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I’ve said once and I’ll say it a million times: We need football to return. This website, this country, me personally, everyone misses football. In the dog days of summer, the only sport to bet is MLB.
This MLB season has been a nightmare for me from a betting perspective. Coming into Friday, July 28th, my MLB record sits at 56-62 and my bankroll is -10.20 units (u).
Frankly, if you’re reading this and think: “I should definitely fade this moron,” I wouldn’t blame you. You can see below that I did my homework but that hasn’t mattered thus far in the MLB season.
Either way, I’ve had a week to cool off after dropping my last hot stinker and I’m ready to tackle …
MLB’s Friday Slate
- Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Philadelphia Phillies (55-47) at Pittsburgh Pirates (45-57)
- First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET.
- Ball park: PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Ace RHP Zack Wheeler (7-5, 3.88 ERA) is on the bump for the Phillies Friday. The Pirates counter with All-Star RHP Mitch Keller (9-6, 4.01 ERA) who’s been trash since the All-Star game.
In 11 IP thus far in the 2nd half of the season, Keller has allowed 14 ER on 5 HR with an 8/3 K/BB rate. Wheeler has two quality starts (6 IP or more with 3 or fewer ER) but is 0-1 in those outings.
According to FanGraphs, Wheeler is 9th in Stuff+. He’s in the top 80th percentile for several advanced pitching metrics such as chase rate, BB%, exit velocity, and expected slugging percentage, per Statcast.
Wheeler’s K% in 26 plate appearances (PA) vs. current Pirates batters is 10.2% higher than Keller’s 66 PA vs. Philadelphia’s current lineup, per Statcast. Wheeler’s expected slash line is .178/.226/.305 in those PA while Keller has a .381/.506/.769 xBA-xwOBA-xSLG.
Neither lineup excels vs. right-handed pitching but Pittsburgh’s is worse. The Pirates rank 25th in wRC+, 26th in wOBA, and 23rd in hard-hit rate against righties, according to FanGraphs.
Lastly, Philly’s bullpen is 7th in both WAR and FIP (“fielding independent pitching”), per FanGraphs. FIP is pitching’s most predictive stat because it removes ball-park factors and bad pitching luck. Pittsburgh’s relief pitching is 20th in WAR and 22nd in FIP.
MLB BET #1: 1.55u on Phillies (-155) up to -165 at DraftKings
Minnesota Twins (54-50) at Kansas City Royals (29-75)
- First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET.
- Ball park: Kauffman Stadium in Missouri.
The Royals are the punching bag of the AL Central and that’s saying a lot considering how bad that division is this year. They are 10-27 vs. divisional foes in 2023 while the Twins are 21-12. Minnesota is 9-1 vs. KC this season as well.
Twins All-Star RHP Sonny Gray (4-4, 3.15 ERA) has dominated Kansas City since entering the AL Central last season. Minnesota is a perfect 5-0 in Gray’s five starts vs. the Royals over the past two seasons.
In those outings, Gray has a 0.60 ERA (30 IP with 2 ER) and a 30/7 K/BB rate. Four of Gray’s last five starts vs. Kansas City have been quality starts. Gray’s 2.90 FIP is lower than his ERA, which suggests he’s running on the bad side of pitching variance.
The Twins raked Royals RHP Brady Singer (6-8, 5.55 ERA) earlier this season. Singer gave up 8 ER in just 2.2 IP with a 5/3 K/BB rate. Singer has a 7.43 ERA in his last five starts vs. Minnesota dating back to 2021.
Kansas City needs a solid outing from Singer because of its terrible bullpen. The Royals’ relievers have the 3rd-worst ERA in MLB (5.17) and are 22nd in WAR.
On top of that, Minnesota’s lineup is top-10 vs. right-handed in pitching in wRC+, wOBA, and ISO, according to FanGraphs. Whereas K.C.’s lineup is in the bottom-10 of those advanced hitting stats.
MLB BET #1: 1.65u on Twins (-165) up to -175 at DraftKings
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