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April 22, 2019 MLB Betting Trends, Sharp Plays & More

  • April 22, 2019
  • by admin

With the postponement of the game in Boston, we’re looking at a nine-game slate.

Pittsburgh and Houston look to be the best bets on the board now that the Red Sox are out of play, but I’ve included some notes and observations on all the games for those already leaning one way and looking for some confirmation bias.

Tigers (9-10) Red Sox (8-13)

Moneyline DET +185 BOS -207

Total 7.5

Run Line DET +1.5 BOS – 1.5

The Red Sox look to have broken out of their early season malaise with a weekend sweep of the Rays in Tampa and, weather permitting, will start their homestand with Chris Sale on the mound against the Tigers.

Sale’s had a famously poor start to the season, but there were strong signs in his last start as the velocity and swinging strikes returned. In his first three starts, Sale’s fastball averaged 91.6 miles per hour and his slider 77.9; in his last start Sale lit up the radar at an average fastball velocity of 96.2 with the slider clocking in at 79.6. The swinging strikes returned as well with a 12.9% whiff rate and a 47% chase rate — all of those numbers bode well for a start against a Tigers offense that’s only produced a wRC+ of 70 on the year and put more than three runs on the board just once in their last five games..

On the other side of the diamond, Matthew Boyd will be looking to continue on of the more popular fantasy breakouts in recent memory, but has a much tougher task against a Red Sox lineup that is death to lefties. Add in a middling Detroit bullpen and Boston looks like one of tonight’s best bets.

 

Diamondbacks 11-10 Pirates 12-6

Moneyline ARI +122 PIT -132

Total 7.5

Run Line ARI + 1.5 PIT -1.5

Joe Musgrove has been fantastic to start the year, allowing just two earned runs in his first three starts and working into the seventh in each outing. Musgrove’s success has been built on increased slider usage — 33% on the year, up from 20% in 2018 — and led to a 14.3% swinging strike rate and a 26% strikeout rate against a paltry 5% walk rate.

Musgrove’s breakout season should have another successful chapter tonight as Arizona enters the game with a 92 wRC+ built on a 26% strikeout rate and a 5% walk rate.

Pittsburgh will be taking their hacks against Zach Godley who has been unable to regain his 2017 form. Godley brings a 6.26 ERA into PNC Park that seems to be supported by the underlying metrics as his FIP and xFIP are both north of 5.00.

Both offenses have been middling against righthanders on the season, but we should be able to trust the Pirates here as they have the better starter, better bullpen and homefield advantage.

 

Twins 11-7 Astros 13-7

Moneyline MIN +154 HOU -171

Total 9.5

Run Line MIN + 1.5 HOU -1.5

The Astros wound up taking it on the chin against a Rangers team that’s started the season better against right handed pitchers than anyone would have predicted, but look to be in a favorable position for tonight’s home game.

The Twins are sending Jake Odorizzi and his reverse splits to the hill against an Astros lineup long on righthanded power bats. I expect Houston to get to a middling Minnesota bullpen relatively early in this game.

Brad Peacock will once again slot in as the fifth starter for Houston. The Twins offense has been nearly Houston’s equal on the year and fair well against sliders — Peacock’s best pitch and an offering he uses nearly half the time against righties — but they’re hitting a bit over their talent level to start the year.

Add Houston’s significant bullpen advantage to the mix and I’ll take the home team tonight.

 

White Sox 8-11 Orioles 8-14

Moneyline CWS -122 BAL +112

Total 9.5

Run Line CWS – 1.5 BAL +1.5

The White Sox are a dangerous offense when they’re not striking out and with Orioles starter David Hess’s 17.7% K rate they should be able to put runs on the board. With journeyman Manny Banuelos taking the hill for Chicago and two bad bullpens, this game should feature a lot of runs so consider the over and daily fantasy stacks.

73% of the bets are on the over and we should see some crooked numbers on the board in Baltimore.

 

Royals 7-14 Rays 14-7

Moneyline KC +151 TB -164

Total 8

Run Line KC + 1.5 TB -1.5

The Rays will look to return to their winning ways after being swept by the Red Sox in a weekend series. The Rays offense recently returned Joey Wendle to a surprisingly effective lineup, but will be without Austin Meadows who injured his thumb sliding into third during the Boston series as they take on Brad Keller.

