Game 7 of the NBA Finals certainly provides a different dynamic in the handicapping markets today, but the fact that it’s Father’s Day probably leads to a lower handle than your average Sunday in the summertime. Then again, dads and granddads trying to get down on the game before they attend with their sons or daughters could be at an all-time high. In any event, there are some wagering opportunities present for this Sunday slate.
Looking back at yesterday’s results, it was a bad day for baseball betting. There were no strong plays in yesterday’s write-up and the leans that were present went down in flames. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes there just aren’t any betting options, even with a full slate of games. It was a good lesson in discipline and hopefully you exhibited some on Saturday.
Our focus, as it always is, will be on the games that provide a lot of line value and those that give us the opportunity to dig deep and find the wagering angles and betting tips that will produce winners.
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Per usual, the games with big lines will be overlooked, unless there is something particularly noteworthy about them or a play on the underdog is a possibility. Also, day games are usually skipped due to the lead time of the article. That will not be the case on Thursdays or Sundays when there are a lot of day games.
Colorado at Miami (-120); Total: 8
We’ve got a lackluster pitching matchup in South Beach, but sometimes those are the best games to wager on. Tyler Anderson gets the call for the Rockies against Tom Koehler for the Marlins. Anderson was absolutely brilliant in his MLB debut against the Padres last week with six strikeouts, no walks, and just one run allowed in 6.1 innings of work. We’ll have to see how he fares against a Marlins lineup that does better a little bit better against lefties than it does against righties.
Anderson is a pretty standard lefty, with only 17 innings of Triple-A experience. He missed all of 2015, so that stunted his development curve a little bit, but he’s been a guy with pretty good control and solid command in the minors. He doesn’t throw all that hard, but he cuts and sinks the fastball and has two secondaries. He induced 11 ground balls last time out, so he worked down in the zone well with his two-seamer.
Tom Koehler has usually been pretty reliable at home, but even that has taken a little bit of a tumble this season, as he owns a 4.39 ERA. Koehler has only allowed four home runs this season, so at least he’s made hitters earn their runs. Koehler has very sharp platoon splits, as lefties are batting .298/.400/.453 and righties are only hitting .209/.304/.290. The Rockies are using quite a few righties in the lineup, so maybe that’s something that could benefit Koehler a little bit here.
There are no situational spots present, as the Rockies finish up a wraparound series in Miami tomorrow. With no discernible situational edge, I’ll lean Marlins, who have a better bullpen and now have a little bit of video to study on Anderson after his first MLB start. I’d be surprised if Anderson can be that effective again and he seems like a guy that should have some BABIP issues with his GB%.
Toronto at Baltimore (-110); Total: 9
The betting market seems very split on this matchup between Toronto and Baltimore. It’ll be Marcus Stroman for the Jays and Chris Tillman for the Orioles. Stroman has really struggled this season with a 4.76 ERA, but his advanced metrics suggest improvement with a 3.87 FIP and a 3.84 xFIP. Stroman has done a terrific job inducing ground balls, but the Jays haven’t been able to turn enough of them into outs. Stroman has a .243/.285/.387 slash with the bases empty, but a .302/.378/.471 slash with men on base, so that’s really skewing his overall numbers. That’s what happens with a .351 BABIP against with men on.
It looks like there are a lot of problems from the stretch for Stroman. His 1.44 K/BB ratio is probably the most concerning. Bad batted ball luck happens. Missing the strike zone to make the problems worse is something that pitchers cannot do. That’s what Stroman has done several times this season.
Chris Tillman, on the other hand, has been the benefactor of all kinds of good fortune. His newfound slider/cutter has been a major equalizer for him, as his strikeout rate has ballooned and he’s done a great job stranding runners. Tillman entered the season coming off of one of his worst LOB% seasons, but he’s at 84.9 percent this season. Regression is coming for Tillman, though we don’t quite know when. He’s not keeping a 2.87 ERA all season, although, he basically did in 2012 with ugly peripherals, so who knows.
The Blue Jays have owned Tillman here in recent years, which doesn’t factor into my handicapping, but it’s a mental thing and could impact the betting lines and the side that the market piles in on. That’s a major consideration for today’s game.
