MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Sunday 4/24

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

April 24, 2022 11:52 AM
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Sunday means plenty of early baseball, but also means a new edition of The Run Line tonight from 8-10 p.m. ET with pinch-hit host Holden Kushner and myself talking all things MLB. It should be a lot of fun and I hope you get the chance to tune in. You can listen live HERE or subscribers can watch the live videostream HERE.

There isn’t a lot of time for pleasantries with these early Sunday starts, so let’s get to it. Don’t forget that if you want access to the full article, one way is to become a VSiN Summer Special subscriber for just $59 and get an all-access pass through July 31.

Yesterday’s Recap

Giants/Nationals: Those steaming down Nationals prices seem to be validated. The Nats have dropped four in a row and have been outscored 27-8 over those games. Interestingly, we had seen money come in against the Giants this morning, which we’ve come to find out is because of positive COVID tests for San Francisco.

Pirates/Cubs: As my good friend Kiev O’Neil from The Oddsbreakers tweeted at me, “Remember this one for your Pythagorean W/L next season”. A 21-0 victory sure will skew a run differential, as the Cubs are now + 20 in that department. With an enormous lead, Kyle Hendricks cruised through seven innings of shutout ball and only allowed two hits. My boy Zach Thompson is off to a rough start. The Cubs were 15-of-25 with RISP and vaulted to third in batting average with RISP. Fun day at the yard for them, but a win of this magnitude will create a few outliers.

Brewers/Phillies: Zack Wheeler’s velocity was just fine yesterday, but he still only had nine whiffs in 45 swings against the Brewers. He struck out five, but allowed four runs on seven hits. Even though the velo returned, something still isn’t right with him. The Phillies, by the way, fell to 6-9, despite being second in BA with RISP. The team ranks sixth in overall wOBA and has still struggled to win ballgames. The pitching and defense remain poor. Maybe they turn it around, but I felt like the Phillies were overvalued coming into the season and it has played out as expected. I just wish I had gone against them a little more.

Cardinals/Reds: Gave it the ol’ college try on the Reds yesterday, who lost by more than one run for the 11th time in 13 losses. They only hit four balls hard against Dakota Hudson and none against the Cardinals bullpen. They’ve scored 39 runs in 15 games and have lost 11 in a row. What a debacle. I won’t make that mistake again.

Tyler Mahle only gave up three hard-hit balls, as control was his problem in yesterday’s start. I still believe the angle is right with the Cardinals against righties with above average stuff, but the Reds offense was nowhere to be found.

Marlins/Braves: It was a wild game down in Atlanta, as the Marlins took home a 9-7 decision, despite going just 4-for-18 with RISP. There are a lot of takeaways here. Miami’s Elieser Hernandez allowed three home runs and gave up five runs on seven hits. He’s going to likely end up with some dramatic home/road splits when all is said and done. Atlanta’s Ian Anderson got through five, but allowed nine baserunners. It was the Braves bullpen that badly faltered, but Anderson wasn’t sharp. I still really like him, but the markets have isolated him as a guy to bet against. If you want to back the Braves on his day, I’d wait the line out a little. Jazz Chisholm Jr. finally led off, as Don Mattingly came to the realization that having your best hitters bat more often is a good thing. That ups the projection of this offense a little bit.

Mets/Diamondbacks: Cooper Hummel should be playing every day for Arizona, but also, guys like Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Christian Walker and Carson Kelly are all collectively swinging the bats poorly right now. Marte is a great player and the others have had their moments, but the Diamondbacks winning three out of the last four is not a fluke. This is a sign of positive regression towards the mean.

When we had the D-Backs on Wednesday for the 1st 5 against Washington, they came in batting .156/.277/.265 with a .257 wOBA and a 63 wRC +. Over the last four days, they’re batting .271/.327/.471 with a .350 wOBA. Neither side is sustainable, but they’d been so (pardon the pun) snakebitten that improvement was inevitable. That’s what I mean about looking for outliers.

Dodgers/Padres: Another strong start from Yu Darvish, whose huge spin rate decreases led to some pretty awful numbers from the start of July through the end of the regular season last year. Darvish struck out seven and only allowed one hit over six innings to the Dodgers. He only had eight whiffs, but the Dodgers also only swung 33 times in those six innings. The Dodgers have the second-lowest Swing% and lowest O-Swing% (chase rate) in baseball, so they’re being extremely patient at the plate. Sometimes, it’s to their detriment, like it was against Darvish, who typically minimizes hard contact and limits hits well.

