MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Monday 5/16

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 16, 2022 12:05 PM
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We haven’t seen a lot of busy Mondays in the baseball betting world this season, but we’ve got one today with 13 games on the card. We don’t have any day baseball, but that’s not a bad thing with the NBA and NHL Playoffs on a break until tomorrow. It will give us all something to watch tonight.

If you want something to listen to today, may I recommend the latest edition of The Run Line with host Ben Wilson and yours truly. We had a lot of fun with last night’s show and I think it is getting better each week. You can check it out here. (HOUR 1 / HOUR 2)

Yesterday’s Recap

Padres/Braves: There are some things to digest from both Saturday and Sunday’s games in this series. First, they looked high-scoring, but that was more about the bullpens and less about the starters. Charlie Morton threw six really strong innings with nine strikeouts for his second straight solid start. Maybe the old dog is coming around. In Saturday’s game, Sean Manaea had 12 strikeouts over his seven innings and 23 whiffs. He’s not really known as a big swing-and-miss guy, but this is where I’m going to tease my Point Spread Weekly feature on pitching coaches. Ruben Niebla has had a huge impact on this team and this rotation.

Sunday’s game ended 7-3 thanks to extra innings, as both Kyle Wright and Joe Musgrove fought occasional command concerns to pitch well. The Braves did take money with regularity in this series against the Padres, something I referenced on The Run Line and will write about for next week’s Point Spread Weekly.

Reds/Pirates: Imagine throwing a no-hitter and losing. Astonishing. Hunter Greene and Art Warren accomplished that feat yesterday. Greene threw 118 pitches in search of the no-no, so we’ll probably see him get an extra day or two of rest before his next outing. Overshadowed by the rare feat is that Jose Quintana threw seven shutout innings and has a 2.19 ERA over seven starts and 37 innings. To say I wrote him off would be an understatement, but he does have a 4.49 xERA to go with a 3.40 FIP and 3.91 xFIP. There are regression signs in the profile, but increased changeup usage has been a massive separator.

Brewers/Marlins: The Brewers and Marlins traded blowout victories over the weekend. Brandon Woodruff pitched for Milwaukee on Sunday and still wasn’t himself. He allowed one earned run over five innings with six strikeouts, but also allowed nine hard-hit balls. He’s still working through some things and I’d be wary of backing him at big favorite prices.

Blowouts one way or the other are good for Milwaukee, though, they were able to spare some of their big bullpen arms this weekend while getting ready for this week’s series against the Braves. The Brewers have played one of the worst schedules to this point, so we’ll see what happens with a bump in competition.

Phillies/Dodgers: A tough week for the Dodgers was one strike away from being worse. Los Angeles walked off Philadelphia to avoid a sweep last night, as the Phillies bullpen had another melt. The Dodgers had lost four in a row and five of six. Now they host the Diamondbacks for four games. Focus has been a bit of an issue against inferior teams, but Arizona does already have a series win over LA, so we’ll see if they’re more engaged.

Giants/Cardinals: As we talked about on The Run Line last night, there is a conspiracy theory floating around that the balls for primetime games are different. Yesterday’s 21-run outburst was somewhat fueled by Albert Pujols’s first career pitching appearance, but the Cardinals also rocked Carlos Rodon and the game was over the total by the fourth inning. Next week’s SNB game is White Sox vs. Yankees.

Orioles/Tigers: Detroit is on a three-game winning streak after a sweep of the Orioles. Baltimore scored just three runs total over the three games. Michael Pineda took a comebacker off of his hand on Saturday when I was on Baltimore, so that was an unfortunate development for the bet, but also the Tigers. Detroit has Pineda, Spencer Turnbull, Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tyler Alexander all on the IL. That is loosely what their rotation was supposed to look like. They’re MacGyvering it right now with the starters and we’ll have to see if that eventually takes its toll. At least Tarik Skubal is still healthy and he racked up 11 punchies on Sunday over six innings.

