MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Tuesday 5/3

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 3, 2022 11:59 AM
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Offensively, every day feels like Groundhog Day across Major League Baseball. Even with just eight games yesterday, 12 out of the 16 teams scored three or fewer runs and three teams got shut out. Three games did go over the total and those were the three lowest totals on the board at 6.5, with two of them getting to just seven runs.

It sure feels like there is no end in sight for the offensive drought. It’s just the environment that we have for handicapping and it has forced a lot of adjustments on both sides of the counter. I hate to keep harping on it, both because it’s been talked about at length and because I, too, want the excitement of offense and home runs. But, hey, at least the league doesn’t have an image problem to worry about or anything.

Yesterday’s Recap

Diamondbacks/Marlins: More often than not, I get more upset leaving winners off of the card than making bad picks. I liked Arizona yesterday, expecting Zac Gallen to pitch well against the Marlins. My holdup was the bullpen. Well, Gallen tired in the seventh and gave up a couple and Noe Ramirez followed suit by giving up a couple more. Arizona held on, but it was very dicey, which was the very thing I was afraid of. When you evaluate your bets and thoughts the morning after, these are the types of things you think about.

Angels/White Sox: At the end of yesterday’s game, the White Sox had one batter in the lineup hitting over .246. It was leadoff hitter Tim Anderson. Chicago’s offensive output has been hampered by injuries, but the longer this team can hold on and not get buried in the AL Central, the better it will be for futures betting. Dylan Cease struck out 11 and only allowed one hit over seven innings and did so in just 93 pitches.

Mike Trout was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the game. It was the first time Trout struck out in all four plate appearances since Aug. 7, 2016. He’s struck out four times in five PA twice since then. Just in case you were wondering.

Twins/Orioles: Chris Paddack stayed hot and the Twins have won 10 of their last 11 games. Paddack gave up one run on four hits over 5.1 innings to lower his ERA to 3.15 with a 1.93 FIP. I still don’t know about the sustainability of this for Paddack. He allowed 12 hard-hit balls out of the 16 in play and the Orioles were 4-for-11 with a sac fly on them, so he got a bit fortunate. The Twins have increased his curveball usage, which is a positive given the results on his fastball. I remain skeptical, but do see why there has been progress.

Yankees/Blue Jays: Yesterday’s lone play was a winner on the under in this huge AL East matchup. Both teams were quite aggressive in this one, as the Blue Jays drew the game’s only two walks and 25 of 53 balls in play were 95 + mph. The Blue Jays were 1-for-8 with RISP again, a topic that I’ll write about for this week’s Point Spread Weekly. But, when you look at league-wide offense, these two teams and their respective hard-hit rates are the best indicators we have of just how bad it really is.

Mariners/Astros: Some of Marco Gonzales’s regression showed up on Monday with three runs allowed over six innings. That 4.50 ERA upped his season mark to 4.05, but he still has a 6.43 FIP, so it seems like there are more bad days ahead. He’s a guy that the market is looking to fade on the heels of a 2021 season in which he posted a 3.96 ERA with a 5.28 FIP. I think most of the notable line moves will come in road starts, so if you want to bet against him, do it the night before.

Rays/Athletics: Why shouldn’t we overreact to small sample sizes? Because the A’s have a .193/.254/.302 slash with a league-low .251 wOBA over the last 14 days. Water really does find its level over the course of 162 games and it took a much shorter period of time for the Oakland offense to completely bottom out and for this team to look as bad as most of us expected. They had two hits last night against Drew Rasmussen and the Rays bullpen.

Royals/Cardinals: I don’t really know what to make of Zack Greinke. He only had three whiffs on 46 swings yesterday, but still allowed just one run on three hits. Through five starts covering 28 innings, Greinke has a 2.57 ERA with a 4.04 FIP. He has only struck out seven of 107 batters, but has also only issued three walks. His Hard Hit% is almost 10% higher than any other season, but it hasn’t negatively affected him yet. His SwStr% is under 5%. But, somehow, he’s surviving. I don’t think this can continue, but it’s one of the weirdest pitching seasons I’ve ever seen.

Tuesday Resources

Weather: Rain is a factor in a few places, including Cleveland and Detroit. If the Guardians and Padres get the game in, winds will be blowing out to LF. Winds are also forecasted to blow out on a dreary evening in Denver. The Cubs/White Sox game has 20 mph winds blowing in from LF, hence the total of 6.5.

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

Braves (-120, 7.5) at Mets Game 2: We haven’t seen one yet because doubleheader are a little bit unique, but I’m thinking we ultimately see a line move here. As long as the Braves aren’t sitting guys, Kyle Wright has been outstanding and I don’t think most modelers have David Peterson rated all that highly. We’ll see what happens in Game 1, but I think we do see some Braves love here. (EDIT: Looks like the Mets swapped starters between G1 and G2 and I missed it - disregard this note)

Diamondbacks at Marlins (-185, 7.5): We’ve seen about a 30-cent line move on the Marlins here with Trevor Rogers toeing the rubber at home. Rogers, Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara all take money on a regular basis at home. There are groups that steam the Marlins 15 or more cents at home without a second thought. If you want to bet the Marlins at home, it means jumping on the line early.