The Rays will send former follower Yonny Chirinos to the mound for a traditional start. Chirinos has been good this season — his 3.26 ERA is paired with a 3.06 FIP — but he draws a deceptively tough assignment as a sinker/slider guy against a team that hits sinkerballs very well. Add in high usage that Tampa’s bullpen saw over the weekend and we may have a closer game than it appears at first glance.

This game opened with the Rays as a -180 favorite and has fallen despite 73% of the bets coming in on Tampa so it looks like the sharps are leaning towards the Royals tonight.

 

Philles (12-8) Mets (11-9)

Moneyline PHI +101 NYM -111

Total 8.5

Run Line PHI + 1.5 NYM -1.5

Jake Arrieta brings Philadelphia back from altitude and into Citi Field where they’ll take on Steven Matz and the Mets. Arrieta’s had great results to begin the season, but those underlying metrics are screaming for regression as his swinging strike rate has collapsed this season despite good results.

I’d expect the Phillies to be able to put some runs on the board against the wildly inconsistent Steven Matz, although with Jean Segura on the shelf they’re missing their best table setter against southpaws.

The run line opened favoring the Phillies, but has flipped towards the Mets thanks to heavy money (48% of the action is on New York despite receiving only 24% of the tickets).

 

Brewers 13-9 Cardinals 11-9

Moneyline MIL +138 STL -150

Total 8.5

Run Line MIL + 1.5 STL -1.5

The Brewers have already touched Jack Flaherty twice on the young season — four earned runs in 4.1 innings to begin the year and 5 runs in 2.2 in Flaherty’s last start — but the young right-hander has shown distinct home/road splits in his career and both of those games were at Miller Park.

The Brew Crew are sending Adrian Houser to the hill for the first time this season. Houser projects as a replacement level pitcher without a plus offering in his arsenal. Add in some of the best hitting weather on the slate and both lineups should be under consideration for daily fantasy players.

Nationals 9-10 Rockies 8-13

Moneyline WAS +108 COL -118

Total 11

Run Line WAS + 1.5 COL -1.5

This will be a massive ballpark shift for the Nationals who come into Denver after a weekend series in Miami. Jeremy Hellickson will be taking the mound for the Nationals. Hellickson used to be an extreme flyball pitcher, but that’s been trending down for the past couple of seasons and his rate is at 31.8% in 2019. The Rockies offense hasn’t been great this season, but Charlie Blackmon seems to have found himself at the plate and surely David Dahl will hit his first homer of the year soon.

The Rockies start southpaw Tyler Anderson fresh of the injured list. Anderson’s a league average lefty who has a hefty task ahead of him as the Nationals lineup leans heavily on right handed bats and have a 119 wRC+ and .214 ISO against southpaws this season. If Anthony Rendon, who sat Sunday after taking a pitch to the elbow, is in the lineup this could be a short night for Anderson.

This game looks like a nice bet on the over based on matchups and altitude, but a bit of the thin air effect will be negated by temperatures in the high 40s. That may mean fewer balls leave the yard, but with a huge outfield we could still see a high scoring affair without the home runs that have been driving offense in 2019.

Yankees 10-10 Angels 8-13

Moneyline NYY -105 LAA -105

Total 8.5

Run Line NYY – 1.5 LAA +1.5

On one side of the field you have human pinball machine Matt Harvey on the mound against a quad-A Yankees team that’s missing Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorious, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki.

On the other side, JA Happ faces the best baseball player on the planet, who happens to have the platoon advantage, and an Angels lineup that doesn’t deserve him.

For those looking for an argument against BvP numbers, Kole Calhoun has a better career statline against Happ than Mike Trout — sample size matters.

 

Rangers 11-8 Athletics 11-12

Moneyline TEX +133 OAK -143

Total 8.5

Run Line TEX + 1.5 OAK -1.5

Oakland crushes lefties as a rule, but Mike Minor has had a good deal of success against these A’s over the past two seasons. The Rangers suffer a ballpark shift, but just did damage to a group of significantly better righties than Chris Bassitt who will be making his season debut.

The sharps look to be taking a strong stand on Oakland as they’ve climbed from an opening favorite of -104 despite 63% of the tickets coming in on Texas.

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