The Tigers now embark on a nine-game road trip. They’ve scored 27 runs in 13 road games.

Blue Jays/Rays: I remain at a loss for words about this Toronto offense that should be so much better. The Blue Jays were held to three or fewer runs for the 18th time in 35 games on Sunday. I’ve documented the struggles with RISP, which are a huge part of the problem, but I can’t believe that this is still a thing this deep into the season. At least Hyun Jin Ryu looked pretty decent in his first start back on Saturday, given that Toronto seemingly has to win with pitching right now.

Yankees/White Sox: The Yankees just keep on winning games and the White Sox keep spinning their wheels. Chicago ranks 27th in wOBA against RHP this season and has just an 82 wRC +. The White Sox still have a top-10 offense against lefties, but righties are eating them alive, despite a low K% and a lot of balls in play. I still think we can exercise some patience on the White Sox to win the Central, as the Twins have a weak schedule for the next few weeks.

Guardians/Twins: Shane Bieber only had seven whiffs over six innings against the Twins on Saturday. He allowed 10 baserunners, but surrendered just one run on a solo homer. The stat line implies that he pitched well, but he really didn’t, even with a slight uptick in velo. I’m still thoroughly concerned, but the oddsmakers caught on very quickly, as his prices have not been very high. Meanwhile, the Twins got a good bounce back effort from Joe Ryan against a Guardians team that leads the league in wRC + against RHP. That was a good sign and he has some easy matchups on the horizon.

Red Sox/Rangers: The slumping Boston offense got going a bit on this quick five-game road trip. The Red Sox scored 31 runs, but only managed to go 3-2. I’ve talked about the humidor and its impacts, specifically in colder climates. Boston has only scored 38 runs in 13 games at home and 88 runs in 21 games on the road. Fourteen of Boston’s next 17 are at home, so let’s see how they fare and if the warmer weather helps.

Mariners/Mets: We got the full Robbie Ray experience on Sunday. He gave up five runs on five hits in six innings, but struck out nine and had 27 swings and misses. He did walk three as well and gave up a homer. That was a vintage performance, but also another example of why he’s such a maddening pitcher to be on or against. Of greater note, the Mets put Tylor Megill on the IL with a biceps issue. They’re deep, but they have a lot of damaged goods on that team, so they’ll have to hope the injury bugs stay away.

Royals/Rockies: The Rockies can ill afford to lose games like they did at home this weekend. It wasn’t a sweep thanks to the 10-4 win on Saturday, but losing a home series to the Royals is not a good look. The three games featured 53 runs and Coors Field is now yielding an average of 11.6 runs per game, hence the total of 12 today with Alex Wood and Antonio Senzatela.

Monday Resources

Weather: East Coast rain is the story today. We could wind up with delayed starts in Queens and Baltimore. The Astros and Red Sox might have to play through some precip. The wind is blowing out in just about every game today, with some games more noteworthy than others, mostly those on the East Coast.

Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. Also, my friend @MLBDream on Twitter put together a great MLB beat writer list to follow.

Line Moves

Nationals at Marlins (-185, 8): The books seemingly went a little bit too high with Miami and Sandy Alcantara today. Aaron Sanchez and the visiting Nationals have taken the early funds to push this line down 20-25 cents across the board. Sanchez has a 7.59 ERA with a 3.96 xERA and a 4.74 FIP, so there are some positive regression signs in the profile. Meanwhile, Alcantara has a 2.74 ERA with a 4.07 FIP, so he has some signs of negative regression.

Braves at Brewers (-140, 8): After the Braves took money throughout the series against the Padres, it is Milwaukee taking money against Atlanta today with Ian Anderson and Freddy Peralta set to start. There isn’t much love out there for Anderson in the investment community with ugly K/BB rates and a 4.20 ERA with a 4.97 FIP. We’re seeing that dynamic today, along with the fact that Peralta has a 4.40 ERA with a 3.43 xERA and a 2.37 FIP. Line moves can be pretty predictable in baseball.

