MLB Free Pick of the Day for Wednesday, August 7

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 192-136-9 (58.5%) *

Hey, everyone! SpreadKnowledge is going with a new format for our free article/mailer from here on out. We’ve teamed up Covers and started posting our picks to their site — For our highest-rated picks, you can sign up here or at

Since last Sunday, we have a 28-4-2 record over the last 34 picks — still two games pending from this afternoon, and we pushed on White Sox-Tigers total going under. In order to get access to those same picks that were once in this space, sign up at the links above. You can click on the Covers link above to see the proof of just how well things have been going lately.

We’ll be posting one pick here in this space each day for free. Know that it does have a high value, but it just won’t be the highest-rated one from the SK system. Continue to follow us along in this journey, because there are plenty of good things on the way!

[6:40 p.m. EST] Over 9.5 – San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners
SD: Joey Lucchesi – L (7-6, 4.23 ERA/1.18 WHIP)
SEA: Yusei Kikuchi – L (4-8, 5.49 ERA/1.48 WHIP)

The SpreadKnowledge MLB Free Pick of the Day comes to us from the Mariners-Padres game. We’ve got the total going over as one of higher plays on this slate, considering each of these lefty starting pitchers is in a tough spot.

Let’s start with Yusei Kikuchi, who will likely be the one giving up most of these runs. Kikuchi has allowed 28 homers this season in 118 innings this season, including eight of them in his last 15 2/3 innings of work.

The Padres’ lineup features a ton of power-hitting right-handed bats and get to use an extra one as the designated hitter tonight. They also own an impressive .354 weighted on-base average and .193 ISO (power metric) against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days, so things are certainly looking up in that regard.

Not to mention, the Mariners have allowed at least nine runs in four of their last five games.
Joey Lucchesi is a solid pitcher; he just does nearly all of his good work at Petco Park. On the road, however, it’s a much different story. Lucchesi can’t seem to get comfortable in a hotel bed, posting a 1-6 record and 6.46 ERA in nine road starts, and the splits are certainly disparaging when looking at the opposing batting average — .186 at home, compared to .282 on the road.

Seattle does have solid .338 weighted on-base average and .221 ISO numbers against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days.

All in all, we’re expecting each of these starters to get lit up early, and that’ll coast us right to the victory.

* Final Score Prediction * San Diego Padres: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 6

MLB Betting Value Picks for Sunday, July 21

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 148-122-7 (54.8%) *

[1:10 p.m. EST] Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (1.5-run line: -114)
CHW: Dylan Cease – R (1-1, 5.73 ERA/1.55 WHIP)
TB: Blake Snell – L (5-7, 4.55 ERA/1.27 WHIP)

Enough is enough already for the Rays, who have lost five straight games, including the first two of this series against the White Sox. Tampa Bay had a great shot to win yesterday, but it was not meant to be as Chicago engineered a late comeback.

I find it very difficult to believe the visitors will come in here and sweep this series, considering the matchup on the mound today. That’s why we’re rolling with the Rays on the 1.5-run line at -116, as opposed to the massive -270 number on the moneyline.

After a few rough outings, Blake Snell has gotten back on the good foot. The electric lefty has now allowed a total of four runs over his last three starts, with two of them coming against the vaunted Yankees. It does speak for volumes today for the optimism of Snell, considering the White Sox have the lowest implied run total (3.0) of any team on today’s schedule.

Over the last 21 days, the White Sox have an anemic .306 xwOBA (quality of contact) against left-handed pitching. Look for this lineup to struggle once again versus Snell – the current roster owns a massive 39.4% K-rate in 71 combined plate appearances.

Dylan Cease has only made two career MLB starts and the latest one didn’t go so well, allowing eight hits and six runs (four earned) over six innings. Despite the Rays’ recent offensive woes (against a good majority of quality starting pitchers), this is a great spot for them to get back in the win column. Tampa Bay owns the eighth-best wRC+ (108) in baseball against right-handed pitching and they should be able to manufacture some runs against the youngster.

All in all, this is a spot where a team lets their ace go out and do their thing in order to stop a losing streak and avoid the sweep. Look for Snell to have a huge day on the mound and the Rays to get to Cease early.

