MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Saturday 8/6

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

August 6, 2022 12:14 PM
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We’ve got a really packed schedule today, as there are 17 games on the betting board with two doubleheaders, including a big one between the Braves and Mets at Citi Field. The Angels and Mariners will also play a twin bill in Seattle. This is our final Saturday without football until 2023, as we’ll have some NFL preseason the next two weeks, followed by the start of the college football season.

I know we’re all itching for football, but we’ve still got plenty of baseball in the meantime. Remember, no article tomorrow, but I’ll be on The Run Line and reunited with Ben Wilson from 8-10 p.m. ET.

Yesterday’s Recap

Marlins/Cubs: Willson Contreras was inexplicably not traded by Chicago and hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth to propel the Cubs to a 2-1 dub. Justin Steele only made it through 4.2 innings, but that’s because he struck out 10 of the 14 outs he collected, which ran his pitch count up quickly. The Cubs struggled badly against prospect Edward Cabrera for five innings. There wasn’t a lot of contact on the North Side yesterday and Chicago only had three hard-hit balls, but the biggest one of the game.

Nationals/Phillies: The Nationals lost in uncompetitive fashion with a 7-2 defeat at the hands of the Phillies. Josiah Gray gave up six runs on five hits, including four home runs, and now has an ERA of 4.92. I’ve mentioned all the steam on Gray in his starts and, frankly, I don’t get it. He’s had flashes, but he also has a 5.72 FIP with all the homers. There won’t be much equity in fading Washington, but I don’t really see a reason to ever bet on them.

Braves/Mets: It never really became a sweat, but Ian Anderson could have spared his team a lot of unnecessary heartache yesterday. He started to nibble in the fifth and gave up three runs while pitching with an 8-1 lead. The meltdown forced the Braves to use all of their better relievers in advance of a doubleheader today. It’s the little things.

On the plus side, I was dead on about Taijuan Walker, who gave up eight runs on seven hits and only recorded three outs. That was a nice + 125 cash. Walker had three whiffs in 22 swings and had a velo decline throwing 50 pitches in two innings.

Rockies/Diamondbacks: I was also right about Colorado, at least for 6.5 innings. German Marquez was solid in six innings, but then the bullpen melted in the seventh and eighth for a 6-5 loss. This probably could’ve been avoided if Bud Black managed his bullpen better. Top reliever Daniel Bard never even pitched, as he opted to use Lucas Gilbreath and Alex Colome for the third time in four days. This is why defined bullpen roles are archaic. Go get two innings out of Bard and give yourself the best chance to win the game. You’re probably going to lose in a Merrill Kelly vs. Antonio Senzatela matchup today, so make it a point to win with a lead.

Right handicap, wrong result, good underdog price down the drain.

Padres/Dodgers: I’ve mentioned how some teams have a “LeBron Complex” in MLB. When LBJ was with the Cavs, they slapped down anybody seeking a shot at the crown. They weren’t always invested, but when they had to be, they were. The Dodgers have had some stunning series results, but they’ve seemed to really step up against the Padres and Giants. They did last night with an 8-1 win behind a strong effort from Tony Gonsolin. It was a wire-to-wire job with four in the first and four in the third off of Sean Manaea, who gave up eight runs on 10 hits. He’s become the weak link of this rotation.

Rays/Tigers: Let’s watch this one closely, as Corey Kluber’s velocity was down across the board yesterday against Detroit, including some minor spin rate decreases on his pitches. He struggled early with three runs over the first two innings, but settled in to throw four scoreless after that. He was pulled after 84 pitches as his velocity tailed off a little bit. His 111 innings are the most he’s thrown since 2018. He threw 116.2 innings from 2019-21. He didn’t mention the velo and it wasn’t talked about after the game, so we’ll see.

Tampa Bay drew 13 walks in the game and still needed three runs in the eighth to come from behind and win. This offense is so subpar.

