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After a bumpy 2-day start, I’ve bounced back with three straight winning days in the MLB. Hopefully me mentioning it doesn’t jinx the small streak. It usually does, so perhaps fade the following picks at your own peril.
That said, I’ve found value in a battle between two elite franchises (Braves-Cardinals), an upcoming squad vs. an upgraded roster (Orioles-Rangers), and a contender vs. a dumpster-fire (Guardians-Athletics).
Atlanta Braves (3-1) at St. Louis Cardinals (2-2), 7:45 p.m. ET
Braves rookie starting LHP Dylan Dodd is making his MLB debut Tuesday. This is the 1st lefty starter the Cardinals have faced this year. One of my most profitable MLB angles in 2022 was betting St. Louis facing left-handed starters.
The Cardinals rank 1st in wRC+, wOBA and ISO and 2nd in BB/K vs. lefties since the beginning of 2022. They were 24-11 straight up (SU) against left-handed starters last season with the 2nd-best return on investment (ROI) at +23.4%.
Furthermore, St. Louis reigning NL MVP, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, and 7-time All-Star 3B Nolan Arenado are as good of a 3- and 4-hitter as there are in MLB.
Also, Goldschmidt’s wRC+ (266) vs. left-handed pitching was 166% higher than the MLB average and Arenado had a 160 wRC+ against lefties last season.
Per Pregame.com, more than 80% of the cash is on St. Louis. DraftKings Sportsbook has moved the Cardinals’ moneyline (ML) from -125 to -135 even though more than 60% of the action at their book is on the Braves.
St. Louis starting LHP Steven Matz is a middle-of-the-order guy with an awkward pitch arsenal. According to Statcast, Matz doesn’t throw a fastball and uses a sinker-changeup combination instead.
Matz isn’t a starter I’m necessarily high on but he’s a vet that had his best K/BB rate in 2022. Plus St. Louis’s setup man and closer didn’t pitch Monday so the bullpen is well-rested.
MLB Bet #1: Cardinals (-135) ML at DraftKings, up to -145
Baltimore Orioles (2-2) at Texas Rangers (3-1), 8:05 p.m. ET
Baltimore won the series opener 2-0 Monday despite losing RHP starter Kyle Bradish in the 2nd inning to an injury. Orioles RHP Tyler Wells filled in to throw 5-scoreless innings but was supposed to be Baltimore’s starter Tuesday.
The Orioles haven’t officially named their starter for Thursday but the line is moving towards Baltimore regardless. Texas opened as -150 ML favorites and are down to -130 at DraftKings as of 10:30 a.m. ET.
Per VSIN, more cash is on the Orioles wheres more bets have been placed on the Rangers at the time of writing. This is referred to as a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market and it’s usually wise to follow the money.
The Rangers send out 1st-year LHP Andrew Heaney who they signed this winter. Heaney career-bests in ERA (3.10), WHIP (1.09), and K/BB rate (5.8) while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
I’m not buying that Heaney’s 2022 results will carry into 2023. LAD is a top-notch organization and Texas is a heavy spender in free agency once every few years, usually picking up players like Heaney.
The Orioles will most likely use a bullpen day. Typically, I’d fade teams doing this the game after their starter goes down with an injury. But, Wells’ 47 pitches Monday preserved Baltimore’s bullpen.
Ultimately, my Orioles-Rangers handicap boils down to this line being suspicious in the 1st place, pros backing Baltimore and me liking the Orioles as a fringe playoff contender coming into 2023.
MLB Bet #2: Orioles (+110) ML at DraftKings, down to -105
Cleveland Guardians (4-1) at Oakland Athletics (1-3), 9:40 p.m. ET
The Guardians won the series opener with the Athletics in a 12-11 extra-inning thriller. Cleveland sends ace RHP Shane Bieber out to the mound Tuesday and Oakland gives LHP J.P. Sears the nod.
I whiffed backing Cleveland with Bieber on the bump on Opening Day but that wasn’t Bieber’s fault. He threw 6-scoreless innings with a 3/0 K/BB rate in a 3-0 loss at the Seattle Mariners.
With that in mind, I’m going back to the well with Bieber because he’s one of the five best starters in the AL and a profitable “spot” for him. Get ready for boring trends…
Since the beginning of 2021, the Guardians are 17-5 SU and 14-8 Run Line (RL) as road favorites with Bieber on the bump. They have a +34.2% ROI on the RL in those games.
As road favorites of -150 or greater with Bieber as the starter over that span, Cleveland is 9-5 RL with a +27.4% ROI. The Guardians are 11-3 RL with a +45.4% ROI in Bieber road starts since 2021 when the total is 7 or less.
Finally, both teams used a lot of relievers Monday. However, Cleveland has a much deeper pitching staff and Bieber has the stuff to shutdown Oakland’s lineup for at least six innings.
MLB Bet #3: Guardians -1.5 (-110) Run Line at DraftKings, up to -115
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