Guardians/Yankees: Ugly ending aside, this game featured another quality start for Nestor Cortes and another disappointing Emmanuel Clase appearance. The Guardians bullpen is bad enough, but Clase needs to be good and he hasn’t been. Every game feels like a grind offensively for the Yankees. I will say that they have been one of the unluckiest teams on high-velocity contact, ranking 29th in SLG on batted balls of 95 + mph and 28th in BA. Given that their Hard Hit% is tops in the league, the tide has to turn at some point.

Rangers/Athletics: Frankie Montas was excellent again, but so was Martin Perez and the Rangers came away with a 2-0 victory over the A’s, whose offense has gone in the tank. Once again, an observation I wish I would have taken advantage of to a higher degree, but the prices also have to align with the thoughts and theories. Montas is really throwing the ball well. He’ll give this limited offense a chance every night and when he’s in a dog role, I’ll be a lot more interested than I will be in a favorite role.

Blue Jays/Astros: I’ve mentioned it a few times now, but the Blue Jays are a team significantly impacted by the run-scoring environment and the baseball. They had 17 hard-hit balls yesterday against the Astros and managed just three runs. They’re actually batting .506 with a .949 SLG on their high-velocity contact and rank second in HH%. They’re still hitting far too many ground balls and rank in the bottom 10 in average launch angle. But, as I mentioned yesterday, they’re still winning games. I think now might be a good time to invest in their futures because the summer should yield better offensive results and they’re already off to a good start.

Red Sox/Rays: Kevin Kiermaier hit his first career walk-off homer, but that wasn’t the story for me. It was Garrett Whitlock’s four dominant innings with seven strikeouts and just one hard-hit ball in his first start for the Red Sox. He only needed 48 pitchers to get through four innings. It was only one data point, but moving him to the rotation seems like a brilliant idea. I’ll be watching his prices closely.

Orioles/Angels: I got caught up in the day and didn’t make my Orioles bet, which is unfortunate because they pulled out a one-run squeaker. I would not take Baltimore today, as Dillon Tate and Jorge Lopez have now pitched three of the last four days and Joey Krehbiel has thrown 40 pitches in the last three days. Handicapping bullpen usage is vital.

Rockies/Tigers: I should have mentioned it yesterday and didn’t think of it until this morning, but the Rockies in Game 2 would have been almost a no-brainer after Game 1. There was the big Miggy ceremony and the blowout win in Game 1, so Game 2 was bound to be a letdown and it was. The Rockies did only win 3-2 and had plenty of issues of their own, but Austin Gomber was great and the Tigers were lifeless until they gave Alex Colome a real scare in the ninth. The Rockies only had 10 hits over two games. The Coors Field Road Effect is very real.

Sunday Resources

Weather: With the weather warming up, it will be very interesting to see how the ball travels. The humidor was expected to suppress power early in the year, but add power as it warmed up, so we could see big shift in power and carry in the not too distant future.

Stiff winds will be blowing in on an 80-degree day in Detroit, with breezes also blowing in at Yankee Stadium and in Cincinnati. Another day with winds blowing out at Wrigley Field has pushed that total up. We’ll also see helping winds out to LF in Minnesota, but it will be in the upper 40s there.

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.

Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox was carted off yesterday, as their injury woes continue. The initial guess is 6-8 weeks for him. News also broke this morning the Giants OF Mike Yastrzemski tested positive for COVID-19, so he’ll be out a few days.

Line Moves

Giants (-180, 8.5) at Nationals: As mentioned, Mike Yastrzemski tested positive for COVID-19 and somebody must have been tipped off, so this line jumped down a little bit at first and then moved down another 10-15 cents as the news went public.

Marlins at Braves (-125, 8.5): We’ve seen varying degrees of interest in the Marlins and Jesus Luzardo against Bryce Elder today. DraftKings has moved upwards of 20 cents, while other books opened lower and haven’t moved nearly as much. He’ll get a lot more love in his home starts in all likelihood, but this game merited a quick mention.

Pirates at Cubs (-155, 10): Some books opened as low as 9 here, but the windy conditions have pushed this total out to 10. This is just a reminder to get in the habit of always checking the weather in Chicago because the wind impacts the total far more than anything else.

