(Welcome to the latest edition of a new weekly feature for Fox Valley Magazine, Jeff’s Sports Bets. Local punter Jeff gives his methodology and picks each Friday for MLB games If you’re unfamiliar with betting, check out the introductory article, where Jeff begins by defining terms and discussing his process. Enjoy!)
Jeff’s Bets – Friday May 20, 2022
Well, we certainly did better than we did the week before, so let’s review the results:
Reds (Mahle) mline vs. Pirates (H) (M. Keller) – Over 8
Reds 8 – Pirates 2 = $81.81
Our statistical analysis worked well on this one and Tyler Mahle did, indeed, return to his 2021 season form.
Brewers (Burnes) rline vs. Miami (H) (P. Lopez) – Over 6.5
Brewers 2 – 1 = -$30
The Brewers failed to cover the run line spread and the score went well under.
Astros (Valdez) rline vs. Nationals (H) (Josiah Gray) – Under 8.5
Astros 6 – Nationals 1 = $90.00
It doesn’t get much better than this one!
Blue Jays (Gausman) mline vs. Rays (H) (Rasmussen) – Over 7
Rays 5 – Blue Jays 2 = -$30.00
Gausman wasn’t as sharp as he’s been but Rasmussen was.
Mets (Scherzer) rline vs. Mariners (H) (Gonzales) – Over 7.5
Mariners 2 – Mets 1 = -$30.00
Who would’ve thought Marco Gonzales would outduel the great Max Scherzer, but he did.
Orioles (Lyles) mline vs. Tigers (H) (Rodriguez) – Under 7.5
Tigers 4 – Orioles 2 = -$30.00
We managed to hit the under, but Detroit beat Baltimore so it’s a loss.
Padres (Darvish) mline vs. Braves (H) (Fried) – Under 7
Padres 11 – Braves 4 = -$30
With Darvish and Fried pitching, I’d bet the under every time.
Twins (H) (S. Gray) rline vs. Guardians (Dunning) – Over 8
Twins 12 – Guardians 8 = $96.19
Another nice win.
Giants (Webb) mline vs. Cardinals (H) (Hicks) – Over 7.5
Giants 8 – Cardinals 5 = $77.05
Another solid bet that worked out well.
Rockies (H) (Freeland) mline vs. Royals (Greinke) – Under 10.5
Royals 14 – Rockies 10 = -$30
I would bet on Colorado beating the lowly Royals at Coors field every single time, but we lost this time.
Angels (Silseth) rline vs. A’s (H) (Jefferies) – Over 8
A’s 2 – Angels 0 = -$30
Shutting out the powerful Angels lineup is not an easy task, but somehow the slumping Jefferies managed to do just that.
Dodgers (H) (Kershaw) rline vs. Phillies (Gibson) – Under 8.5
Phillies 12 – Dodgers 10 = -$30
What the heck happened to Clay Kershaw? Walker Buehler started in his place, and even though he’s quite good in his own right, he uncharacteristically gave up 5 runs in 5 innings which doomed the Dodgers’ chances.
Despite winning just 4 out of 12 bets, that puts us $105.05 to the upside which is a great demonstration of the power of correlated same-game parlays.
Let’s move on to today’s mostly evening games, but before we do, now that we’re more than 30 games into the season, let’s add another tool to our statistical arsenal – how teams fare against lefthanded pitchers. And once again, we’ll turn to the fine folks at FanGraphs for the data:
We’ll stick with OPS as the determining factor and this time we won’t have to change the date every day because we’ll use the entire season as our statistical basis. At a quick glance we can see that we probably wouldn’t want to bet against the Cardinals, Rockies, Phillies or Yankees with an opposing southpaw on the mound.
Cubs (H) (Hendricks) mline vs. D’backs (Castellanos) – Over 11
Given the you-never-know-what-you’re-gonna-get reality of Kyle Hendricks I came close to avoiding this one. But Hendricks has had two excellent outings and there’s no one I’d rather have on the mound at Wrigley when the wind will be blowing out to CF at 21 mph. In addition:
- The Cubs are 6 – 4 in the last 10 games with the D’backs are 3 – 7
- The Cubs bullpen is ranked 3rd in the last 2 weeks while Arizona’s is 22nd
- Hendricks’ ERA is a full run better at Wrigley Field
- Arizona is 4 – 8 against the Cubs in their last 12 meetings
Even though 11 runs is a steep over outside of Coors Field, we all know what can happen with the wind howling out to center at the Friendly Confines. Rest assured I’ll be watching this one.
Fanduel +251 = $75.60
Cardinals (Wainwright) rline vs. Pirates (Thompson) – Under 8.5
This was another tough bet, but we have enough evidence to proceed:
- The Cards are 6th in OPS (over the last week) while Pit is dead last
- Wainwright shut out the Pirates the last time he faced them
- The total has gone under in 6 of the Pirates last 8 home games
- Thompson is seeing a resurgence after a shaky season start
- St. Louis has scored 36 runs in the last week and the Pirates only 9
One of the perks of same-game parlays is you can choose your over/under total. When I placed this bet the O/U was actually 8 runs, but given the potential for Thompson to regress to the mean, I choose the 8.5 O/U, instead.
