MLB Betting Picks: April 8, 2019
We’re looking at an eight game main slate without a lot of very obvious bets, but let’s run through the games and see what pops out…
Athletics at Orioles
Money Line: OAK -140
Marco Estrada has a 2.76 ERA in his first three starts for Oakland, but the underlying metrics in the admittedly small sample size are actually worse than when he was a replacement level pitcher for the Blue Jays last season. His 5.62 FIP and 7.30 xFIP are masked by an unsustainable .122 BABIP and 83.3% strand rate. He could manage to dance around the raindrops again tonight as the Baltimore lineup is nothing to fear, but I wouldn’t count on it.
If you’re betting the game, you want to take the A’s. Andrew Cashner has been a replacement level pitcher for three seasons now and he’ll be facing a powerful Oakland lineup benefitting from a rather large ballpark shift. Add in the bullpen advantage and the A’s should walk away with the victory tonight.
Yankees at Astros
Money Line: HOU -154
This start isn’t nearly as dangerous for Justin Verlander as the visitors pinstriped jerseys would suggest as the current Yankees lineup is a shadow of itself at the moment. New York’s lineup should have 6 or 7 right handed bats and the most dangerous of the bunch — Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez — haven’t been able to figure out Mr. Kate Upton in previous seasons.
Masahiro Tanaka’s been good in his first two outings of the season — he’s yet to surrender a walk — but this Astros lineup represents a significant step up in competition. Take the Astros at home.
Nationals at Phillies
Money Line: PHI -137
Anibal Sanchez faced this same Phillies lineup less than a week ago and was chased after four runs in the first four innings. I’d expect Philadelphia to knock him around again tonight.
Vince Velasquez will be making his first start of the season as he’s currently the sixth option for a five man staff. He still has the killer arsenal that has made him so appealing to fantasy owners, but his inefficiency and uneven results has led the whole to be less than the sum of his parts in his career to date. He’s still really tough on righties and this Washington lineup has a ton of them so take Philly at home.
Dodgers at Cardinals
Money Line: LAD -111
The Dodgers offense is on a ridiculous pace — their 84 runs in the first ten games of the season are the third most in the last 100 season — and we’re going to keep riding them against all but the best starters.
There are a few warning signs here though. First, this is the Dodgers’ first game at sea level following a three game series at Coors that ended last evening and teams leaving Denver tend to underperform in their first game as breaking stuff behaves quite differently than what they’ve been swinging at.
Secondly, they’re facing Miles Mikolas who is a control and command right-hander who’s more affected by umpire draw than most hurlers — if he gets squeezed, he could make an early exit. If it’s an umpire who will let him establish and consistently work an inch or so outside the zone this could be a very low scoring game.
If they draw a pitcher friendly umpire, I’ll take the under for the eight run total. Otherwise, I’m avoiding this game for betting purposes and stacking the Dodgers in GPPs — particularly at DraftKings where they’re coming at a discount — and targeting Paul Goldschmidt as a one off in daily fantasy as he’s 3-7 with a double and two home runs against Ryu over the past two seasons.
Mariners at Royals
Money Line: SEA -113
King Felix was shockingly effective in his first start of the season, but the Angels lineup has been flat bad so far so I’m going to chalk that up to a weak outing from the offense and a bit of landing on the right side of variance. Hernandez has trouble cracking 90 mph these days and I can’t trust him against a Royals offense that profiles decently against his arsenal.
Homer Bailey is working in a much better ballpark than he had access to with the Reds, but the Mariners offense has opened the year on a heater and while I can’t see it sticking for the season — Ryon Healy and Tim Beckham are a bit over their heads and the team’s lack of on base skills are concerning — I also wouldn’t bet on it stopping tonight.
In a season when seven American League teams aren’t trying to win, this game sets up to be emblematic of a lot junior circuit games this year — mediocre teams that a couple of seasons from relevance playing games that only their die hards care about. There is merit to using either offense as a “sneaky stack” if you’re throwing a lot of lineups into GPPs, but this game is a stay away from a betting perspective.
Braves at Rockies
Money Line: COL -122
On paper, this is a fantastic spot for the Atlanta offense as they’re traveling to elevation and facing a southpaw — they destroyed lefties last season. Kyle Freeland broke out last season with 17 wins and a 2.85 ERA, but he has only average stuff and pitched to a 4.22 xFIP so regression is to be expected. I’d be all in on the Braves if this weren’t their first game in Coors, but I may be overthinking things with that concern.
Atlanta will be throwing Julio Teheran whose velocity on a slow, steady decline for the past few seasons. He’s still tough on righties so if David Dahl can’t go, he exited Sunday night’s game with a core injury similar to the one that derailed his 2018 campaign, then the lineup should be manageable for a quality start.
I like the Braves here, but be careful as things can get bonkers on Blake street.
Padres at Giants
Money Line: SF -122
Eric Lauer threw five shutout innings against these same Giants on opening day and is facing them in a more friendly pitching park. Lauer isn’t a sexy pitcher, but he’s good at limiting hard contact nothing about the 2019 Giants offense is scary.
Madison Bumgarner has the tougher assignment as the Padres have a bunch of strong righies in their lineup — Wil Myers, Manny Machado, Hunter Renfroe, Fernando Tatis Jr, Franmil Reyes — but he went seven innings against the Friars on opening day giving up only two runs while striking out nine.
The total here is only seven runs, but given the matchups that under sure looks appealing.
Brewers at Angels
Money Line: LAA -103
Jhoulys Chacin and a killer Milwaukee bullpen are travelling to Anaheim to face Mike Trout and… not a whole heck of a lot less. Kole Calhoun may not play tonight and the Angels are already missing Justin Upton so the Halos will be counting on the white-hot Trout to carry their offense to even a greater degree than usual.
Trevor Cahill may have started opening day for the Angels, but that was by default as he’s no more than a 3 or 4 starter facing a dangerous Brewers offense who will likely add Eric Thames — who hit pinch hit home runs on Friday and Saturday — as their DH.
Milwaukee should be able to put a bunch of crooked numbers on the scoreboard and I don’t think the Angels have the firepower to keep up so take the Brewers.
Has a late scratch sent you scrambling for answers? Looking for a sharp GPP pivot or want to debate a matchup? Reach me on Twitter (@TheHyperCritic) for the advice you need to be profitable.
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