Monday’s slate is a bit light on MLB action, with just six games to choose from. Still, there are some opportunities to find some value in the betting market.
The Pick: Under 10.0 runs (-120)
One of the biggest stories of the early MLB season was the lack of scoring. Both pitchers and hitters had complaints about the baseball, which MLB engineered to increase the number of balls in play. As a result, we’ve seen 0.2 fewer homers per game and 0.35 fewer strikeouts per game so far this season. Overall, the average of just 4.3 runs per team is the lowest mark since 2015.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the under has fared well. Specifically, the under in games with a large total have excelled. Excluding Coors Field — which appears to be immune to any of the MLB’s shenanigans — the under in games with a total of at least nine runs has gone 79-64-12.
The line for Monday’s matchup between the Diamondbacks and Reds is set at 10 runs, despite the fact that neither of the teams can hit. The Diamondbacks rank 19th in wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, while the Reds rank 27th against southpaws.
Neither of the pitchers in this matchup is particularly good — Hunter Greene owns a 4.69 xERA while Bumgarner is at 4.44 — but I still think this number is simply too high.
The Pick: Red Sox ML (+100)
This is another matchup with lackluster pitching options. The Red Sox are slight road underdogs, and they’ll hand the ball to Michael Wacha. He has been insanely lucky to start the year, limiting opposing batters to a .198 batting average on balls in play. That makes Wacha’s 2.43 ERA a mirage. He’s likely due for some regression moving forward, but his 3.83 xERA is still a passable mark.
Noah Syndergaard has a better long-term track record than Wacha, but he’s clearly not the same pitcher that he was in his prime. He’s managed a paltry 6.02 strikeouts per nine innings this season, and he owns a 4.69 xERA. He’s also been roughed up in two of his past three starts, allowing 11 runs in just three total innings against the Rangers and Yankees.
Syndergaard made one previous start against the Red Sox this season, and things did not go well for him. He struck out just three batters over seven innings, and he posted a 4.75 xFIP in that contest.
Overall, I give the Red Sox the edge at pitcher in this matchup, and they’ve been the better offensive unit of late, too. Boston ranks fifth in wRC+ against right-handers over the past 14 days, while the Angels rank 20th in that split. The Angels have lost 11 straight games, and I see no reason why the Red Sox can’t extend that figure on Monday.
The Pick: Mets ML (+100)
The Mets are another small road underdog that I’ll take a flyer on. They’re coming off a strong weekend, winning back-to-back games vs. the Dodgers and salvaging a series split. Any time you can split a road series with the World Series favorites has to be considered a victory.
They’ll face another stiff test vs. the Padres, but it’s a clear step down in competition. The Padres haven’t been nearly as potent as the Dodgers offensively, particularly against right-handed pitchers. They rank merely 25th in wRC+ in that split.
The Mets will send right-hander Carlos Carrasco to the mound on Monday, and he’s been a solid pitcher so far this season. He’s pitched to a 3.50 xERA thanks to his ability to limit the damage on balls in play. He ranks in the 62nd percentile in hard-hit rate and the 64th percentile in average exit velocity. He also doesn’t hand out many free passes at just 2.05 walks per nine innings.
Blake Snell has made four starts for the Padres, and his 3.33 xERA is comparable to Carrasco’s. The big difference is the Mets’ offense is clearly better than the Padres’. They haven’t been quite as potent against left-handers as they have been against right-handers, but they’re seventh in wRC+ against southpaws over the past 14 days. They also have one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league, which neutralizes Snell’s biggest strength. I’m fine with grabbing the Mets as small dogs.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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