Mets (-165, 8.5) at Diamondbacks: This is a “perfect storm” game where market confidence is high in Tylor Megill and low in Madison Bumgarner. When those things happen, you get a line move and that’s what we’re seeing. I do think the amount of buzz on Megill has elevated his prices already, so we may not get a ton of line equity going forward.

Blue Jays at Astros (-120, 8.5): The Astros are down to -120 with some investment in Yusei Kikuchi and the Blue Jays here. Kikuchi’s career numbers against the Astros are appalling, but the markets are siding with him, so that says a lot to me. As I mentioned previously, I don’t believe in team vs. pitcher splits, as the sample sizes against the current lineup aren’t nearly significant enough, but they can and will move lines and also be used as public justifications for bets. He has a 6.00 ERA in 11 starts and the Astros are batting .272/.356/.498. When I know something like that to be true and see a line move against that type of easy-to-follow stat, it says a lot to me.

What I’ll Be Watching

Lucas Giolito: Giolito threw four solid innings in his first start and then had to leave the game with an abdominal injury. He hasn’t thrown in a real game since April 8. In his last sim game down in Arizona, he threw about 50 pitches, so he was rehabbing the injury in warmer weather. I’ll be curious to see if he can get loose in chilly Minnesota and how he looks in this start. The White Sox really need the starting rotation to stay in tact and Giolito’s return is a big step forward after another step back yesterday with the Jimenez injury.

Sean Manaea: The knock on the Dodgers in recent years has been their performance against left-handed starters. They get Manaea today, but this also represents a step up in class for the southpaw as well. He has faced the Diamondbacks, Giants and Reds to this point. The Giants are a solid offense that got off to a slow start and the other two offenses have been among the worst in baseball.

Manaea has carried low walk rates throughout his career and the Dodgers have maybe been too patient this season at times, which makes this a really intriguing matchup.

Sunday 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

Rangers/Athletics Over 7.5 (-115): The Rangers will open with Garrett Richards and then send Spencer Howard to the mound as he returns from injury. It isn’t an ideal pitching setup for Texas, as Howard hasn’t pitched in two weeks after a blister/cracked fingernail situation and allowed six runs on six hits, including four homers, to the Blue Jays in his only start. Obviously the A’s are not the Blue Jays, but Howard has allowed 68 runs in 77 MLB innings.

Cole Irvin gets the call for the A’s, as the southpaw draws a lineup that has posted a .369 wOBA against lefties on the season. Texas has a lot of right-handed bats to throw out in this split and those numbers are strong, even with Marcus Semien off to a slow start against lefties. Neither bullpen excites me and the A’s are watered down even more with a key reliever like Lou Trivino on the COVID list.

We’ve seen a lot of unders this season and this is a park that does suppress offense, but I think these two lineups stack up well here.

Mariners Run Line -1.5 (+ 100) vs. Royals: I don’t generally like to play a lot of run lines, but this one makes sense in my opinion. You’ve got Robbie Ray on the hill for the Mariners against a Royals lineup that is batting just .215/.271/.335 to this point with the second-lowest BB% in baseball. As we know, Ray can get a little bit erratic, but the Royals just don’t have many patient hitters.

Ray’s first two starts came in cold, awful conditions against the Twins and White Sox, so his struggles were understandable. He neutralized a right-handed-heavy lineup with those aforementioned strong platoon splits when he bested the Rangers in his first T-Mobile Park start as a Mariner. Similar or better results are very possible here and would set the Mariners up nicely.

That’s because they are facing Carlos Hernandez, who has struck out one of the 41 batters that he has faced. He’s already allowed six barreled balls and seven runs on 14 hits in 8.2 innings of work. His Hard Hit% is above 43% and he’s generated very few swings on pitches outside the zone to this point. The Mariners rank in the top 10 in Barrel%, which could be problematic for Hernandez.

Seattle’s bullpen did get a workout yesterday and it’s been a bit of a mess without Paul Sewald. My expectation here is that Ray goes six or seven innings and seven is a distinct possibility because the Royals don’t walk and don’t really strike out, which should keep his pitch count down. That means that Seattle would have an easier time getting by with Drew Steckenrider and Andres Munoz rested and ready to go. Diego Castillo can also pitch back-to-back days after not being used Thursday or Friday.

All in all, I think there are enough reasons to expect Seattle to win by multiple runs, as the pitching matchup favors them greatly and their offense is clearly the better of the two.

With the article going behind the paywall, I’ll wait to fill in the picks on the tracking sheet HERE and we also have that new tracker coming at VSiN.com soon as well.

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