NFL Sunday certainly overshadows MLB Sunday, but there are still some interesting games to consider. Today’s MLB picks/analysis piece will be a little bit different. Normally, I give a lot of in-depth analysis on just a few games. Today, in honor of the Rapid Fire Rundown on our NFL podcast, The Gridiron Gambling Report, I will give out a pick and a brief explanation for all of the games on the board. Let’s see what we can find for Sunday.
If you don’t already have an account at BetDSI, head on over there and take advantage of the exclusive 300 percent deposit bonus by using the promo code ‘BANG300’. Consider making an account for our forums and chat with like-minded sports betting enthusiasts. Compare picks, compare notes, lament losses, and celebrate wins with other handicappers all in one fun and friendly environment. Finally, let us track your picks in our Sports Monitor. Upload your picks, track your results, and, once football season returns, enter our free contests.
Toronto at New York (AL) (-140); Total: 8.5
The Blue Jays are looking for a sweep in this one and they have dramatically changed the dynamic of the AL East race by looking so good this weekend. I doubt anybody has noticed, but RA Dickey owns a 2.68 ERA over 74 innings in the second half and has lowered his SLG against by 85 points. I don’t know if it’s sustainable, but it’s big for this team. Masahiro Tanaka has the ability to be dominant. I like the under in this one with a groggy early start and two pitchers throwing the ball well.
Rich Hill. Yes, he’s still relevant. Hill was brought in as starting depth for the Red Sox in the minors and has actually managed to throw 32.1 innings over five starts. The Red Sox experimented with Hill as a starter in 2012 as well and he worked his way back into the organization. The market has sucked all of the line value out of this game, as the Rays dominate left-handed pitching. I’ll go with the over in this matchup, since Smyly is still working his way back after the shoulder injury that zapped most of his season.
The Cardinals are trying to avoid a sweep here against Cincinnati’s best pitcher. Raisel Iglesias has a 4.18 ERA, but a 3.62 FIP and a 3.26 xFIP. He’s getting stronger in his rookie season in the Majors and has an excellent strikeout rate. The Cardinals are really mired in a slump right now, but offensively and pitching-wise. Their big three of Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez is wearing down. Wacha had a start skipped prior to his last start and returned to give up six runs over four innings.
I’ll take St. Louis here, however, as the Reds have already won the series and won’t have as much urgency for this day game.
The Marlins are the value side here because Max Scherzer has not been pitching well and the Nationals have folded the tent. It’s a hard bet to make, but this game is Miami or nothing.
It’s been a terrible weather weekend in Cleveland with rain throughout. The Indians won on Thursday and the teams have had two days off. It’s a tough spot for the Indians to start Trevor Bauer in Game 1 because if he has control problems or gets shelled, it will hurt the bullpen for the rest of the day. I expect the Tigers to be fully engaged for Game 1, so the lean on this game goes to Detroit.
Are the Mets content with what they’ve done in this series so far? If so, the Braves are the play. I don’t think that’s the case, though. The Braves also struggle badly with lefties, so Jon Niese is actually a solid look in this one. I hate laying the big price and I rarely go above -140, so I’d like to the -1 in this game if you have a book that offers that.
Taylor Jungmann is getting no respect in this game. Unfortunately, he can only help his cause so much offensively. The Brewers have one of the league’s worst offenses against lefties and Francisco Liriano is one of the best that the NL Central has to offer. I’ve suggested that Jungmann has some regression coming with a 2.87/3.30/3.99 pitcher slash. He gave up six runs in 3.2 innings against Miami last start. Is that a sign of things to come? It could be. But, there’s no value in either side for this game. If Jungmann’s regression stays away, the under could be a play.
Dan Haren is -180 chalk in a pretty good hitter’s park as a fly ball guy with a home run problem. That’s pretty scary. I’m not sure how interested the Phillies will be for this matchup, but any level of interest at all would make me side with them. The problem is that I cannot gauge their motivation level for this game. Yesterday was a long day for both teams. A team like the Cubs will keep fighting because they have something to play for.
This is a pass game for me. Gun to my head, I’m taking Philadelphia in hopes that Haren gets rocked.
