MLB Expert Predictions for Friday Night: 5 Favorite Bets, Featuring Rockies-Dodgers

MLB Expert Predictions for Friday Night: 5 Favorite Bets, Featuring Rockies-Dodgers article feature image

Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: German Marquez

  • We've got 14 MLB games on tap for Friday evening.
  • Our MLB experts examine their five favorite bets of the night, including the Rockies at Dodgers.

Danny Donahue: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.36 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (3-7, 3.49 ERA)

  • Blue Jays Moneyline: +304
  • Red Sox Moneyline: -350
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

The Red Sox are -300 or higher for the 11th time this season, and their current number is the seventh-highest moneyline they’ve had. While that’s generally a very good sign of a team coming away with a win, I certainly don’t recommend venturing into the -300s to take a favorite.

What I’d recommend instead is taking a look at the under.

Since the home team is a near sure thing to win this game, there’s a high likelihood that the bottom of the ninth won’t be played. That means we should see only 17 offensive chances as opposed to 18, leading to value on the under (the same is true for the over in games with big visiting favorites).

Since 2005, in games where the home team was listed -300 or higher and the total didn’t rise (an attempt to weed out any sharp overs), the under has gone 80-65-4 (55.2%) for 10.9 units and a 7.8% return on investment.

When the total was 8.5 or lower, as it is here, that record improves to 58-39-1 (59.8%), winning 17.1 units for a 17.4% ROI.

The PICK: Under 8.5

Josh Appelbaum: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics

Andrew Kittredge (0-0, 5.39 ERA) vs. Tanner Anderson (0-1, 3.27 ERA)

  • Rays Moneyline: -109
  • Athletics Moneyline: +101
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 10:07 p.m. ET

The Rays suffered a heartbreaking defeat in last night’s series opener, taking a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th only to cough it up in agonizing fashion and lose 5-4. Public bettors don’t know which way to go in tonight’s Game 2, but sharps have taken a clear position. They like Tampa to bounce back and extract some revenge.

This game opened with Oakland listed as a short -115 home favorite. Bets are split right down the middle, yet we’ve seen the line completely flip toward Tampa (+105 to -109) thanks to 92% of money backing the Rays.

Pro bettors steamed the Rays as soon as this line opened, and we haven’t seen any conflicting signals on the Athletics. Non-division road favorites (like Tampa tonight) have been a big moneymaker for wiseguys this season, going 140-88 (61.4%), winning +16.20 units.

The home plate umpire also favors the Rays, as home teams have lost -19.73 units when Mark Wegner calls balls and strikes.

The PICK: Rays -109

Stuckey: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Dallas Keuchel (–) vs. Stephen Strasburgh (7-4, 3.75 ERA)

  • Braves Moneyline: +140
  • Nationals Moneyline: -150
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET on MASN

Tonight in our nation’s capital, Dallas Keuchel will make his long-awaited season debut for the Braves, who recently acquired the ex-Astro to bolster their staff. He will face right-hander Stephen Strasburg in what look likes a spectacular pitching matchup on paper.

But I have questions marks surrounding both starters.

Let’s start with Keuchel, who I just don’t think you can expect to be in peak midseason form tonight in his first MLB start of the year. Yes, he just pitched seven innings of three-run ball in his most recent minor-league tune-up, but he allowed 11 hits to a Double-A squad.

Facing the Nationals will be a major step up in class, especially against a fully confident Nationals offense that can mash lefties. Washington ranks fifth in the majors in OPS against southpaws.

Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, will have to face a scolding Atlanta offense that has scored just under 7.5 runs per game in 18 games in June. The Braves are 14-4 in those 18 games this month and have scored seven or more runs in 12 of those 18 contests. The Braves’ dangerous offense can hit everyone, but it’s worth noting that they do rank in the top five in MLB in OPS against righties.

Strasburg has obviously enjoyed plenty of success on the mound in his career but the Braves have consistently given him problems. He owns an impressive 3.18 career ERA but that number drops to 2.82 if you remove 31 career starts against Atlanta.

I’m willing to back the over at 9 since I make it 9.5.

The PICK: Braves-Nationals Over 9

Mark Gallant: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox

Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.36 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (3-7, 3.49 ERA)

  • Blue Jays Moneyline: +304
  • Red Sox Moneyline: -350
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

I have this very simple system in Bet Labs. I was warned not to tell anyone about it because it’s so good, yet so simple. I basically pulled a Nic Cage and found the National Treasure, but instead of using the Declaration of Independence and other old fashioned stuff, I used Bet Labs. There’s legitimately one filter used and the fade button checked off.

Here’s what it is… don’t tell your friends.

Fade teams with a -300 or higher moneyline by taking the dog on the run line. That’s it.

With the BoSox at -350 tonight, it’s time to take the Jays at +1.5 (+155). That’s still a lovely plus-money payout and they don’t even have to win. This system has nearly 200 games under its belt with an ROI of 13.4%.

The PICK: Blue Jays +1.5 (+155)

Collin Wilson: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

Martin Perez (7-3, 4.09 ERA) vs. Jakob Junis (4-6, 5.34 ERA)

  • Twins Moneyline: -160
  • Royals Moneyline: +150
  • Over/Under: 10.5
  • First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET

Coming straight from the barbeque capital of the world comes umpire Marty Foster. Kansas City will play host to the mighty Twins with Foster calling balls and strikes. Foster brings an under trend of 226-192, a 54.1% clip netting 20.66 units. His runs per game come in at an average of 9, which is much lower than tonight’s 10.5.

While lefty Martin Perez has been on a downward spiral the last month, his strikeout ratio has not suffered. Perez struck out seven Royals in 6.1 innings earlier this season. Kansas City is 28th in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties, which should limit the runs in this game.

On the flip side, Jakob Junis allowed just two runs in his last outing against the Twins. Minnesota was able to get two solo shots out on Junis, who will again try to dodge a Twins team that leads the league in flyball percentage. Look for spacious Kauffman Stadium to supply an under home win so umpire Marty Foster can get Joe’s and QC39 barbeque takeout before they close.

The PICK: Under 10.5

Matt LaMarca: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

German Marquez (7-3, 4.57 ERA) vs. Walker Buehler (7-1, 3.06 ERA)

  • Rockies Moneyline: +175
  • Dodgers Moneyline: -190
  • Over/Under: 7
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

Today’s showdown between the Rockies and Dodgers features two of the more underrated pitchers in baseball. Both pitchers should also benefit from the game being played in Los Angeles.

Buehler has been solid to begin the year, pitching to a 3.06 ERA and 2.90 FIP. He should be able to take full advantage of a Rockies offense that has been brutal when playing away from Coors this season. They rank just 28th in wRC+ vs. right-handers when playing on the road, and they’ve averaged nearly 2.25 fewer runs per game when away from home this season.

While the Rockies offense has struggled on the road, Marquez has been at his best. He’s pitched to a 3.04 FIP in that situation, which is drastically lower than his 4.23 FIP when pitching at Coors.

Add it all up, and runs should be at a premium in this game. I’d prefer to grab this line at 7.5 — which is what it opened at across the industry — but I’m willing to play it at 7 as well.

The PICK: Under 7.0 runs (+100)

Picks Summary

  • Donahue: Under 8.5 in Blue Jays-Red Sox
  • Appelbaum: Rays -109 at Athletics
  • Stuckey: Over 9 in Braves-Nationals
  • Gallant: Blue Jays +1.5 (+155) at Red Sox
  • Wilson: Under 10.5 in Twins-Royals
  • LaMarca: Under 7 in Rockies-Dodgers

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