MLB Betting Picks: March 29, 2019
Baseball is a game of luck and variance. A round bat, a round ball, no clock and the human element make it less predictable than any other team sport.
But five games on tonight’s slate stand out as being more predictable than the others…
This game has the most contrarian value on the board tonight. The Red Sox have been deliberate about ramping up their pitchers in the hopes of keeping them healthy and effective for what they plan to be a seven month season. This includes not allowing starters to pitch early in spring training and gradually building their velocity as the season goes along.
Alex Cora blamed last night’s shellacking of Chris Sale on fastball placement, but his velocity was down and intentionally so. What will be the effect on Nathan Eovaldi, a pitcher whose claim to fame before Boston got their hands on him last year was his ability to reach triple digits at will? Eovaldi’s a bit of a reverse splits pitcher so right handed power bats like Edwin Encarnacion, Mitch Haniger, Tim Beckham and the like could be trouble if he holds back like Sale did last night.
Additionally, Boston has not invested in their bullpen this season, banking on the notion they can find relievers by shuffling through what exists in their system or acquire them more cost effectively in season. That means their bullpen is currently a work in progress by design and none of their relievers are making more than $2,000,000.
The Boston offense is still gangbusters, but their pitching may not be what we expect it to be for the first few weeks.
Tonight will be the first start for Seattle’s Japanese import Yusei Kikuchi who has the stuff of a solid #3, but historically pitchers coming across the Pacific have found early success until teams get a better handle on their delivery.
Pick: Over 8 runs
Robby Ray, who wore down a bit in the second half of last season, looked to have his ace-level stuff back in spring training. He’ll face a Dodgers team with significant right handed pop who set a major league record for home runs on opening day in Los Angeles where the weather won’t be a factor.
Ross Stripling will be toeing the rubber for Los Angeles tonight for the first five innings or so. The Dodgers have been extremely aggressive in keeping their young pitchers from facing the third time through the order tax and this Diamondbacks lineup has taken a step back from last year’s iteration with stars like Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock jettisoned.
Pitcher’s umpire Scott Berry will be calling the balls and strikes in the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine so don’t expect to see as many baseballs flying towards the Los Angeles police academy as yesterday.
Pick: Under 7 runs
Tigers Blue Jays
This should be another low scoring affair in Toronto. This are two subpar lineups, two slightly-above average starters and Angel Hernandez is one of the most extreme pitcher’s umpires in the game. Pick: Under 9 runs
German Marquez was the subject of tremendous debate in fantasy circles this offseason — his whiff rate demanded that he be drafted like the ace he was in the second half of 2018, but the historical numbers from hurlers performing in Coors Field said otherwise. Tonight none of that matters as Marquez gets a massive park upgrade against the horrific Miami lineup.
In the opposing dugout, Trevor Richards had a fair amount of success last season and the Rockies lineup isn’t terrifying on the road, but the Marlins bullpen is poor and the Rockies should start the season 2-0. Pick: COL -165
This game sets up to be an extremely low scoring affair as two very good starters, backed up by two very good bullpens, are facing off in a pitcher’s park with extreme pitcher’s umpire Dan Iassogna behind the dish.
Aside from the road venue, the Astros have every advantage as they face former teammate Charlie Morton. They have the better starter, better bullpen and better lineup. Pick: HOU -145
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