* Final Score Prediction * Tampa Bay Rays: 6 – Chicago White Sox: 2

 [4:10 p.m. EST] Los Angeles Angels (ML: -170/1.5-run line: +110) at Seattle Mariners
LAA: Dillon Peters – L (1-0, 4.15 ERA/1.50 WHIP)
SEA: Yusei Kikuchi – L (4-6, 5.01 ERA/1.46 WHIP)

The SpreadKnowledge system has all the California love today – cue Dr. Dre and Tupac music. In fact, the Angels moneyline (-170) and 1.5-run line (+110) are the second- and third-most likely outcomes in the SK system for the entire day. We’ll play it safe on the moneyline, but just know that the 1.5-run line is certainly there for the taking as well.

Look no further at the reasoning than to Yusei Kikuchi, who has gotten absolutely blasted by Los Angeles this season. Get ready for this one – in four starts against the Halos this season, Kikuchi has allowed 31 hits, 11 walks, 20 runs (19 earned) and six homers over 15 2/3 innings of work. Wow, wow and wow! Seattle has struggled to win ball games when Kikuchi is on the mound, with a 1-8 record over his last nine starts.

We saw the Mariners’ defense cost them last night’s game on an absolutely horrific error on an infield pop-up with two outs in the ninth inning – the Mariners proceeded to give up four runs after that mishap. I have no idea how they pick themselves up off the floor after losing a game in heartbreaking fashion, especially when this team has already had their spirits broken many of times lately.

Dillon Peters will be recalled from Triple-A to make today’s start. He hasn’t done a lot of great things at the MLB level, but it’s not like the Mariners have been consistently putting up big numbers either. Despite Friday’s 10-run outburst, Seattle has scored three runs or fewer in six of its last seven.

Once again, I feel like last night’s loss will have the Mariners in a world of hurt and that they won’t be able to rid. Look for the Halos to take advantage early and often.

The Angels are a whopping 23-5 over the last two seasons when being favored on the road by -125 to -175, while the Mariners are 12-37 versus teams with a winning record this season.

* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Angels: 13 – Seattle Mariners: 2

[4:10 p.m. EST] Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Dodgers (1.5-run line: -152)
MIA: Jordan Yamamoto – R (4-0, 1.59 ERA/0.94 WHIP)
LAD: Walker Buehler – R (8-1, 3.44 ERA/1.00 WHIP)

The SpreadKnowledge system has the Dodgers moneyline (-280) as the most likely outcome of the entire day, while the 1.5-run line isn’t too far behind. In order to keep things civil, we’ll take the Dodgers on the 1.5-run line and save nearly $170 to lay, in order to win $100.

Walker Buehler has had a couple of funky outings recently, but we really don’t see that being the case today. After all, he’s taking on a Marlins team that either dead-last or bottom-three against most advanced metrics against right-handed pitching. Looking at the Marlins recent games, only one starting pitcher has allowed more than two runs against them over the last seven contests.
Buehler has been particularly good at home, posting a 3-0 record and 3.16 ERA in eight starts there this season.

Here’s where things get interesting. Jordan Yamamoto has actually been a great find by the Marlins in the Christian Yelich trade. The rookie righty is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in six starts this season, but this will certainly be his toughest test of the season.

It was a bit peculiar to see the game total increased from 8.0 to 8.5 and the IRTs (implied run totals) – Dodgers: +0.4, Marlins: +0.2 – do the same. To me, that’s a big knock on Yamamoto, considering we all know damn well those increases aren’t speaking to Buehler.

There’s a scenario where this game could come down to the bullpens, and if that’s the case, you have to like the Dodgers chances even more.

* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Dodgers: 6 – Miami Marlins: 2

MLB Betting Value Picks for Friday, July 19

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 146-119-6 (55.1%) *

[7:05 p.m. EST] Over 11.5 – Colorado Rockies at New York Yankees
COL: Kyle Freeland – L (2-6, 7.39 ERA/1.61 WHIP)
NYY: J.A. Happ – L (7-5, 4.93 ERA/1.26 WHIP)

The Yankees’ 7.0 IRT (implied run total) is tops on tonight’s slate, and both teams were actually given a +0.3 increase, which usually means good things for the offense. Not to mention, the humid temperatures in New York tonight will give it a feel of 100 degrees – then again, it really will be hot. These hot temperatures are excellent for ball flight, and we should definitely see plenty of homers in this game.

