The start of the NFL regular season is just around the corner, but the MLB retains center stage on Monday. There’s an eight-game main slate starting at 6:40 p.m. ET.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dodgers SP Tony Gonsolin (forearm) has been placed on the 15-day injured list. RP Michael Grove will start Monday vs. the Marlins.
The Pick: Marlins (+190)
There are a ton of heavy favorites on Monday’s slate, including the Dodgers on the road in Miami. The Dodgers have been one of the best teams in baseball all year, but they’ve taken their game to another level in the second half. They’re 28-8 since the All-Star Break, which is the best mark in the majors.
They’ll also have one of their best pitchers on the mound in Tony Gonsolin, so it’s easy to see why they’re so heavily favored. However, Gonsolin’s numbers are a bit of a mirage. His 2.10 ERA is outstanding, but his xERA, FIP, and SIERA are all above 3.00. Those numbers are still solid, but they don’t paint nearly the same picture as his ERA. They suggest Gonsolin has been significantly lucky this year, which is validated by a paltry .201 batting average on balls in play. Gonsolin isn’t particularly adept at limiting hard contact — he ranks in the 36th percentile in average exit velocity — so there’s no reason his BABIP should be so low.
Pablo Lopez will get the ball for the Marlins, and his 3.71 SIERA is actually lower than
Gonsolin’s mark. His 3.66 ERA isn’t quite as good, but he hasn’t benefitted from the same batted-ball luck.
Ultimately, the pitching matchup in this contest seems like a wash. The Dodgers are clearly the better offensive team, but I don’t think they deserve to be -225 favorites on the road. I’ll take a chance with the Marlins.
The Pick: Ranger Suarez to record a win (+125)
If you haven’t been paying close attention, you may have missed how dominant Suarez has been recently. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 12 of his past 13 starts, and he’s allowed one earned run or fewer in five of his past seven. He owns a sparkling 1.75 ERA over the second half of the year, giving the Phillies an outstanding third starter behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.
The Phillies are priced as sizable favorites in this spot, but we can get them at +125 if you bet on Suarez to record the win. That’s a significantly riskier wager, but I think it makes plenty of sense. Suarez should be able to keep the Diamondbacks’ offense at bay for six or seven innings, and it seems likely that the Phillies’ offense will give him the lead at some point.
They’re taking on Madison Bumgarner, who is not nearly the dominant pitcher he was in his prime. He’s pitched to a 4.53 ERA and a 5.29 xERA, and he’s been dismal since the All-Star break. He owns a 6.38 ERA over the second half of the year, and opponents are slugging .520 against him over that time frame. The Phillies rank eighth in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, so they can do some damage in this spot.
There’s always the chance that the Phillies bullpen could blow a lead, but I’m willing to roll the dice on Suarez to get the win at +125.
The Pick: Red Sox ML (+105)
It has been a year to forget for the Red Sox. They’re currently in last place in the AL East, and they’ve struggled mightily in division games all year. They’re merely 18-36 in divisional contests, which is a big reason why they’re below .500 overall.
Fortunately, the Red Sox will go out of the division for a matchup vs. the Twins on Monday. The Twins are no pushovers — they’re 65-61 — but they’re a lot less intimidating without Byron Buxton.
The Twins will have Dylan Bundy on the mound, and he’s been subpar in his first year with Minnesota. He owns a 4.56 ERA, and he’s striking out a career-worst 6.38 batters per nine innings. Despite the Red Sox’ struggles, they can still hit against right-handed pitchers: They’re eighth in wRC+ against right-handers over the past 14 days.
The Red Sox will turn to one of their top prospects in Brayan Bello. He owns a 7.36 ERA across 22 big league innings, but his advanced metrics show he’s got plenty of talent. He’s striking out a batter per inning, and his 3.25 xERA is significantly lower than his actual mark.
Ultimately, this seems like a great spot to buy low on Boston.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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