I’m still going to roll with Tillman, and probably pay for it, but I think there’s some more magic left, whereas I’m not sure Stroman can stop the bleeding from the stretch.
Detroit at Kansas City (-105); Total: 9
This game is basically a money line pick ‘em between the Tigers and the Royals. I’ve discussed this before, but I don’t think much of the Tigers. I think they’re mentally weak as a team and Brad Ausmus is a lame duck manager. Coming off of yesterday’s shellacking against a red-hot Royals team, I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit rolls over and dies here today. They just don’t impress me at all. Without JD Martinez, this is a slightly above average lineup, which may be a factor against a pitcher as terrible as Chris Young, but it may also be a game that the Tigers mail in.
Chris Young has been really awful. Young has a 6.15/7.46/4.92 pitcher slash on the season and has given up 18 home runs in 45.1 innings of work. There aren’t enough adjective to describe just how bad Young’s performance has been. The Tigers should take advantage, but who knows if they will. Young has an 86.8 percent strand rate, which is hilarious, but you don’t have to runners to strand when they score because of home runs.
Jordan Zimmermann has been solid. The right-hander has a 3.46 ERA with a 3.83 FIP and a 4.61 xFIP. It’s worth keeping in mind that a major component of FIP and xFIP is strikeouts and Zimmermann has never been a strikeout pitcher. He’s always been able to thrive because of his low walk rate and that’s probably the case here as well. Zimmermann’s HR/FB% isn’t that far off of his career average, so it’s entirely possible that this type of performance is sustainable.
I do like Zimmermann a lot more than Young here in this one, but I have a hard time putting money on the Tigers right now. This is the last game of a 10-day road trip. Even though there hasn’t been a lot of travel, it’s still a long time away from home. They can wrap up a 5-5 trip with a win, so maybe they do show some character, but I’m staying off of this game.
Los Angeles (AL) at Oakland (-105); Total: 9.5
I can’t remember ever seeing a 9.5 total in Oakland, day game or not. That’s what happens when you get Jered Weaver and Eric Surkamp together. This is one of the worst pitching matchups ever. Weaver has a 5.71/5.92/5.45 pitcher slash and he actually has a decent LOB%. His hard-contact rate is at 35.5 percent, easily the highest of his career. His line drive rate is the highest it has ever been. He’s simply on fumes.
Eric Surkamp is not good. In seven starts, Surkamp is 0-4 with an 8.07 ERA, a 7.07 FIP, and a 6.94 xFIP. He’s got more walks than strikeouts. He’s allowed 44 hits, has hit five batters, and has walked 17 in 29 innings of work. It should be a steady stream of baserunners for the Angels today.
I hate this game, but I do think there’s some value on Weaver. Maybe O.co Coliseum can slow down that home run rate, but he’s still a better pitcher than Surkamp, even at this stage of his career. The Angels are a bad team and Oakland has a better bullpen, but I still don’t think Weaver’s as bad as Surkamp. We’ll see if the runs are actually scored because, as I said, a 9.5 at Oakland is rare.
Washington (-130) at San Diego; Total: 8
This total is odd. You have a getaway day game on the west coast with two solid lefties on the mound and the total is 8? I think this is a game where back-to-back overs in this series have created a little bit of recency bias. Gio Gonzalez is now in line for positive regression with a 3.96 ERA, a 3.38 FIP, and a 3.53 xFIP. Gonzalez has struck out over a batter per inning this season and most of his peripherals are in line with his career averages or are better than his career marks. Gonzalez’s HR/FB% is a little high and that should come down.
Drew Pomeranz struggled last time out, but he had some regression coming. The left-hander has a 2.88 ERA with a 3.11 FIP and a 3.68 xFIP on the year, with a 28.5 percent K%. Pomeranz induces a lot of weak contact, so he’s been able to pitch around a slightly-elevated walk rate. There’s a lot to like about what he’s done this season and it seems like he’s finally found a place and a role that he’s comfortable with. Sometimes, that’s all a pitcher needs and wants.
I’d definitely look at the under today in what probably amounts to the only relatively strong lean on the card.