Kyle Freeland is having a disastrous 2019 and things have gotten progressively worse as the season has gone along. The lefty has allowed at least five runs in six of his last eight starts, including each of the last three.

In the series prior to this one, the Yankees had battled hard with a tough Rays team. Now, facing the Rockies, things should open up a lot more in terms of the scoring. After all, Colorado has allowed at least eight runs in five of its last six games.

J.A. Happ has been much worse at home this season, posting a 5.98 ERA and opposing batting average of .294 in 10 starts. In comparison, the lefty has a 3.77 ERA and opposing batting average of .224 on the road. Part of the reason for this problem is that Happ is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, and that certainly doesn’t play well in such a small ballpark like Yankee Stadium – especially with the weather conditions we’ll see tonight.

While the Rockies were stymied by Giants pitching before heading to New York, it should do them some good to get out on the road. Typically, when teams are in a big funk, it’s always good to get a change of scenery to shake things up. Look for some of these big boppers like Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story to have a big night in The Bronx.

* Final Score Prediction * New York Yankees: 10 – Colorado Rockies: 6

[7:10 p.m. EST] Under 10 – Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers
TOR: Marcus Stroman – R (5-10, 3.25 ERA/1.27 WHIP)
DET: Jordan Zimmermann – R (0-6, 7.01 ERA/1.59 WHIP)

Marcus Stroman doesn’t like Canada. OK, maybe that’s a little strong, but his 2.98 ERA on the road this season certainly paints a nice picture for the Blue Jays. Not to mention, he did skill the Tigers for seven innings of shutout ball while allowing only two hits earlier this season. Overall, the current Detroit roster is hitting a combined .140 with a .222 on-base percentage in 63 career plate appearances against Stroman.

The Tigers’ offense ranks dead-last in MLB for weighted on-base average (.284) against right-handed pitching this season. Not to mention, they have only scored five runs over the last three games. We can add almost any stat in the book here to show how bad Detroit has been offensively, but it has gone through enough woes this season already.

Jordan Zimmermann has certainly struggled this season, but his best performance of the season did come against the Blue Jays. The veteran righty allowed one hit, no walks and no runs over seven innings back on March 28. Given Zimmermann’s struggles of late, I’m not expecting a performance like that one, but one that keeps the total down on this game.

The Blue Jays have played a very difficult schedule since the All-Star break, with road matchups against the Yankees and Red Sox, but have certainly held their own. Now that they get to play a lesser opponent like the Tigers, they should have a much easier time and get the win in the process.

According to the SpreadKnowledge system, the total going under is our strongest play on the entire slate. After all, all four of the meetings between the teams earlier this season saw the total go under. We’ve also got plenty of love for the Blue Jays with Stroman in a road start.

* Final Score Prediction * Toronto Blue Jays: 6 – Detroit Tigers: 1

[10:10 p.m. EST] Over 10 – Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners
LAA: Jaime Barria – R (3-2, 5.22 ERA/1.40 WHIP)
SEA: Mike Leake – R (7-8, 4.60 ERA/1.31 WHIP)

There are certain matchups you see sometimes that make you go “Oh… my… goodness!!!” The Angels facing Mike Leake is certainly one of them, and that’s part of the reason the SpreadKnowledge system has the total going over as one of our strongest plays on the night.

Nine of the 14 meetings between the two teams this season have done just that.

The current Angels roster is hitting a combined .368 off Leake with a .413 on-base percentage and 1.019 OPS in 281 plate appearances. In three starts against Los Angeles this season, Leake has allowed 19 hits, 13 runs (10 earned) and six homers over 13 2/3 innings. When the two teams faced last Friday night, the Angels tagged him for eight hits and seven runs (four earned) before the first inning was over.

It’s unclear whether Jaime Barria will start the game or come in shortly after a reliever pitches the first innings. He has started the game in each of his last two outings for the Angels, but it’s a been a mixed bag overall in how the righty has been used this season. Nonetheless, I’ve never been a big fan of Barria, and he’s certainly capable of getting lit up tonight. Barria’s 10.03 ERA and 2.14 WHIP on the road this season do bode well for us getting over the 10-run total tonight, though.

The Mariners have been struggling as a team, but they did have an off-day yesterday and that could give them a nice recharging of the batteries. I don’t think anything will help their pitching at this point, but this offense still has some decent pieces looking to make a name for themselves before the trade deadline.

