Just about half of the league will be idle on Monday and it would have been more than half if the Royals and Cardinals didn’t have a makeup game to play. There are only eight games on the betting board for May 2, but the biggest favorite on the card is in the -165 range, so maybe we’ll get some competitive baseball to start the week.
I’m slightly biased, but I think The Run Line is the top MLB betting show in the business right now and we put another episode in the can last night. Holden Kushner pinch hit from Denver and I was on the desk at Circa to share two hours of baseball betting insight and analysis. If you missed it, you can catch the archived version right here (HOUR 1 / HOUR 2).
Padres/Pirates: As the proud holder of a Joe Musgrove 25/1 to win the NL Cy Young ticket, I’m pleased to say that he’s up to third in fWAR and owns a 1.97 ERA with a 2.12 FIP through 32 innings this season. However, it’s also worth noting he’s faced the Diamondbacks, Braves, Reds twice and Pirates. If you can (and I’ll try to do this when possible), take stock in who pitchers have faced to this point. Four of those offenses are quite bad and some pitchers may have inflated numbers based on the level of competition.
Cubs/Brewers: The Cubs made an appearance on the inaugural Regression Report yesterday on the show. Chicago has now fallen to fourth in BABIP overall and fifth in BABIP with RISP. That’ll happen when you score five runs in four games. They did win 2-0 yesterday, but have only scored 15 runs in their last seven games after their 21-0 win against the Pirates last weekend.
Diamondbacks/Cardinals: Sunday featured some offensive surprises, including this game with 12 runs on the board. It was another day in which the Cardinals did their damage off of somebody’s bullpen. Zach Davies actually worked five innings with no earned runs, but the Diamondbacks pen gave up five in the 7-5 loss.
The Cardinals are 21st in wOBA against RHP with a 91 wRC + that ranks 19th and their right-handed batters only have a .332 SLG against righties. I keep harping on this angle, but I think it’s something we can make money on.
Reds/Rockies: The Reds lost for the 16th time in 19 losses on the run line. Why aren’t we all rich yet?
Nationals/Giants: I wrote yesterday about how the Nationals offense has surprisingly had a lot of chances with men in scoring position. Well, they scored 11 runs yesterday and chased Alex Cobb out of the game in the first inning. In this three-game series, Washington was 19-for-48 with men in scoring position. That’s a lot of at bats with RISP. The Giants, meanwhile, were 7-for-28.
Cesar Hernandez has gotten it going, while Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernandez keep swinging it well. It has been an under-filled season, but the Nationals look like a pretty good over bet with an offense that has been better than I expected and a pitching staff that is quite bad with a 5.08 ERA and a 4.17 FIP.
Phillies/Mets: My Run Line co-host Holden Kushner made an astute live bet last night, taking the Mets Team Total Over 7.5 when they had scored six runs by the bottom of the fifth. The Phillies bullpen delivered and the Mets scored four more. Isolating those kinds of live betting situations can really boost your bankroll. Knowing the bullpens is a tremendous help.
Red Sox/Orioles: Sometimes hard bets are the right bets to make. I mentioned yesterday how Jordan Lyles is a fade candidate virtually every time he pitches, but we didn’t see a line move against him on the overnights yesterday. Like I’ve said before, the line moves that don’t happen can often be more telling than the ones that do. Baltimore won 9-5 and Lyles gave up one run over six innings.
Zach Davies usually gets bet against, but that didn’t happen in Diamondbacks/Cardinals. The bullpen ultimately blew it, but those are two guys that influential bettors fade regularly. When it doesn’t happen, it really stands out. I’m upset I didn’t trust my market read. It’s easier said than done to back a guy like Lyles against what should be a really good lineup, but it was the right call and the signs were there. Use the context clues from sharp bettors that set these lines and move these markets. More often than not, they’ll give you good information.
Twins/Rays: An emerging trend with the Rays is that their infield defense has not played well. Josh Fleming was victimized by it once again on Sunday, as he allowed six runs on five hits over 3.2 innings, though he did make his own problems by issuing three walks. Fleming is a positive regression candidate with a .396 BABIP and a 33.1% LOB%, but the defense has done him no favors.
For the Twins, Josh Winder had a good start and the offense put up nine runs for the second day in a row. I’m still not a long-term believer in the Twins, but as we talked about on the show last night, their schedule is extremely friendly throughout the month of May. If you wanted, I think you can bet the Twins to win the AL Central now, get the White Sox to win the AL Central at better than even money later and have a freeroll with a two-horse race. Chicago’s schedule is very daunting through the All-Star Break, but they project to play only four teams with a winning record in the second half.
Astros/Blue Jays: Kevin Gausman now has 41 strikeouts with zero walks on the season. He’s also only allowed eight earned runs on 31 hits. Toronto will appear in this week’s Regression Report column in Point Spread Weekly for the offensive numbers, but the pitching numbers have been great. That said, another one-run win for the Jays, who are 9-2 in one-run games. That should regress as the season goes along.
Yankees/Royals: A lot is being made of how the Yankees are beating up on bad teams during this nine-game winning streak. Well, you have to beat the bad teams, too, but the Yankees will now step up in class and face the Blue Jays in five of the next seven games. New York’s numbers do look really strong from playing the last 15 games against Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore and Kansas City. I absolutely agree. However, I still think this is a quality ballclub, so I’m not rushing to fade them. Just some food for thought that I may be finding spots to go against them, but downplaying a team’s performance just because it came against bad teams is a little bit too simplistic. Those are games you should win and the Yankees have, winning most of them in lopsided fashion.
Guardians/Athletics: Triston McKenzie came through exactly as I had hoped to start May with a winner, but this is why it’s so important to study the matchups. Between that opponent and that ballpark, the conditions could not have been optimized better for McKenzie. Interestingly, McKenzie only had nine whiffs in 40 swings, which is a really low rate for seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings, but he only had one walk and that was the difference. I’m still not a full-fledged believer in McKenzie, but you make exceptions when the conditions are right.
Mariners/Marlins: Julio Rodriguez is getting hot. He was 3-for-4 with a homer yesterday and owns a .306 BA and a .370 OBP since April 17, a span of 54 plate appearances. He’s really starting to figure this hitting thing out at the MLB level and that lengthens the Mariners lineup in a big way. The best offenses are often the best because they have 6 and 7 hitters that can rake. With offense down so much, it is an even bigger luxury.
Unrelated to this game, Houston better get it going because the Angels and Mariners look very legitimate this season.
Weather: Royals/Cardinals could end up PPD’d again and the wind will be blowing out a bit for Rays/A’s in the Coliseum. Otherwise, no big weather concerns today, as two of the eight games are indoors and we’ll have a rare sunny day in Chicago.
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.