Giants (-150, 12) at Rockies: This total has gone from 11 to 12, as Coors Field seems to be the only place where offense is consistently happening. Antonio Senzatela has one of the league’s lowest strikeout rates and is running a .405 BABIP against so the expectation here seems to be for a big offensive day from the Giants. I can’t argue with that. The Rockies have also scored over six runs per game at home.

Yankees (-200, 8) at Orioles: We may see this total drop down to 7.5 across the board soon, despite opening 8.5 for this AL East matchup. There have been 16 games at Oriole Park this season with just 109 runs scored for an average of 6.8. The LF dimensions would also seem to be a problem for a right-handed-heavy Yankees lineup, which may be why the Orioles have taken a little money here as well.

Astros at Red Sox (-125, 9): I’m surprised to not only see this total get to 9, but to see indicators that it could get to 9.5. I already mentioned Boston’s offensive woes at home and the league-wide lack of carry on fly balls has certainly suppressed runs, especially in cooler-weather cities. It will be more humid with winds blowing out today at Fenway Park, so I guess the thought process here is that conditions will be ripe for more offense. I’m not so sure.

What I’ll Be Watching

Miles Mikolas: It was a late night for the Cardinals on Sunday Night Baseball, but they’ve got Mikolas going today and that would, presumably, be a good thing. He has a 1.49 ERA in seven starts this season with a 2.56 xERA and a 2.96 FIP. Mikolas is running a .244 BABIP against and an 89.3% LOB% with a well below average strikeout rate, so regression is very much a possibility soon. The betting community has little to no faith in Trevor Williams, yet the Mets opened a favorite and remain that way given the underlying concerns about Mikolas.

If the Mets hold as chalk here, I think it’s a pretty telling indicator about Mikolas and the sustainability of his numbers. I’ll be curious to see where this line ends up.

Kyle Bradish: The Orioles are churning out some pitching these days, with DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez still incubating in the minors. Bradish has made three MLB starts and has a 4.24 ERA with a 4.22 FIP, but seemed to find his stride with 11 strikeouts over seven excellent innings against the Cardinals in his last start. Prior to that, he allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 10 innings to the Red Sox and Twins. Bradish has a Hard Hit% of 45.5% and has allowed five Barrels already, which is concerning against a Yankees lineup that leads MLB in Hard Hit%. Will the park factor save him today?

Bradish’s F-Strike% was 39.1% against Boston and 44.4% against Minnesota. He threw almost 70% first-pitch strikes against the Cardinals. This game may have a live betting feel to it, as Bradish has to pitch ahead in the count like he did in his last start. If you notice shaky control early, the Yankees should be in a position to capitalize.

Monday Best Bets

Shop around for the best lines! I’m using a market consensus number that should be widely available to most, but every cent matters, so do the best you can to get the best line possible.

VEGAS LINES | ODDS BY STATE | MLB MATCHUPS

Astros/Red Sox Under 9 (+ 100): I understand the sentiment here. You’ve got two offenses on paper that look really good and conditions that look better for hitting than what we’ve seen in Boston throughout the season. You’ve also got one starter in Jake Odorizzi, who seems to fit really well in this offensive environment, and another in Garrett Whitlock, who has been outstanding.

Let’s start with Odorizzi. He’s been a fly ball guy throughout his career and that plays well with this season’s lack of carry. His Hard Hit% is just 31.3%, which is a career-best and his Barrel% is just 3.8%, also a career-best. The pitching strategy for the Astros is to use “top-shelf” fastballs with the fly ball guys and get ground balls from the sinker guys. Odorizzi’s fastballs are all clustered in the top half of the strike zone. Hitters mostly have a hint of an uppercut in their swings while trying to generate loft for extra carry. By working up in the zone, pitchers can pretty effectively neutralize that strategy.