All in all, the Angels are in a good place offensively and absolutely crushed Mariners pitching in all three games last weekend. Look for them to do more of that against a pitcher they’ve seen well over the course of time. Barria could certainly contribute some effectiveness to the over here as well.

* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Angels: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 6

MLB Betting Value Picks for Sunday, July 14

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 137-110-6 (55.5%) *

[2:20 p.m. EST] Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (ML: -170)
PIT: Trevor Williams – R (3-2, 4.54 ERA/1.26 WHIP)
CHC: Jose Quintana – L (6-7, 4.19 ERA/1.35 WHIP)

The Cubs will look to complete the sweep over the Pirates today, and if history is any indication, they should be able to do just that.

We’ve talked about BvP (batter vs. pitcher) a couple of times in this space, and everyone has their own opinion on it. I believe in it, and it should help the Cubbies in today’s game.

Trevor Williams got off to an amazing start this season, but it’s been anything but pretty of late. Since returning from the IL, the righty has allowed a total of 26 hits, 18 runs and five homers over 17 1/3 innings in three starts.

Williams’ last start was against this same Cubs team, as he allowed nine hits, three walks and five runs over 5 2/3 innings. In fact, Chicago has done quite well against him in recent history – especially the combo of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber. Look for these guys to be the catalyst in the Cubbies flying the W flag later today.

Jose Quintana has been simply magnificent against the Pirates this season, allowing only 10 hits, two walks and three runs over 14 innings while striking out 17 batters. The current Pittsburgh roster hasn’t given JQ much trouble over his career, as they own a collective .260 on-base percentage against him in 128 career plate appearances.

All in all, we’ve got two teams heading in opposite directions out of the All-Star break. And it’s nice to have history on our side here as well.

* Final Score Prediction * Chicago Cubs: 8 – Pittsburgh Pirates: 3

[4:07 p.m. EST] Over 10.5 – Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
SEA: Yusei Kikuchi – L (4-6, 4.94 ERA/1.45 WHIP)
LAA: Jose Suarez – L (2-1, 5.40 ERA/1.52 WHIP)

Nine of the last 13 games between the teams have gone over the total, including each of the first two in this series. Look for more of the same, as the SK system has an A-grade on the over for today’s matchup, the highest of any on the entire schedule. The SK system also loves the Angels on the moneyline and/or the 1.5-run line, but our priority is on the over today.

Yusei Kikuchi has been getting beat up with great regularity, especially against the Angels. In fact, the Los Angeles offense has registered 29 hits (.475 batting average), seven walks, 17 runs (16 earned) and five homers against him in a total of 11 2/3 innings this season.

The Angels’ offense is absolutely clicking on all cylinders, with a total of 32 runs over their last three games. While the bats are rolling, it’s a nice combination to be facing a Mariners’ bullpen, which owns the fourth-worst ERA in baseball – and it’s gotten even worse since arriving in Anaheim.

Jose Suarez takes the ball for the Angels and he’s been allowing tons of baserunners. Suarez faced the Mariners in his MLB debut back on June 9, allowing four hits, two walks and two runs over 4 2/3 innings. We can probably expect more of the same from him today, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the over. Suarez has only maxed out 5 2/3 innings, and the Angels’ bullpen has fallen off dramatically after such a great start.

The Mariners’ defense always comes into play when betting the over in their games. Seattle has committed 95 errors, which is 25 more than any other team in MLB. These errors give opposing offenses more opportunities to put runs on the board, and they have certainly taken advantage of that.

* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Angels: 7 – Seattle Mariners: 4

[4:07 p.m. EST] Under 10 – Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics
CHW: Reynaldo Lopez – R (4-8, 6.34 ERA/1.58 WHIP)
OAK: Brett Anderson – L (9-5, 3.86 ERA/1.30 WHIP)

Reynaldo Lopez isn’t usually a guy we go to when trying to get the total to go under, but today is a new day, my friends. In fact, Lopez has actually done quite well away from Guaranteed Rate Field in each of his last three road starts, the last two coming against quality opponents – Red Sox and Rangers. The righty three runs or fewer in each of those last three road starts.

