Today all 30 MLB teams are playing and there are 15 potential games to bet on. Today, however, we narrowed our bets down to three games that are a good opportunity at fair odds. We will stake the same amount on each game. Two out of three is the goal, with the hope of hitting all of them. As you will read below, many of these bets are about pitching matchups and some advantages that exist in each game:
Texas Rangers @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates win @ (1.74/-135)
The Pirates pick and others you will read about comes down to pitching. My philosophy with baseball betting is to focus on the pitching matchups to gain an edge. In this game, the Rangers are starting Shelby Miller, who has had a terrible recent stretch of games, giving up at least 4 runs in four out of his last five games. Ironically, his last start came against the Pirates where he gave up 4 runs and only recorded 10 outs. He has limited strikeout ability and the Pirates should be able to make decent contact off of him all day. He struggles in just about every area, walks, strikeouts, you name it. Not a trustable pitcher.
The Pirates will start Nick Kingham, who is not expected to pitch more than a few innings. After Kingham is done, the Pirates will have relief pitchers finish out the rest of the game. Using the bullpen the majority of a baseball game is always an interesting strategy, but it is one that is appealing for Pittsburgh as they have one of the better groups of relief pitchers in baseball. Going back to last season, they were ranked near the top in bullpen statistics. They are projected to continue this success into 2019. They now get to face a Rangers team that seems to have long win streaks and long losing streaks. The bottom line is, they are a very inconsistent hitting team to trust, and these odds are fair considering Pittsburgh has an edge being at home and with pitching in this one.
Philadelphia Phillies @ St. Louis Cardinals
Game Total Under 8.5 Runs @ (1.95/-105)
This game features two pitchers who have have some positive things going for them early on this year. While the Phillies are a talented group, Flaherty has the upside to do well against a strikeout-prone Phillies team who have ranked near the top of MLB in strikeouts last year and are in the top half this year. Flaherty has also seemed to have had something good happen at home every game this year:
Padres: 0 runs allowed through 5 innings
Dodgers: 1 run allowed through 6 innings
Brewers: 4 runs on only 3 hits (unlucky), but 10 strikeouts in 6 innings
Reds: 0 runs allowed through 7 innings
For the Phillies, Jerad Eickhoff gets the start and what’s most appealing about him is the effectiveness of his curveball. He faces a right-handed heavy Cardinals team who has struggled against curveballs (a pitch he throws 33% of the time). When viewing the chart below, anything under .320 wOBA is considered below average. Uninspiring numbers for St. Louis, and it’s worth mentioning how Eickhoff has only given up 5 runs in 22 innings pitched. Obviously, both teams are talented hitting but the odds are good value when taking these pitching statistics into consideration.
Kansas City Royals @ Houston Astros
Houston Astros -1.5 @ (1.80/-125)
Our final game is the Houston Astros to beat the Kansas City Royals by 2 or more runs. And our reason once again is pitching. Brad Peacock gets the start for the Astros and he has done pretty well this year. The Twins appear to have been the one team that has scored a lot against him, but it’s worth noting the Twins have very good left-handed hitters. With Peacock, historically he is very good against right-handed hitting and not as good versus left-handed hitting. The good news for him is he gets to face a Royals team with the majority of hitters being right-handed and a team that struggles against sliders, which Peacock throws 25% of. With the wOBA scale below, anything under 0.320 is not very good. The Royals simply cannot hit sliders, all under .300 wOBA
For the Royals, Jorge Lopez gets the start who has given up an average of 5.09 runs per 9 innings and has given up 16 runs in his last 24 innings pitched. Now he has to face one of the most dangerous hitting teams in baseball who are dominant at home. Simply, -1.5 is a good value here. I believe the fair odds reflect Peacock’s struggles at times during the year. I will believe in the numbers while trusting one of the best offenses in baseball. While the Royals crushed the Astros last night, this does not scare me away. Last week we saw the Royals score 15 runs and only 2 the next night, and the Astros scoring 0 runs and scoring 11 the next night. It’s baseball, and it is always a new day.