Astros/Guardians: The Guardians lost to the Astros to fall to 28-29 against teams .500 or better. They were 28-51 last season, 25-39 in 2019 and 23-31 in 2018. This is kind of their MO now, where they don’t really beat good teams, especially those outside of the division. They will absolutely beat up on bad teams most seasons, but they struggle badly when they step up in class. I’m not surprised with the last two nights and wouldn’t be terribly surprised with two more games of the same.

White Sox/Rangers: My guy Glenn Otto pitched well, but now Dylan Cease has allowed one or zero earned runs in 13 straight starts to lower his ERA to 1.98 with a 2.70 FIP. I mentioned a long time ago back in June that he was hitting a really soft part of the schedule and that has come to fruition. He only had five strikeouts in six innings against three walks, so it wasn’t his sharpest outing, but hitters have made terrible contact for five straight starts and most of this run. He’s been elite.

Otto was a really good matchup against the White Sox and I should have taken a much closer look at the under. Otto has good stuff, but below average control. Chicago doesn’t walk. This was the most potential he’s had in a start for a while and he allowed two runs on just four hits. This should’ve been an under bet, but I missed it.

Blue Jays/Twins: Tyler Mahle’s first start with the Twins went well until the sixth, but he left with a lead. Jorge Lopez blew the game in the ninth, but the Twins walked it off 6-5 in the 10th. Jose Berrios gave up five runs on six hits in 3.2 innings with only one strikeout, so he did struggle once again. The Blue Jays still have a rotation problem and I’m surprised that they didn’t do more to address it at the deadline. Perhaps newcomer Mitch White will help, as he starts today.

Angels/Mariners: Robbie Ray was dominant for seven innings with 10 strikeouts and 23 whiffs, but the Mariners managed to lose 4-3 to the hapless Angels. I’m not entirely sure the thought process behind using Jesse Chavez to close, but Seattle scored three in the ninth to force extra frames, but failed to score off Jimmy Herget in the bottom of the 10th. Patrick Sandoval wasn’t overly sharp with four walks in 5.1 innings, but he only gave up four hard-hit balls.

Tough loss for the M’s here, but Sandoval is a tough customer.

Pirates/Orioles: Another missed opportunity yesterday was the under in this game. Mitch Keller has been really good since mid-May. He now owns a 3.15 ERA with a 3.57 FIP in his last 12 starts. Dean Kremer threw 6.1 strong innings for Baltimore. I will say that the Orioles were 2-for-15 with RISP, so that’s why this one stayed so far under, but I looked at this game for a while yesterday morning and put my tail between my legs. It was a frustrating day to see how most things played out. It’s about having a short memory.

Yankees/Cardinals: The reinvigorated Cardinals won again with two in the eighth off of Clay Holmes, who continues to have issues. Andre Pallante was the savior of the day in a piggyback of Dakota Hudson, who gave up three runs on seven hits in four innings. Pallante threw four scoreless to give the offense a chance. A Hudson/Pallante piggyback is interesting now that the latter has been taken out of the rotation with Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana in town. Personally, I’d removed Hudson and use Pallante, but we’ll see how they play it moving forward.

Saturday Resources

Weather: Plenty of rain chances today, but none are guaranteed. Lots of heat and humidity in the Midwest and on the East Coast mean that there are some storm possibilities, but also good hitting conditions, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Kansas City and St. Louis.

Injuries: Check out our Injury Report right here at VSiN. This is also a good resource at FanGraphs (sort by date) HERE.

Line Moves

Braves at Mets (-135, 9); (-130, 7): Bettors don’t seem terribly confident in Jake Odorizzi for Game 1 here against the Mets. David Peterson goes for the home favorite. We’re also seeing the Mets favored in Game 2 in a Mad Max: Seaver Way battle between Fried and Scherzer. A little bit of money has hit the board on New York in that one as well.

