Monday brings us the rare non-full slate for this 2020 Major League Baseball season with just nine games, in addition to fewer bankable bets-per-game than most days have. However, there is still a bit of value we can squeeze out of the day’s MLB games.
Here are a few bets I like for Monday, along with my observations on other games:
Bets I like
Colorado Rockies (+ 150) at Arizona Diamondbacks (-160)
This bet is heavily contingent on the roof being open in Arizona, which it is for today's game. As I’ve written about, however, Vegas drastically underprojects extreme heat.
Since 2017, in games of 95-plus degree heat, games have averaged two full runs per game more than the opening line. True to form, my projection system, THE BAT, has this game projected at 11.45 runs with an open roof -- nearly two runs above the line. It will be 108 degrees at gametime today. They’ve opened it in hotter weather without fans this year, and so if we get the announcement that it’s opening, you’ll want to jump on the line immediately.
Pick: Over 9.5 runs (-115)
Toronto Blue Jays (+ 200) at Tampa Bay Rays (-220)
The general public is much more likely to underestimate a low-probability outcome than a medium- or high-probability one, and Vegas lines often reflect this when it comes to aces. Nobody wants to bet against Gerrit Cole or Jacob deGrom or, in this case, Blake Snell. But if the moneyline implies the Rays will only win 33% of the time but the true number is 37%, as I project here, there will be value in making bets like this long-term ($12.45 of expected value on a $100 bet). Sure, you’ll lose your entry two-thirds of the time -- and that probably includes today. But you’ll win it back often enough to make this worthwhile. It helps that the Blue Jays are a talented and underrated offense that will likely roll out seven right-handed hitters against the southpaw.
Pick: Blue Jays (+ 200)
Oakland Atheltics (-142) at Texas Rangers (+ 132)
Total: 8 (-120)
There’s less EV on this line than the previous two, but it’s still there. Texas has lost eight straight games (including, most recently, three to lowly Seattle), surely feeding into a strong negative public perception of them. It wouldn’t even be surprising to see their odds become more favorable throughout the day. They’re not good, but short-term trends -- especially ones without any context -- are almost always just noise to ignore and exploit. Lance Lynn is their best pitcher, and while he may be almost evenly matched by rookie phenom Jesus Luzardo on the other side, he matches up well with an Oakland offense that rolls out all of its best hitters from the right side of the plate. Luzardo, meanwhile, will likely face seven opposite-handers.
Pick: Rangers (+ 132)
Monday’s game observations
- Since the start of 2017, Lynn has a 3.35 xFIP vs. RHB and a 5.15 xFIP vs. LHP. He’s likely to face just two Oakland lefties today, with Matt Olson being the only above-average one
- The Blue Jays have three hitters (Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, Bo Bichette) with a Barrel% over 15%; the only team with more is the red-hot San Diego Padres (min. 55 PA)
- The Blue Jays have three hitters (Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Rowdy Tellez) with a max exit velocity over 115 mph; no other team has more than one such hitter (min. 55 PA)