Vegas has something up its sleeve for this game, giving the A’s IRT (implied run total) a noticeable -0.4 downshift from their initial 6.0 number. Part of the reason could be the weather, which isn’t very typical for July baseball. Temperatures should be in the upper-60s/low-70s, and that’s not good for ball flight. Some of those fly balls that Lopez gives up will likely fall just shy of the wall.

On the other side, Brett Anderson will be going for the A’s. He’s never been a flashy strikeout-pitcher, rather getting it done by spotting the baseball and inducing opposing offenses into ground-ball outs. In fact, Anderson has gotten at least eight ground-ball outs in each of his last nine starts, and a double-digit total in six of them.

Over the last 14 days, both teams’ bullpens have been quite effective. Especially the A’s, whose pen owns a 2.30 ERA over that span – fourth-best in baseball.

All in all, we’re probably looking at a very boring game today and that’s exactly what we want for this bet. The SK system has a B+ grade on this game, ranking just behind the level of confidence we have in the over on the Angels-Mariners game.

* Final Score Prediction * Oakland Athletics: 4 – Chicago White Sox: 2

MLB Betting Value Picks for Friday, July 12

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 133-110-5 (54.7%) *

[7:10 p.m. EST] New York Mets at Miami Marlins (ML: -110)
NYM: Jason Vargas – L (3-4, 3.77 ERA/1.31 WHIP)
MIA: Caleb Smith – L (4-4, 3.50 ERA/1.01 WHIP)

Caleb Smith hasn’t been at his best over the last few starts, but there are a couple of things attributing to that. For starters, he did land on the DL for a month with inflammation in his left hip – that would explain Smith going from utterly dominant to so-so mediocre. The other, is that he faced stiff competition – Braves, Brewers, Nationals and Padres – in each of his last four starts, all on the road… and all solid against left-handed pitching.

In fact, Smith hasn’t pitched a home game since May 15, and he’s been much better at Marlins Park with a 3-1 record and 1.84 ERA/0.89 WHIP. The young lefty has done quite well against the Mets over the course of his brief career, going 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts, including 23 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.

On the other side, it’s the Mets. Oh, dear…

Jason Vargas has surprisingly been one of the team’s best pitchers, but the Vegas odds have already spoken. Until tonight, the Marlins have never been favored been against the Mets in 2019. Oddly enough, this is only the fifth time all season that the Marlins have been favored in a game.

Vargas allowed a season-high eight hits against Miami back on April 2 – his first start of the 2019 campaign. We’re not going to push all of our chips in the middle of the table based on that performance alone, but the Marlins have been a pesky bunch since the start of June. It’s a very underrated factor, but Miami has two veteran hitters in Starlin Castro and Curtis Granderson that have done very well against Vargas (combined 13-for-30, 6 2B, 1 HR), and those guys can certainly relay their intel to the rest of the club.

Unfortunately, the Marlins’ record and stats look feeble over that span because they’ve done nothing but face the class of the NL East (Braves, Nationals and Phillies) and most of the aces from those teams. Miami has held its own, though, and there’s certainly some motivation to try and get some wins against New York, who is the only team that is worse than them in the NL.

Last, but certainly not least, the Mets’ bullpen is notoriously known for being putrid. Cover your ears, Mets’ fans: the bullpen has the same number of blown saves this season that they do ACTUAL SAVES! Surprisingly, the only other team that can say that is the defending champion Red Sox.

Let’s take The Fish with favorable odds, an underrated starting pitching mismatch, and yeah… the Mets’ bullpen is always fun to pick on.

* Final Score Prediction * Miami Marlins: 4 – New York Mets: 2

[10:07 p.m. EST] Over 10 – Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels (ML: -154)
SEA: Mike Leake – R (7-7, 4.32 ERA/1.24 WHIP)
LAA: Taylor Cole – R (0-1, 4.32/1.58 WHIP)

Some people look at BvP (batter vs. pitcher) and think it’s a total sham – you could make the argument in a small sample size. However, when looking at a range of 281 plate appearances, there really shouldn’t be any confusion at all.

The current Angels’ roster is absolutely smacking Mike Leake around the ballpark for a combined .341 batting average, .389 on-base percentage and .948 OPS. Granted, Jonathan Lucroy and his .396 batting average will be out of the lineup for tonight (and the near future), but guys like Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons should do just fine without him. Leake won’t have to face Lucroy, but the aging righty still has to deal with the fact that he’s 2-5 with a 5.08 ERA on the road in 2019.