Chris Sale is elite. Nobody will disagree with that. Kyle Gibson is nowhere near elite. Nobody will disagree with that either. But, I feel like Gibson could have some success here with the early day game and with the White Sox not too concerned with putting up support for their ace. I see this as a 3-1 or 3-0 type of game one way or another. The White Sox have not mailed it in as I expected that they would, so that’s a positive for Chicago backers. The Twins, in a relative sense, have actually had some success against Sale in the past. I’d still look at the under.
This line move doesn’t surprise me at all. Felix Doubront has been adequate for the Athletics and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez has not for the Rangers. Gonzalez pulled the wool over some eyes with a terrific start to his career with just three runs allowed in 30 innings over four starts, but he now owns a 4.25 ERA, 4.91 FIP, and 5.01 xFIP. The Rangers also struggle with lefties, so don’t expect Gonzalez to get a whole lot of run support in this one.
I like the Athletics, even though the Rangers have a lot more to play for. This pitching matchup actually favors Oakland, which is crazy to say with Doubront on the mound, but it’s true.
Mike Fiers and Andrew Heaney is a quietly good pitching matchup. The Angels are looking for a sweep in this series and that was one of the concerns that I expressed on The Bettor’s Box last week. I was worried about how Houston would look in pressure situations down the stretch and they are falling flat right now. But, I love this matchup for Houston, so I’m taking the Astros.
Mike Fiers is a fly ball guy who should have success in Anaheim, even with the slightly different daytime conditions. The Angels are an aggressive lineup and that plays right into Fiers’s hands because he likes to nibble at the top of the strike zone with his fastball. I really like Andrew Heaney a lot as well, so this total surprises me in a big way, but I feel like Heaney’s lack of strikeout stuff will hurt him here. So I’ll take Houston.
San Diego at San Francisco (-170); Total: 7.5
Odrisamer Despaigne returns to the Padres rotation to face off against Mike Leake. Leake’s hopes for adding to his offseason contract value have taken a big hit with how things have gone down the stretch with the Giants. Leake missed time with a hamstring and the Giants fell out of the race. I like the under in a big way in this one. Leake is hoping to recoup some lost value and Despaigne will pitch to contact against a team on a quick turnaround from yesterday’s game. I’d look for a lot of early-count swings in this game.
Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin is a very interesting pitching matchup. Greinke has some stats that jump out as being unsustainable, like his LOB%, but he has sustained them for 5.5 months now, so he’s bucking some trends. The Dodgers aren’t great against lefties, though they have improved throughout the season. Corbin is throwing the ball extremely well right now with a 3.32/3.78/3.20 pitcher slash. The really strong K/BB rate and K spike are really good signs for him going forward.
I can’t bet against Greinke, but I understand those that like Corbin. I’d also appreciate having the Diamondbacks bullpen at +140 against the Dodgers bullpen if this game is close. I think the Diamondbacks will step up to face a guy like Greinke, so I do think we get their best effort.
I get it. Colorado is horrible and James Paxton is left-handed. But, Paxton is returning from a finger injury to make just his 11th start of the season at the big league level. He last pitched in a MLB game on May 28. Kyle Kendrick is bad, but there’s no chance of me laying -180 on a pitcher with questionable control returning from the DL to pitch at the Major League level because the Triple-A season is over.
I’d seriously consider Colorado and the over in this one. It’s a hard bet to make, but Paxton returning with these circumstances does not justify a line this big. The line value is undoubtedly on Colorado.
Detroit at Cleveland (-190) Game 2; Total: 9
Randy Wolf and Cody Anderson are slated to go in this one. Doubleheaders are always tricky because you don’t know the lineups or the motivation for both teams. If the Tigers lose Game 1, I think they fold in Game 2 and just want to get out of town. If the Indians lose Game 1, they have a lot more urgency in Game 2. I do think there’s some slight value on the under, with a lot of early-count swings and balls in play in this game. There won’t be many free baserunners.
Johnny Cueto has struggled thus far for Kansas City. Cueto’s strikeout drop and some very unfortunate batted ball and sequencing luck have led to a 4.86 ERA. Who would have thought that Cueto’s performance would drop so much given the Royals defense? It’s hard to expect that to continue, which is why I love this spot for Cueto and the Royals. The Orioles really aren’t a factor in the playoff race. While they’re trying to mound a comeback, I don’t see it, and they don’t either.
Take the Royals here. Wei-Yin Chen has some command issues and some LOB% regression that could hit over his last few starts and a contact-based offense is going to affect him. His best asset is that he hasn’t walked people, but hittable pitches in the strike zone have been punished.