MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Wednesday 5/18

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

May 18, 2022 12:22 PM
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I’ve come to find out that increased sample sizes can be a blessing and a curse. The dead ball was more of a read and react situation early on in the season. Because we have stronger and more predictive sample sizes, I’ve gone back to old practices, like looking for positive and negative regression through Hard Hit%, BABIP and other indicators of contact quality. This, however, is a season unlike any other and maybe those methods won’t be as fruitful.

This could be an exercise in overthinking because the article best bets are in a bit of a slump over the last few days and I’ve been fighting with myself on what makes the cut and what doesn’t. Naturally, the leans or the high-priced moneylines have come through, while the tracked plays have not. You’ll battle ups and downs like this when betting any season, but baseball especially. The goal is to not let it snowball out of control and wipe out any gains you’ve made or exacerbate any losses you’ve already had.

I’ll discuss more in the recap, as trying to clear my head and look at the present over the past and future is today’s goal.

Yesterday’s Recap

Diamondbacks/Dodgers: In the first scheduled doubleheader in forever at Dodger Stadium, the home team won both games, including a resounding 12-3 win over Merrill Kelly in Game 2. Kelly’s regression hit in a huge way, allowing eight runs on five hits with four walks over just two innings. Regression is easy to forecast, but hard to nail down. All of the sudden, Kelly’s 3.27 ERA is now higher than his 2.95 FIP and looks closer to his 3.76 xERA. Sometimes regression happens very fast and other times it is a more gradual process. This was the former.

Nationals/Marlins: The Nationals offense has gone back in the tank. Washington scored score two or fewer runs in five of the last six games, with a 13-run outburst in the middle. Because of the pitching, this team, much like the Phillies, needs at least five or six runs per game to have a good chance at a win. If you see a low offensive projection on Washington, like today with Pablo Lopez on the mound for the Marlins (or this weekend facing Eric Lauer, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta), you have to think it will be extremely tough for them to have any chance at a win.

Padres/Phillies: If MacKenzie Gore is going to piggyback certain starters now as a long-relief weapon, he’s going to be extremely valuable to this San Diego club. Gore threw three shutout innings in relief of Mike Clevinger in the 3-0 win over Philadelphia. If it’s Clevinger he’s going to follow, that is a really tough matchup.

Cardinals/Mets: Miles Mikolas threw another quality start for the Redbirds, but did allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings. Only two were earned, but he allowed 10 hard-hit balls. I’m still targeting him as a fade guy in road starts against good offenses, so hopefully we can get some winners with that angle. Doubleheaders are important for monitoring bullpen usage throughout the week, so keep an eye on these two teams, specifically the Mets, who got nine relief innings yesterday and used just about everybody in the pen.

Pirates/Cubs: Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) tweeted this excellent nugget. The Cubs are + 30 in run differential against the Pirates and -25 against everybody else. They have a .777 OPS and a 2.28 ERA against Pittsburgh, but a .652 OPS and a 4.33 ERA against the other teams they’ve played.

As an aside, Joel Luckhaupt tweeted the splits for the Reds, who are + 15 against the Pirates with a 2.79 ERA and -79 with a 6.78 ERA against everybody else.

Braves/Brewers: The Braves offense continues to mystify me. They managed just one unearned run and four hits against Adrian Houser, but did manage to win the game by shutting out the Brewers. Houser had six strikeouts and only allowed four hard-hit balls. I just cannot figure out what Atlanta’s offensive issues are, outside of the high K%, but teams have overcome that before. Even though I think the Braves are a play-on team, it makes them hard to bet right now.

Giants/Rockies: This is the game that I’m mad at myself about from yesterday. All along, I’ve screamed from the rooftops to fade Chad Kuhl. With the Giants a reasonably priced favorite with a huge pitching advantage, I didn’t do it and San Francisco won 10-7. I saw some stuff on Twitter about Kuhl’s slider and how the pitch has been grading and I let it influence my thinking enough that I stayed away. He allowed six runs on eight hits in three innings.

Alex Cobb wasn’t much better, but this was a missed opportunity and fading Kuhl will only get more expensive as he keeps throwing out these starts.

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