Season Results: My win streak is now up to 12 in a row following another 3-0 day on Saturday. The gambling gods will strike with a fury at some point but as of now, I’m enjoying this run and I hope you’re enjoying this new column. As for yesterday, the Blue Jays and Yankees combined for 17 runs in the Bronx, easily cashing the over of 9. My Cubs-Pirates under looked shaky at the start when the clubs combined to score four runs in the first three innings but Chicago and Pittsburgh posted goose eggs in the final six frames. Finally, the hometown Cards cruised to a 7-2 victory as a home favorite after falling behind 1-0 early. My season record now stands at 20-5.
Here’s what I like on Sunday…
917 Toronto Blue Jays at 918 New York Yankees, 12:05 p.m. CT
These two teams lit up the scoreboard in the first two games of this series but I like the under in Sunday’s matchup. J.A. Happ is striking batters out at a 26.5% clip and has limited hard contact to 30.7% – two stats that often benefit under bettors (strikeouts keep hitters off the base paths and pitchers that can generate a lot of soft contact rarely get pounded). On the other side, Ryan Borucki isn’t as good as his 3.29 ERA would suggest (his xFIP currently sits at 4.74), but he does an excellent job generating ground balls (47.4%), which is vital pitching in a hitter’s park like Yankee Stadium. Despite 52% of the betting tickets currently on the over, over 70% of the money is on the under. Finally, the umpire in this game is Hunter Wendelstedt. In his 21 games behind the dish this season, the under is 14-7 (66.7%). Taking the under in Yankee home games is a risk but I see plenty of value here.
Prediction: Blue Jays/Yankees under 8.5
907 Colorado Rockies at 908 Atlanta Braves, 12:35 p.m. CT
Don’t be fooled by German Marquez’s 4.51 ERA. He’s been excellent this season, generating a strikeout rate of 25.0%, a walk rate of just 8.0%, and a ground ball rate of 47.5%. Home runs (20) have been an issue for Marquez, who will need to navigate past a couple of tough matchups in Atlanta’s lineup. Still, the under is a perfect 4-0 in his last four starts and is 3-1-1 in his last five road outings so I expect him to pitch well today away from Coors Field. Meanwhile, Anibal Sanchez has gone from former punching bag to legit starter again. He owns a 3.07 ERA, a 24.3% strikeout rate, a 7.6% walk rate, a 44.6% groundball rate and a 28.5% hard contact rate, all of which benefit under bettors. Speaking of the under, in Doug Eddings’ 23 games behind home plate this season, the under is 16-7 (69.6%). Everything sets up for a low-scoring game in Atlanta this afternoon.
Prediction: Rockies/Braves under 8
923 Kansas City Royals at 924 Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m. CT
Heath Fillmyer currently owns a 3.61 ERA but it’s a mirage. He’s had a ton of batted-ball luck in his 10 games this season (.254 BABIP), while his FIP is 4.96 and his xFIP is 5.21. His strikeout rate is just 13.5%, which means the ball is being put into play a ton. It’s also coming off the bat hot (37.7% hard contact rate) so that ERA is coming up at some point. Meanwhile, Reynaldo Lopez gets a great matchup against a light-hitting Royals team but he too is getting hit hard (34.0%) and he’s not missing many bats either (16.1% strikeout rate). Throw in a tendency to give up a fair amount of fly balls (34.2% ground ball rate) and we have the makings of a high-scoring game. The over is 4-1-1 in Lopez’s last six starts against the Royals, is 8-2 in his last 10 outings overall, and is 6-1 in the Royals’ last seven road games.
Prediction: Royals/White Sox over 9
Season Prediction Records
MLB: 20-5 (+1,450.00)
*Based on projected $100.00 wagers