Zerillo’s MLB Daily Betting Model, 7/25: Choosing a Pair of Sox vs. Twins, Yankees

Credit:

Steve Flynn, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Masahiro Tanaka

  • 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 Yankees-Red Sox.
  • Plug in your odds to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this article to see where you might have an edge.

Tonight features a short slate with just nine games on the board, but we do get to see the Yankees and Red Sox square off for the first of eight games between the two clubs over the next two weekends (including a doubleheader on August 3).

The Red Sox are 11 games back of the Yankees in the AL East and have about a 1% chance to win the division, but these games are still crucial if they hope to catch Cleveland, Oakland or Tampa Bay (who has a cake schedule in August) for a wild-card spot.

Recapping Yesterday’s MLB Model

At writing yesterday, the model would have gone 4-5 against full-game moneylines and 2-4-1 against moneylines for the first five innings (F5).

My plays went 6-5, and I finished up 1.47 units for the day.

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

I gained 21 cents overall against the seven sides that I played, and only one total moved off of my number — as the Angels-Dodgers under increased from 9.5 to 10.0.

MLB Betting Model for Thursday, July 25

All odds as of Thursday afternoon (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 two full-game moneylines and one moneyline for the first five-innings (F5).

As of writing, the 3.5% trigger threshold officially marked the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox as full-game plays. The model also likes the White Sox as an F5 play.

Let’s start off with two blind pitcher resumes, as I have written about one of these two starting pitchers a few times in recent weeks:

  • Pitcher A: 2.96 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 4.46 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA, 10.4% SwStr%, .303 xWOBA
  • Pitcher B: 3.12 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.91 xFIP, 3.89 SIERA, 14.3% SwStr%, .272 xwOBA

Pitcher B in a landslide, right?

If so, you have selected Lucas Giolito over Jose Berrios, and I too am surprised as to how much Giolito has outperformed his AL Central rival this season.

Amongst pitchers with a minimum of 250 batters faced this season, Giolito ranks 10th in xWOBA – just behind Hyun-Jin Ryu (.266), Jacob deGrom (.268) and Walker Buehler (.269).

Though Giolito’s first-pitch strike rate is up over 5% from last season, it’s still 1% below his average from 2017, when he recorded a 12.3% strikeout minus walk rate.

After an abysmal 2018 season (4.5%), Giolito has increased that crucial metric to 20.8% (14th in MLB), but I don’t think his command is better – he’s just finding a way to generate more whiffs:

Giolito’s 14.4% swinging strike rate ranks 6th amongst qualified pitchers, just behind deGrom (15.1%) and ahead of Shane Bieber (14.4%) and Chris Sale (14.3%).

Batters are swinging at his pitches just as frequently as they did in 2017, but making contact just 70.6% of the time – a 10% decrease from each of the past two seasons:

He stopped using his two-seam fastball this season, which he used 20% of the time in 2018 and has started throwing more four-seam fastballs and changeups – going to the offspeed pitch a career-high 24% of the time.

It doesn’t hurt that Giolito also added two mph to his average fastball velocity, leading his fastball and changeup to a combined value of +22.9 this season – behind only Hyun-Jin Ryu (+24.1) and Mike Minor (+23.5).

You can watch Giolito alternate between using the fastball and changeup for strikeouts below:

The Yankees (119 wRC+, 1st) and the Red Sox (113 wRC+, 5th) both crush right-handed pitching, so the Yankees could be in store for another shootout-laden series up in Boston this weekend — after they just combined with the Twins for 57 runs in a three-game set.

The Yankees needed 16 innings out of their bullpen in that series, and Aroldis Chapman has pitched the past two days, so he will likely be unavailable on Thursday.

Neither Masahiro Tanaka (6.46 FIP, 5.26 xFIP, 6 BB, 14 K, 7 HR allowed) nor Rick Porcello (6.52 FIP, 6.13 xFIP, 7 BB, 13 K, 6 HR allowed) have shown much in their past five outings, and each was already shelled in the London Series by their respective opponent.

Even if this game sets up for a super contrarian under, I’m probably done playing unders against the Yankees offense this season when they are guaranteed nine innings to score.

The under is 49-67-4 (-21 units) in games involving the Bronx Bombers in 2019, and it’s 15-38-2 (-24 units) when they’re on the road, with an average margin of -2.42 runs.

I do show the Red Sox as a small (52%) home favorite and think there is definitely value on them at plus-money tonight, particularly with the Yankees bullpen coming in a little banged up. 

Bets (So Far) for July 25

  • Boston Red Sox (+107) Game Moneyline
  • Chicago White Sox (+135) Game Moneyline

Stay tuned on Twitter or follow me in The Action Network App for my entire betting card for Thursday, July 25.

Zerillo’s Full MLB Model, 7/25

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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