It’s Friday. You probably don’t want me to drag on about something insignificant up here, you just want to know what bets to place. You know what? I respect how forthright you were about that. I’m proud of you.
We’re 51-43 on article plays for the season as a whole. Here are three MLB wagers that I’m considering for this evening’s slate.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
Framber Valdez Over 18.5 Outs Recorded (+125)
Death. Taxes. Framber Valdez registering a quality start. These are the constants in life. Seriously. Valdez has now worked at least six innings while surrendering three earned runs or fewer in 17 straight appearances. 17. Maybe that wouldn’t seem all that impressive 20 years ago, but in 2022, that’s downright insane. So, what are the chances that Valdez is able to record an extra out in the seventh inning tonight? I’d say pretty good.
The matchup is key. The Guardians are an almost ideal spot for Valdez to be effective, yet also efficient. Cleveland is an aggressive lineup that comes into action on Friday leading baseball with an 80.9% contact rate. Yes, contact is generally the enemy for a pitcher, but not when you’re looking for quick resolutions and not when you’re Framber Valdez, who happens to induce the lowest launch angle on opponent batted ball events of any qualified starter (-3.9 degrees). The Guardians have just been plain awful against LHPs, as well. Cleveland has managed a putrid 83 wRC+ within the split — the second-worst mark of any team in the league. Add it all together, and I think Valdez works his way through the Guardians with ease.
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New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals
Over 8.5 (-115)
I’m honestly not sure if I should start with how good these lineups are or how little I trust each starter, which is a pretty obvious sign to bet the over. Well, I shouldn’t say I don’t trust Nestor Cortes, but the All-Star has definitely come back down to Earth across the past couple of months. After posting a 1.50 ERA with just six opponent barrels in his first 10 outings of 2022, Cortes has pitched to a much more underwhelming 3.86 ERA with 12 opponent barrels in his last nine appearances. He’s also left-handed, which is important when taking the mound in St. Louis. The Cardinals own an NL-best 124 wRC+ versus southpaws this season, while the team’s overall .225 ISO since the Midsummer Classic is the top-mark in baseball.
Then there’s Dakota Hudson. The right-hander comes into tonight’s contest with the Yankees ranking in the seventh percentile or lower in expected ERA (5.48), expected wOBA (.358), expected batting average (.286) and strikeout rate (12.8%). If there was a machine that built pitchers specifically to be brutalized by New York’s powerful lineup, the pitchers would look a lot like Dakota Hudson. Again, we’re talking about a Yankees club that currently leads MLB in ISO (.202), slugging percentage (.448), wOBA (.338) and wRC+ (122). I anticipate them having little issue putting up some crooked numbers in Missouri.
San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mookie Betts Over 1.5 Total Bases (-115)
I, like the rest of the world, am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to watch the new-look Padres against the Dodgers, so obviously I’m going to have a few bets. I considered taking San Diego on the moneyline at +130 — the Padres have won an MLB-best 56.3% of their games as an underdog in 2022 — but I’ll settle for a prop featuring the original generational talent to be shocking traded to the west coast: Mookie Betts.
Betts has destroyed every left-handed pitcher he’s encountered this season, sporting a .298 ISO and a 182 wRC+ in his 116 plate appearances within the split. The southpaw in question on Friday? The struggling Sean Manaea. The Padres’ LHP hasn’t been the same since mid-June, and his inability to retire right-handed batters consistently has been the biggest issue. In fact, across his past eight starts, Manaea has conceded a .310/.382/.603 slash line to opposing RHBs. That includes 2.6 home runs per nine and a .413 wOBA. Yikes.
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