In 13 innings against the Angels this season, Leake has also allowed five homers. I think it’s safe to say someone has somebody’s number.

Not to get all philosophical, but this will be the first time the Angels play at home since the death of their fallen teammate, Tyler Skaggs. I really do think the Angels are going to make a nice run in his honor, and if that holds true, tonight is where it all begins.

Mariners’ pitching has been downright awful in 2019, whether it’s the starters, or their bullpen, which has allowed the fourth-worst ERA (5.03) and fourth-most homers (64) in all of MLB this season.

Taylor Cole will be the “opener” for Los Angeles tonight, and he should do just fine in limited work. He will, however, give way to the Angels’ bullpen which has allowed the most homers (25) in MLB over the last 30 days.

The Mariners’ roster has been depleted and will probably continue to have that same fate until the end of July, but these guys are a scrappy bunch that’ll put runs on the board no matter what. Of course, they have to, with the way the pitching has been this season.

Not to mention, no other defense in MLB has committed more errors (92) than the Mariners, and that gives the opposing offense more than enough chances to capitalize on scoring more run. To put that into perspective, the Orioles have the second-most errors in the league… with 68. Yikes!

All in all, the SK system likes the Angels to win this game, but the total going over 10 runs is our best bet of the night.

* Final Score Prediction * Los Angeles Angels: 9 – Seattle Mariners: 5

[10:07 p.m. EST] Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics (ML: -179)
CHW: Ivan Nova – R (4-7, 5.58 ERA/1.53 WHIP)
OAK: Mike Fiers – R (8-3, 3.87 ERA/1.10 WHIP)

Ivan Nova might’ve had a solid outing heading into the All-Star break, but let’s not act like all of his wounds have been healed. In fact, his two best outings since June 1 have been against the same Cubs team, while the Twins, Rangers, Yankees and Royals all roughed him up. The veteran righty is allowing a massive 5.58 ERA/1.53 WHIP and an opposing batting average of .318 this season, in addition to 19 homers over the last 78 1/3 innings of work.

Prior to the All-Star break, the A’s owned the ninth-best ISO rating (.187) in MLB against right-handed pitching. Now that guys like Khris Davis and Matt Olson are fully healthy, this is a deadly lineup with its chest puffed out. The 9-3 record that Oakland carried into the second half of the season should be a solid boost of momentum going forward.

The A’s opening IRT (implied run total) of 5.5 is one of the highest on tonight’s slate, and that says a lot about Nova’s impending meltdown, considering this is one of the worst hitting parks in MLB.

Perhaps the best part of betting the A’s tonight is their stud on the mound, Mike Fiers. In each of his last nine outings, the crafty right-hander has notched a quality start — over his last four outings, he’s allowed exactly one earned run each time out. Oakland has won seven of those nine contests, with the two losses (both by one run) coming against powerhouses Houston and Minnesota.

Fiers won’t be getting it done via the strikeout, but it’s important to note that his Statcast data is a better place than it’s ever been over his career.

When looking at the two bullpens in this game, the A’s clearly have the advantage here. Oakland’s pen is the only team in MLB allowing a HR/9 under 1.00 this season and its 3.91 ERA ranks seventh-best.

* Final Score Prediction * Oakland Athletics: 7 – Chicago White Sox: 2

MLB Betting Value Picks for Tuesday, July 2

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 128-110-4 (53.8%) *

[7:20 p.m. EST] Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
PHI: Aaron Nola – R (6-2, 4.22 ERA/1.36 WHIP)
ATL: Dallas Keuchel – L (1-1, 5.06 ERA/1.78 WHIP)

Vegas already made its statement on this game by giving the Phillies a massive 0.5 IRT increase. Not to mention, the Braves had the second-largest moneyline decrease of the day – not a good sign of things to come.

Aaron Nola has always done well against the Braves, and he comes into tonight’s matchup in peak form. The All-Star righty is 8-3 lifetime against Atlanta with a 2.46 ERA/1.07 WHIP in 14 starts. Nola has allowed only run and an 0.60 WHIP over his last 15 innings while striking out 20 hitters.

