Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/4: Fade J.A. Happ vs. Chirinos, Rays?
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: J.A. Happ
- 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 whether the Rays can start their home series against the Yankees with a win.
- Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.
The Yankees and Rays begin a four-game set in Tampa Bay on Thursday; it’s a series that will carry both teams into the All-Star break. The Yankees hold a 6.5 game lead over the Rays in the standings and own a 7-2 advantage in the 2019 head to head record, outscoring their rivals 52-25 in those nine games.
With a 27-7 divisional record, the Yankees have dismantled their AL East competition. But the Rays can re-assert themselves in this race by winning this weekend series.
The Yankees’ major league club isn’t the only team in their organization scoring runs at a record pace.
Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model
At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 2-1 against full-game moneylines and 4-0 against first-five innings moneylines (F5).
My plays went 5-1, and I finished up 1.93 units for the day.
It was a positive day in terms of generating Closing Line Value (CLV).
I gained 21 cents against the Reds F5 moneyline (-140 to -161) and a couple of pennies against the Astros moneyline (-131 to -133).
Though I lost 10 cents on the Mets-Yankees under, the Astros-Dodgers under and Reds-Brewers under each dropped by a full run, and the Cardinals-Mariners under dropped by a half run.
MLB Betting Model for Thursday, July 4
Today, the model recommends six full-game moneylines.
As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Blue Jays, Marlins, Rays, Reds, Padres, and Tigers as full-game plays.
Of those recommended plays I would steer clear of Luis Castillo and the Reds in particular. Castilo has been erratic in his past two starts against the Brewers on May 22 and June 22, allowing 10 runs, 10 hits, eight walks and three home runs over a combined 6.1 innings.
The Tigers could be a play for me with Matthew Boyd pitching. He’s developed into one of the best starters in the game. He ranks 13th in baseball with a 3.52 xFIP, striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings while walking fewer than 1.8 — good for a 6.45 K/BB ratio which is fifth-best in baseball.
Eric Lauer shows a big disagreement between his 3.98 FIP and 4.69 xFIP, and his 4.22 ERA splits the difference. With a 7% whiff rate, I’m hesitant to play him against Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers offense, but it’s one that I’ll consider — especially on the spread at around even money.
The Padres have the second-best wRC+ against lefties (134) since June 1 and rank ninth on the season (104 wRC+) vs. southpaws, but the Dodgers are always a difficult team to bet against.
The Blue Jays are always interesting with Marcus Stroman on the mound. Despite a 5-9 record, he has 11 quality starts in 18 outings and seems destined for the Astros or Yankees rotation before the trade deadline passes at the end of July.
Consider these next few starts his final audition for the potential World Series contenders.
The only moneyline play that I have made so far is on the Rays, who will be throwing Yonny Chirinos and his interesting arsenal.
The 25-year-old has a sinker (94 mph, 55%), slider (22%) and splitter (22%) and brings a bit of flair to the mound too:
It’s also arguable that J.A. Happ is on the decline at age-36:
His velocity is down 1.5 mph from 2017, and the average exit velocity against his pitches is a career-worst, at 89.2 mph.
He has allowed 20 home runs in 84.1 innings pitched on an 18% HR/FB rate, but a declining strikeout rate (down from 26% to 18.6%) has caused his FIP and xFIP to skyrocket from under 4.00 between 2017-18 to 5.51 and 4.95 respectively in 2019.
For comparison’s sake, Yonny Chirinos has a career 3.91 FIP and 4.10 xFIP.
The Rays have the better starter and should be favored on paper here, in my opinion.
Bets (So Far) for July 4
- Tampa Bay Rays (+103) Game Moneyline
- Under 10.5 (-115), Boston at Toronto
- Under 10.5 (-115), Philadelphia at Atlanta
- Under 10 (-115), Minnesota at Oakland
Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/4
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.