Draftkings +330 = $99.00
Marlins (H) (Rogers) mline vs. Braves (Morton) – Over 7.5
Every last stat points to the Marlins in this game, including, but not nearly limited to the picthers’ home and away ERAs. Considering loanDepot Park is typically a pitcher’s paradise, I almost went for the under, but both teams have been hitting the over at a brisk pace and the aging Morton’s 1.442 WHIP is troublesome. We also get a better payout betting on Miami.
Fanduel +308 = 92.58
Dodgers (Urias) mline vs. Phillies (H) (Suarez) – Over 8.5
We got burned on this matchup a week ago, but though it appears as if Urias got lit up, the Dodger’s defense let him down with three unearned runs. Meanwhile, LA has won five straight and all of the stats point towards a Dodgers’ victory. Add two mediocre to bad bullpens and we’ll take the over.
Draftkings +214 = $64.28
Rays (Beeks) mline vs. Orioles (H) (Wells) – Under 8.5
Wells’ lifetime 7.45 against the Rays and the Orioles difficulties getting men across the plate tells us all we need to know about this one. The fact that Meeks is clearly an opener with an uncharacteristically bad Rays bullpen gives one pause, but it’s not enough to get me to bet on Baltimore. The under has struck gold in the three games between these teams so we’ll go with it.
Draftkings +256 = $77.05
Yankees (H) (Cortes) rline vs. White Sox (Keuchel) – Over 8.5
I hate to bet against the Southsiders, but this one is too good to pass up. The Yankees crush the Sox in OPS, their bullpen is far better, and as previously noted, they destroy lefthanded pitchers. Keuchel has done alright in his last two outings, but I firmly believe it’s a regression to the mean illusion. Add the Bronx Bombers scoring 15 and 10 runs against the Sox a week ago to a shaky Sox bullpen and we’ll go with the over.
Draftkings +250 = $80.00
Red Sox (H) (Wacha) mline vs. Mariners (Robbie Ray) – Over 9
Boston’s bats have finally come alive as evidenced by their number one OPS ranking, Wacha is having a career year, and Ray is not. So, the Red Sox it is. With the total going over in 14 out of the last 15 meetings between these teams, two terrible bullpens, and the wind blowing out to left at 11 mph, the over is the obvious choice.
Fanduel +283 = $85.05
Blue Jays (H) (Ryu) rline vs. Reds (Castillo) – Over 8
The Jays have beaten the Reds in seven straight games at home. Ryu is finding his form after a forearm injury while Castillo’s still looking for his. The Reds are the MLB’s worst team against lefties, too. Eight runs between these two teams should be no problem.
Draftkings +294 = $88.25
Tigers (Skubal) mline vs. Guardians (Civale) – Over 8.5
All we really need to know is Skubal’s May ERA is a microscopic 0.95 while Mr. Civale’s sits at a whopping 8.71. Cleveland’s the second worst MLB team against southpaws, too. Normally this game would likely be an under, but with Civale’s capacity to give up runs and a 21 mph wind blowing out to CF, we’ll go with the over.
Draftkings +250 = $80.00
Nationals (Fedde) mline vs. Brewers (Lauer) – Over 8
There are times when a team is so undervalued that you have to go with the bigger money possibility. And it wouldn’t be a stretch to do that here because these teams’ OPS are virtually identical as are their subpar bullpens. Fedde’ having a breakout month while Lauer hasn’t displayed his typical reliability this season. With the Nats 13-4-2 in road game overs, the Brewers going over in 11 out of their last 15 games, and two mediocre bullpens, the over it is.
Fanduel +441 = $132.48*
*For this kind of odds-based bet, I’d typically drop the wager down to $25, but the stats still line up so nicely we’ll stick with our $30 limit.
Astros (H) (Javier) mline vs. Rangers (Perez) – Under 8.5
This one’s a bit tougher because Martin Perez is having a breakout year with a scant 0.93 May ERA. That said, Christian Javier is the best MLB pitcher you’ve never heard of, and if t weren’t for an uncharacteristically bad last outing, his ERA would be down there too. Meanwhile, Houston’s OPS is much better, their bullpen is better, the Astro have bested the Rangers in four out of their five games, and Houston is 10 – 4 at home. With two top hurlers and the total going under in all five games between these clubs. it’s the best bet.
Draftkings +210 = $63.02
Twins (Smeltzer) mline vs. Royals (Lynch) – Under 8.5
Considering the similar statistics, we would’ve left this one alone were it not for the Royals inability to hit southpaws. Since both pitchers are doing reasonably well, these teams have gone under in four of their last five games, and the wind will be blowing in from LF at 11 mph, I feel pretty comfortable with the under.
Fanduel +231 = $69.60
Alright! Let’s roll through our last three bets.
Mets (Carrasco) mline vs. Rockies (Marquez) – Under 10
With snow expected and temps in the high 30s this evening, we’ll go with a rare Coors Field under.
Fanduel +315 = $94.62
A’s (Blackburn) mline vs. Angels (Silseth) – Under 7.5
Much like the Nats – Brewers game, the slumping Angels are vasty overvalued today. And the total has gone under in 9 of the last 13 games between these teams. But this time we will drop the bet down to $25.
Draftkings +396 = $99.09
Giants (H) (Junis) mline vs. Padres (Manaea) – Under 8.5
I watched Junis pitch last week on MLB-TV and he’s the real thing. San Fran hits lefties well enough for the win.
Draftkings +210 = $63.00
We’ve done alright two out of the last three weeks, so let’s hope that trend continues.