).
I did, however, gain over a combined 60 cents of line value on the two sides of the parlay that I played.
The Yankees-Orioles under moved my way my half of a run, while the Astros-White Sox under moved against me by the same amount.
MLB Betting Model for Thursday, August 15
Today, the model recommends two full-game moneylines and one moneyline for the first five innings (F5).
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Indians and Marlins as full-game plays. The model also likes the Marlins as an F5 play.
The Marlins have lost the first two games of their series against the Dodgers by a combined score of 24-2. Naturally, they will be in a contrarian spot against an elite team for the third consecutive day:
I mentioned this system and made this same play on the Marlins on Wednesday, and I’ll continue to ride this spot here with Miami sending out their best pitcher, in Caleb Smith.
After returning from left-hip inflammation on July 6, Smith has maintained a healthy strikeout rate (26.3%, 3% below his 2019 average) but his fastball velocity has steadily declined throughout this season and he has allowed significantly more hard contact in his recent starts, causing his xFIP to surge:
It’s worth noting that Walker Buehler has been significantly better at home (.223 wOBA, 6 BB, 94 K in 73.1 IP) than on the road (.304 wOBA, 16 BB, 66 K in 64 IP) which is a trend that has carried over from 2018, when his wOBA was 40 points lower at home.
As for the Indians-Yankees matchup, Cleveland will need to overcome the Yankees on a bullpen day, as they are (+$617, 56.1% ROI) when Chad Green serves as an opener; winning by an average margin of 2.73 runs.
Adam Plutko’s metrics don’t inspire confidence, with his 4.66 ERA the beneficiary of some luck (.254 BABIP), giving him a 5.96 FIP and 5.74 XFIP.
Amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 60 innings this season, Plutko’s strikeout rate (14.5%) ranks as the seventh-lowest, comparable to Ivan Nova.
However, amongst that same group of pitchers, Plutko also has the sixth-lowest walk rate (3.7%) placing him ahead of Zack Greinke and Miles Mikolas, and just behind Hyun-Jin Ryu.
What’s more, and this is a bit serendipitous as it was something I discovered well into writing – Plutko has the lowest ground-ball rate (28.6%) amongst those same group of pitchers – just ahead of Marlins starter Caleb Smith (29.1%).
The pair ranks fourth and fifth respectively in fly-ball rate amongst pitchers who have thrown 60 innings or more in 2019.
Per FanGraphs, the Indians have the best defensive team in the American League and are second only to the Diamondbacks in all of MLB.
Plutko is the opposite of a three true outcomes pitcher, and though he has allowed a bunch of home runs (39) through his first 145.2 MLB innings, he pitches for a team that is most capable of maximizing his value.
If you’ve got an ironclad stomach, this matchup also sets up for a contrarian under between two winning clubs:
I have this total projected for 9.7 runs, and with the wind blowing in from right field I was happy to play under 11.
Bets (So Far) for August 15
- Cleveland Indians (+147) Game Moneyline
- Miami Marlins, +1.5 (+135) Game Spread
- Over 9 (-115), Seattle at Detroit
- Under 11 (-115), Cleveland at NY Yankees
- Under 10 (-115), Houston at Oakland
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 8/15
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.