Nationals at Rockies (-135, 10.5): There aren’t a lot of Erick Fedde believers out there, but here’s another case, much like Jordan Lyles and Zach Davies in recent days, of a pitcher that the market almost universally fades taking some money. This is a referendum on German Marquez, whose 5.57 ERA and 4.79 FIP signal just how poor his command has been this season. I won’t be on this game one way or another, but the early line move says volumes about the market perception of Marquez.

Twins (-165, 7) at Orioles: We’ve seen modest interest in Baltimore today. We saw some interest in Baltimore yesterday as well. I think market-shaping bettors aren’t sold on Minnesota and feel like the Orioles will improve based on the quality of their pitching. Fading Joe Ryan certainly isn’t easy right now, but some have taken the plunge. Also, it looks like this total will be going down to 6.5 with heavy under juice on the 7.

Pirates at Tigers (-140, 8.5): Here’s another one that piqued my interest with a bad pitcher taking a little bit of money. Bettors have taken a look at Bryse Wilson and the Pirates today. It has been a pretty small line move of just a few cents, but I feel like Wilson is regarded as one of the worst pitchers in baseball. That says a lot about not only Michael Pineda, but the slumping Tigers as well.

White Sox (-130, 6.5) at Cubs: I’m a bit surprised to see this line drop about 10 cents. The White Sox clearly aren’t playing very well, but they’ve been a team that has hit lefties very well in recent years and get one today in Drew Smyly, a guy that hasn’t inspired much market confidence. Perhaps this is a bit of a fade of Michael Kopech, who has a 1.42 ERA with a 4.61 xFIP, but this line move is one that caught me off-guard.

What I’ll Be Watching

Tyler Mahle: The Reds right-hander has a 6.45 ERA on the young season in five starts covering 22.1 innings, but he also has a 2.41 FIP and a 3.98 xFIP. Mahle has gotten extremely unlucky with a 54.1% LOB% and a .388 BABIP, though he has produced some of his own problems via the walk. He’s about as obvious as positive regression candidates get and Cincinnati could certainly use a strong start.

Paul Blackburn: Blackburn is off to an excellent start with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.58 FIP over his first 20 innings. For a guy with a career 5.18 ERA, it’s more than fair to wonder how sustainable these good performances are. Increased curveball usage has been a big separator to this point, but opposing batters are also hitting just .125 on 24 batted ball events against his sinker. He isn’t walking people, which is really beneficial in this offensive environment, but I feel like the shine will come off sooner rather than later.

Tuesday 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

Nationals/Rockies Over 10.5 (-115): Playing an over 10.5 in the current run environment might be ludicrous, but I have to see a few things through in this game. The Nationals have increased Erick Fedde’s curveball usage over the last two seasons and it has now become his primary pitch. The spin rate on the pitch is well below average and has yielded a .308 BA and a .462 SLG on 19 batted balls this season after a .217 and .380 split last year. The reason for this change is because Fedde’s sinker gets hit and gets hit hard.

In a start in Denver, that curveball is likely to be even less effective. Fedde may opt to try and use the sinker more in order to induce ground balls, but that would mean increasing the usage of his worst pitch. I don’t see any positives for him heading into this start.

I don’t see any for German Marquez either. He ranks in the 18th percentile in average exit velocity and 14th in Hard Hit%. This season, he’s also dealing with a drop in velocity from his first start of the season and his spin rates took a noticeable tumble in his last start. I see some injury indicators here and a hurt pitcher is not going to be at his best.

I see a lot of concerning signs for both pitchers going into a start in the toughest park to pitch, so I can’t help but take the over here, even if it is a double-digit number in a depressed offensive season.

Blue Jays (-125) over Yankees: Alek Manoah gets the call today for Toronto and this should be a good matchup for him. The Yankees remain a right-handed-heavy offense, with the exception of Anthony Rizzo, who has been great, Aaron Hicks, who walks a lot, but provides little value elsewhere, and Joey Gallo, who has been awful. Manoah has faced 281 right-handed batters in his young career and they’ve posted a .143/.224/.235 slash with a .212 wOBA and a 26.7% K%. Lefties have certainly fared better, but a .319 wOBA is not that bad of a platoon split.

Jameson Taillon has pitched well in his own right, but he’s faced Baltimore twice, Cleveland and Toronto. In that first start against the Jays, he gave up two runs on five hits, but had an average exit velocity against of 93 mph. He’s only struck out 11 batters in his last 14.1 innings of work, so he’s going to pitch to contact more than Manoah and the Jays are likely to make some authoritative contact.

Toronto was just 1-for-8 with RISP yesterday and continues to struggle terribly in that split, but they should get more chances than their opponents today. Both bullpens have performed extremely well this season, but I think the Blue Jays will be the ones with a lead to protect in this game, so I’ll lay the short price on Toronto.

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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