Marlins (-115, 8.5) at Cubs: We’ve seen a sizable totals bump here from 7.5 up to 8.5 with good hitting conditions at Wrigley Field. We’ve also seen the Marlins bet into a clear favorite with Pablo Lopez against Drew Smyly. Miami has been awful against lefties all season long, but there isn’t a lot of faith in Smyly in the investment community most days. Also, despite Lopez’s recent struggles, he’s viewed in high regard.

Nationals at Phillies (-280, 9): Big move here against Patrick Corbin and the Nationals. I’m not surprised. We’ll see moves against them a lot the rest of the way, especially when the veteran lefty is on the bump.

Padres at Dodgers (-150, 8.5): One thing I’ve noticed is that any time the Dodgers are priced under like -200, they get bet on. I think the idea is that this team is so dominant and priced so high that any reasonable number is a bargain. This line hasn’t moved a ton, only about 10 cents, but I’ve never really seen a Dodgers line go down under -200.

Angels at Mariners (-200, 7.5); (-140, 7): The Mariners have been bet up 20-30 cents with Jaime Barria vs. George Kirby in Game 1. I don’t love when Kirby faces teams that he has already faced, but it’s hard to trust the Angels to do anything these days.

In Game 2, we’ve seen ample money on Reid Detmers against Chris Flexen. Not sure I’d be all in favor of that move either, but Detmers has been terrific lately with three earned runs allowed over his last four starts with a big boost in strikeouts.

Red Sox (-140, 9.5) at Royals: With Nate Eovaldi’s velocity still lagging behind, we’re up to 9.5 on the total for this one at Kauffman Stadium. The weather conditions are very conducive to offense, so the move from 9 up to 9.5 does make a lot of sense as the Royals send out Daniel Lynch.

Blue Jays (-120, 9) at Twins: Bettors don’t seem excited about the Mitch White add for Toronto. At least not today, which is surprising because Dylan Bundy is taking some money on the Twins side. We’ve seen about a 10-15 cent move against Toronto here.

Yankees at Cardinals (-110, 8.5): We’ve got a dog to favorite move here as Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery face off at Busch Stadium. We’ve also seen over money with the weather conditions on a hot and humid day in the Arch City.

What I’ll Be Watching

Nate Eovaldi: Prior to his last start against the Astros, Eovaldi had allowed 17 runs in 17 innings since coming off of the IL. Last time out, he held the Astros to two unearned runs and just four hits in 6.1 innings of work with six strikeouts. The velocity wasn’t back. In fact, it was almost as low as his last start before hitting the injured list on June 8. He did make an arsenal adjustment and threw more cutters in that start, which seemed to help. This is a much better matchup against the Royals, so there is definitely hope that he can have another nice stat line. His six strikeouts were a really good sign against an Astros lineup that doesn’t strike out much. I’ll be curious to see if he can figure out ways to get back on track with the diminished velocity.

Nick Lodolo: Since returning to the big leagues on July 5, the Cincinnati rookie has a 3.42 ERA with a 3.28 FIP in five starts covering 23.2 innings of work. The walks are still there with 11, but he’s also struck out 35 of 109 batters against the Mets, Rays, Cardinals, Marlins and Orioles, with four of those five starts coming in the hitter’s haven known as Great American Ball Park. Lodolo has only allowed two barrels in that span and a Hard Hit% of 37.9%, so he’s had good command to go with all of that swing and miss.

He doesn’t have the same ground ball rate this season as he’s had in previous minor league seasons, but if he can get back to more worm-burners, this is a phenomenal profile where the walks don’t even really matter. The Brewers have been a below average offense against lefties in four of the five months thus far, including a 93 wRC + in August, so Lodolo should match up fairly well here.