Odorizzi’s biggest offense this season has been a double-digit walk rate, but one of the reasons why the Red Sox have struggled is that they have the second-lowest BB% against right-handed pitchers this season.

Whitlock owns a 2.19 ERA with a 2.34 xERA and a 2.90 FIP, so there appears to be a lot of sustainability to his profile. His BABIP is low and his LOB% is high, but you can do that with a high strikeout rate and pretty good contact management numbers. Whitlock’s Hard Hit% is slightly above average at 39.3%, but two appearances against the Yankees and Blue Jays skewed those numbers. He’s been just fine otherwise.

If this one goes over with the lack of scoring we’ve had at Fenway Park and a pitching matchup that I think is favorable for a low-scoring game, it is what it is. I think you can maybe wait around for a rogue 9.5 as well. But I’m on the under here.

Astros (+ 110) over Red Sox: I’m also on Houston here. The Astros are playing some excellent baseball of late and I think they’ve really cracked the code on how to pitch in this environment. They’re one of the smartest organizations in baseball and process, interpret and analyze data better than just about anybody. While I do like Whitlock a lot, he hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning in any of his four starts. That leaves a lot of meat on the bone for the Red Sox bullpen in hopes of finishing the game off and there is a huge discrepancy between the two bullpens.

The Astros own a 2.69 ERA with a 3.20 FIP, ranking eighth in fWAR. The Red Sox rank 29th in fWAR with a 4.27 ERA and a 4.23 FIP. From a usage standpoint, the two bullpens enter this game about equal, so I think that gives Houston the advantage with a better group overall. As a result, I’ll take the plus-money shot here. I concede that Whitlock probably has a higher ceiling than Odorizzi, but there are other factors pointing towards Houston. The bullpen advantage is one thing, but Houston also has a 116 wRC +, while Boston has an 86 wRC +. These two offenses are on different footing. So, I’ll take the under and also the Astros in a rare spot to bet both side and total in the same game.

Monday Leans

Blue Jays (-155) over Mariners: The idea of laying a big number with Yusei Kikuchi on the mound is pretty scary, but there are some pretty compelling reasons to believe in him tonight. Kikuchi has a 4.15 ERA with a 4.99 FIP through six starts covering 26 innings this season. That doesn’t sound very good, but he’s made three starts against the Yankees, two against the Astros and one against the Red Sox. It’s easy to see why he has a 50% Hard Hit% and a 14.3% Barrel% facing those teams.

I’m hoping this price comes down a little bit in light of his ugly numbers. The important context to add here is that he’s faced teams that make a ton of violent contact. The Mariners have performed well offensively, but rank 27th in Hard Hit%, even though Julio Rodriguez is up among the league leaders.

Chris Flexen gets the call for the Mariners and his Hard Hit% is 45.4%, even though he’s faced the Phillies, Rays, Royals, Twins and Houston twice. That isn’t exactly the same set of offenses. Last season, Flexen had a .335 wOBA against on the road with a 4.06 ERA and a 4.52 FIP. Between home and road starts, his batting average against was 24 points higher on the road and his slugging percentage was 79 points higher.

If nothing else, I’m looking at Kikuchi as a guy to bet on when he starts to face some weaker lineups, but if this one comes down throughout the day, I’ll likely add it to the card. I’m hoping for something in the -140 range, with a current low point of -149 at time of writing.

We’ll be rolling out some more baseball tools soon, including a tracker of my picks that will update in real-time, but for now, I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE

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Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings for every game on the board, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

CFB Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

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Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings for every game on the board, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

CFB Power Ratings3 sets of numbers from Steve MakinenGO HERE.

View more CFB tools for Pro subscribers

View more NFL tools for Pro subscribers

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Chuck Edel: Kansas State +2.5 vs TCU. View more picks.

Kenny White: Fresno State +3 vs Boise St. View more picks.
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