Thursday’s events provided us with two reminders on how important it is to do your research throughout the day. Bettors on the Yankees-Orioles over/under were almost burned as a huge rainstorm in the sixth inning threatened to halt the game right there. At that point, the Yankees were winning 5-4 and were just shy of the total of 10 or 10.5 runs. However, they eventually resumed play and both teams provided enough scoring to eventually cash for any over backers, like ourselves. Thus, the first lesson is to be aware of weather forecasts that may threaten to stop a game after they become official. Over backers learned that the hard way on Opening Day as the Yankees 4-1 score over the Nationals became official after the sixth inning.
Lesson number two was to stay current with player news, whether it is coronavirus related or not. It was announced hours before the Angels-Mariners game that Mike Trout was being put on the paternity list and would be away from the Angels from some time. While some bettors still likely thought the Angels could win in his absence, the news still dropped the moneyline from -200 to -180. Thus, there was significant value to be had depending on what side you were on.
With those lessons in mind, here are my top MLB betting plays for Friday (Odds courtesy FanDuel Sportsbook).
YTD: 14-8-1 (+5.51 units)
Boston-New York UNDER 10.5 runs (-108)
It seems crazy to take the under in this matchup considering how the Yankees have been mashing and how poor Boston’s pitching has been. However, “fading the public” and “contrarian plays” have always been our forte, so this pick is no different. Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery will begin his first full-season post-Tommy John surgery. The Yankees are banking on getting the Montgomery that led all rookies in 2017 in starts, strikeouts, and innings. Montgomery was off to a great start in 2018 with a 2-0 record and a 3.62 ERA before getting hurt. Thus, there is inherent value in his ability to do his part in keeping the scoring down while the average bettor simply sees a pitcher recovering from Tommy John.
This is also a bet that Boston starter Ryan Weber will have better command of his sinkerball. If he can keep the ball down like he has been known to do, the Yankees lineup will not be able to elevate the ball and take advantage of the friendly dimensions at Yankee Stadium. In addition, Weber has a 2.84 ERA in three appearances against the Yankees.
New York Mets ML (+114)
In this very same pitching matchup between New York’s Rick Porcello and Atlanta’s Sean Newcomb last Sunday, Atlanta’s bats exploded early en route to an easy 14-1 victory. Porcello got lit up for seven runs in two innings in that game and was his shortest outing in over a year.
And yes, the Mets moneyline makes our second-consecutive contrarian play of the day. A closer look at the first matchup revealed a lot of missed opportunities early for the Mets. New York left two runners on base in three of the first four innings, never managing to get the early big hit. Had the offense broken through for a couple of runs early, the game might have played out much differently. Thus, the average bettor will look at a score of 14-1 and likely unload on Atlanta. Because of this, New York’s odds are likely to rise throughout the day so one may want to wait for more value. However, this opening line is on the small side for a reason. The people in Vegas know what they are doing, people.
Chicago White Sox -1.5 runs (-116)
The White Sox were pegged as a “breakout team” by many before the season started, but a 2-4 start after facing the Twins and Indians have muted those talks. Chicago will look to “get right” against the Kansas City Royals whose Kris Bubic is making his major-league debut Friday night. The left-handed Bubic should find it tough sledding against a right-handed dominant White Sox lineup. In most White Sox lineups, left fielder Nicky Delmonico is the only true left-handed bat, so we are playing the percentages on the advantages the right-handed bats will gain against the rookie.
In addition, we have faith in veteran Dallas Keuchel to follow up his impressive debut when he limited the red-hot Twins offense to two runs over 5 1/3 innings. The White Sox are 6-2 in their last eight games as a road favorite, while the Royals are 17-36 in their last 53 home games against a left-handed starter.
San Diego ML (+102)
Surprisingly, this series opener between the Padres and Rockies is a battle of two first-place NL West teams. This marks the home opener for the Rockies, whose somewhat quiet offense to date looks to break out in the high altitude.
There are two big reasons to like the Padres in this one. The first is that the Rockies appear to be a tad overvalued given their hot start. If preseason predictions were to hold true, there is no reason the Rockies should be favored. They were projected to be one of the worst teams in the National League, while the Padres win total suggested they could be sleepers and challenge the Dodgers for the division. Thus, we are getting great value with the better team at plus-odds.
The second reason to like San Diego is because of the interesting dynamic in the pitching matchup. The Padres have faced Rockies starter Jon Gray a whopping 20 times in his career, while the Rockies are getting their first look at Padres starter Garrett Richards. While it may take the Rockies hitters a couple turns through the lineup to get used to Richards’ stuff, the Padres will feel comfortable against Gray from the start. Lastly, Gray appeared tired before and could not get through five innings in his first start which suggests his arm strength might not be 100% early in the season.
Los Angeles-Arizona UNDER 9.5 runs (-114)
On the surface, a pitching matchup between the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin and the Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen does not scream “pitcher’s duel”, but that’s exactly the way we like it. Gonsolin was forced into L.A.’s rotation after injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood. He went under-the-radar with a 4-2 record and a 2.93 ERA last season. Gonsolin looks to continue the early-season success of the Dodgers pitching staff, whose 2.15 team ERA is the third-best in baseball.
Gonsolin faces an Arizona lineup who has struggled mightily thus far. Their .196 team batting average is the third-lowest in the majors. On the other side, Zac Gallen is an unknown and underrated talent. He allowed just one run and two hits in four innings in his season debut against the Padres. Control is always an issue with Gallen, so if he can limit his walks we love his potential to do his part in keeping the scoring down in this one.
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