Major League Baseball

From the Betting Window, 5/11/19: Perfect night for Astros’ bats to break out?

From the Betting Window

Friday 5/10/19 Picks & Results:

Angels/Orioles Over 11 -110: PUSH (+0.0 units)

Yankees/Rays Under 7 -110: PUSH (+0.0 units)

Twins Runline -1.5 -115: WIN (+1.00 units)

What we learned on Friday…

…that jumping on lines as soon as possible is important. The total for the Angels-Orioles game opened at 10.5 before climbing to 11. The Yankees-Rays total opened at 7.5 before being bet down to 7. By the time I handicapped every MLB game and made my picks, I wound up getting the worst possible lines for those matchups. Granted, a push (or in the case of Friday night, two pushes) is not a loss and sometimes the numbers move so quickly that unless you’re standing inside a Vegas sportsbook when odds are released, you can’t take advantage of an early line anyway. Nonetheless, yesterday was an important reminder that when you place your bet is sometimes just as important as who you’re betting on.

Saturday 5/11/19 Pick’s:

925 New York Yankees at 926 Tampa Bay Rays, 5:10 p.m. CT

After pushing on the under last night, I’m going back to the well on Saturday evening. The Rays have one of the more underrated offenses in baseball, but they haven’t had as much success against lefties as they have against right-handed pitchers. Tampa Bay’s projected lineup tonight owns a 25.4% strikeout rate against left-handers this season. Given that CC Sabathia is a southpaw and he’ll make his start tonight at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field, I feel good about the Yankees’ pitching staff (which includes an outstanding bullpen) keeping the Rays’ offense in check. (The under is also 5-2 in Sabathia’s last seven starts against the Rays and is 5-1 in his last six road starts versus Tampa.) On the other side, Ryne Stanek is projected to open the game for the Rays before Yonny Chirinos pitches the bulk of the innings. Chirinos has pitched well this season, allowing more than three earned runs just once in his seven outings. The Yankees continue to rake even without Giancaro Stanton and Aaron Judge, but they only scored four runs last night and see a major park downgrade this weekend in Tampa.

The Pick: Yankees/Rays Under 8 +100 (1.0 units to win 1.0 units)

927 Texas Rangers at 928 Houston Astros, 7:10 p.m. CT

The Rangers have adopted the “opener” strategy and will send Jesse Chavez to the mound tonight in Houston before Drew Smyly takes over. Whatever. Even if Jose Altuve (leg) doesn’t play tonight, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa should feast on Texas’ pitching tonight. Smyly struggles against righties and Houston’s lineup is stacked with right-handed power hitters. After scoring only four runs on Thursday and three runs last night, I expect the Astros’ bats to go off tonight at Minute Maid Park.

The Pick: Astros Team Total Over 5.5 Runs -105 (1.05 units to win 1.0 units)

913 Washington Nationals at 914 Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:10 p.m. CT

It’s tempting to take the Nationals as an underdog with Max Scherzer starting, but Washington is 0-5 in his last five outings. That’s not to suggest that Scherzer has pitched poorly. He owns elite strikeout (33.3%) and walk (3.7%) rates and while he has been hit hard in the early going (his hard contact rate is up to 37.6%), Scherzer has also been extremely unlucky (his BABIP is .377 on the year). Thus, even though the Dodgers have one of the best offenses in baseball, I’ll gladly take my chances with the under with Scherzer on the hill. I feel the same way about L.A. starter Walker Buehler, who has gotten off to a slow start in 2019 but is also facing a depleted Washington lineup. This is the Nationals’ run production over their last 10 games: 0, 6, 3, 0, 3, 1, 10, 2, 2 and 1. That breaks down to an average of 2.8 runs per game over that span and if you remove the 10-run game at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park on May 4, that average drops to 2.0. The under is a perfect 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams at Dodger Stadium and is 10-4-1 in the last 15 meetings overall. The under is also 8-3-1 in Scherzer’s last 12 starts and is 8-3 in their last 11 games overall.

The Pick: Nationals/Dodgers Under 7 -110 (1.10 units to win 1.0 units)

2019 Betting Results

MLB: 17-14-3 (+2.15 units)