Mike Clevinger: A bonus one here because I wanted to take the Padres, but I’ll tell you why I can’t. Clevinger has a 3.13 ERA with a 3.61 FIP in his 60.1 innings this season. He’s been really good overall, but here are the teams he has faced: Rockies 3x (2x at Coors), Diamondbacks 3x, Mariners, Cubs, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers and Guardians. There aren’t a lot of good offensive teams in there. If you do remove the two Coors Field starts, he’s only allowed 15 earned runs in 53 innings of work, but none of those teams come remotely close to representing the Dodgers offense. He gave up four runs in his lone start against the Mariners. I really like Clevinger and I love the contact management numbers this season, but I couldn’t sell myself on him stepping up in class here.

Saturday 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

Blue Jays (-120) over Twins: I like the addition of Mitch White for the Blue Jays and we’ll see his Toronto debut today against the Twins. White has a 3.70 ERA with a 4.14 xERA and a 3.95 FIP in his 56 innings of work because he doesn’t have a ton of strikeouts and has a slightly elevated walk rate, but I really like what I’ve seen from him since he became a full-time starter and got into that routine.

Over his last seven starts, he’s allowed more than three runs just once in 35.1 innings of work. He’s a guy that has a strong Hard Hit% against at 33.1% and keeps the ball in the park very effectively. He’s only allowed three homers in those seven starts and gave up two in one game. In that span, his Hard Hit% is even slightly better than his full-season mark.

What I like more than White is Toronto’s offensive upside against Dylan Bundy. Bundy’s Hard Hit% is much higher than White’s at 39.2% and he draws the best offense in terms of Hard Hit% in all of baseball. Bundy has allowed 15 runs over his last 19.1 innings of work, including three home runs and only has 15 strikeouts against 83 batters. White should have more swing-and-miss upside here and should be able to limit hard contact better than Bundy.

I also like where Toronto’s bullpen is a bit better than Minnesota’s for this game. Flamethrower Jhoan Duran doesn’t get used back-to-back days often and he pitched yesterday. This would also be a fourth appearance in six games. Jorge Lopez threw 30 pitches yesterday. Michael Fulmer, who was traded this week, would also be working a fourth time in six days.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have one pitcher that has worked back-to-back days in Yimi Garcia, with most of their other arms pretty fresh after Monday’s off day and Tuesday’s limited action.

With a Blue Jays lineup that leads the league in batting average and is second in wOBA against RHP, I like their offensive projection and feel like White will be a solid addition, beginning with this start. I’ll lay the short Blue Jays price at -120.

Astros/Guardians Over 8.5 (-110): I think we’ll have some runs in Cleveland tonight. This is a 6:10 p.m. ET start, so it’ll be a touch warmer on a very hot and humid day in The Land. Luis Garcia is a fly ball guy whose best attribute is a strikeout rate that exceeds a batter per inning. The Guardians aren’t the best offense by any means, but they don’t strike out a whole lot.

Garcia has allowed 18 home runs this season and has allowed four or more runs in six of his 19 starts as a result. When you look at his starts with more runs, they’re against teams like Kansas City, Toronto and Cleveland, who all rank in the top 10 in K%. Cleveland’s lineup does look a lot different with players like Nolan Jones and Oscar Gonzalez in it, as they have a lot more power potential. I think we could see that on display in this game.

As much as I like Cal Quantrill’s throwback style, he’s got a 4.08 ERA with a 4.77 xERA and a 4.69 FIP. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats and has one of the lowest strikeout rates among ERA qualifiers. He’s allowed 10 runs on 14 hits, including four homers, in his last two starts against the Red Sox and Diamondbacks, so I don’t have high hopes for him against Houston. If we go back to July 5, he’s allowed 22 runs in his last six starts and that includes two starts against the White Sox and Tigers, who can’t hit right-handed pitching.

There will be a lot of balls in play in this game with some pretty optimal hitting conditions. I’m not keen on Cleveland’s bullpen right now, as the hodgepodge of failed starters has struggled in relief. Emmanuel Clase is the only trustworthy arm out there. He’ll get some work today because he hasn’t pitched since Monday, but we should be over the total by then. I like Over 8.5 at -110.

I’m tracking my picks in this spreadsheet HERE.

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