Dallas Keuchel takes the mound for the Braves and his return to baseball hasn’t exactly been great. In each of his two starts, Keuchel has allowed eight hits and three earned runs. Not to mention, Philly advanced metrics against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days is something we want a part of. The Phils have a massive .361 wOBA and .226 ISO against lefties in that span of time.

Philly is averaging just under 7.5 runs per game over their last seven, so having that recency bias and Nola with a great history against the Braves makes this bet all the sweeter.

* Final Score Prediction * Philadelphia Phillies: 5 – Atlanta Braves: 2

[10:10 p.m. EST] St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
STL: Jack Flaherty – R (4-5, 4.75 ERA/1.23 WHIP)
SEA: Matt Carasiti – R (0-0, 0.00 ERA/1.33 WHIP)

The top rating from the SK Trend Confidence comes to us from the Great Northwest. The over in tonight’s game is looking like a firm position, given how bad the pitching for Seattle has been. Matt Carasiti has been fine in limited work, but he’ll be handing the game off to Wade LeBlanc afterward — and that’s the best possible thing we’re looking for.

For whatever reason, the Cardinals just hit right-handed pitching much better — that’s just how it is. They’ll be able to take advantage of that later in the game, but LeBlanc’s basic style will suit them well early on.

I really like the future that Jack Flaherty has ahead of him, but things just haven’t been working out early on this season. In fact, things have been much worse on the road, where he owns a massive 6.68 ERA. Flaherty is coming off his worst start of the season, allowing nine hits (three homers and seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.

* Final Score Prediction * St. Louis Cardinals: 7 – Seattle Mariners: 5

MLB Betting Value Picks for Tuesday, June 25

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on  Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 120-105-4 (53.3%) *

[7:05 p.m. EST] Over 10.5 (-122) – New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
NYM: Walker Lockett – R (0-1, 23.14 ERA/2.57 WHIP)
PHI: Jake Arrieta – R (6-6, 4.12 ERA/1.39 WHIP)

We saw a slugfest last night, and we’re going to see one again. Vegas already set the tone for this game, raising the total from 10 to 10.5, and the heavy juice (-122) is on the over.

Most of that has to do with Walker Lockett, who has been battered in his brief MLB experience. Dating back to last season, Lockett owns an 0-4 record to go along with an 11.42 ERA/2.19 WHIP over 17 1/3 innings.

The Phils are coming off a season-high 19-hit performance in last night’s game, and I’d look for them to carry over the hot-swinging sticks tonight. As I mentioned in yesterday’s writing, the Phils were swept over the weekend by the lowly Marlins, and this series against the Mets is a true challenge of where this team is at – and where they’ll be going forward.

Jake Arrieta has thrown two consecutive quality starts, but I don’t see that trend continuing. Left-handed batters have been giving him plenty of trouble this season, and now the Mets have guys like Jeff McNeil, Robinson Cano and Michael Conforto back in the lineup.

Just as the case was last night, both teams’ bullpens are an absolute mess. I went over the advanced metrics yesterday, so there’s no need to do it again after a 13-7 game. They suck, take my word for it.

A total of eight homers were hit in last night’s game, adding on to the narrative of slugfests between these two teams at Citizens Bank Park. Let’s do it again!

* Final Score Prediction * Philadelphia Phillies: 10 – New York Mets: 5

[8:10 p.m. EST] Over 10.5 (-104) – Seattle Mariners at Milwaukee Brewers
SEA: Marco Gonzales – L (8-6, 4.38 ERA/1.37 WHIP)
MIL: Zach Davies – R (7-1, 3.06 ERA/1.36 WHIP)

We’ve got two hot offenses going head-to-head in Milwaukee, so it’s only natural to take the over here. After all, Vegas raised the total from 9.5 to 10.5, with each team getting a nice IRT increase as well – Brewers: +0.6, Mariners: +0.4.

After struggling at the beginning of June, the Brewers have now scored at least six runs in four of the last five games. Looking at their Statcast data over the last 21 days, we’ll see that Milwaukee has been quite unlucky against right-handed pitching over that span. Their .357 xwOBA and .310 wOBA have a huge gap, with the xwOBA telling us their quality of contact is high and the wOBA telling us how painful it’s been to watch those baseballs hit leather.

Marco Gonzales has pitched well in his last three outings, but he’s facing an incredibly tough lineup in their own ballpark tonight. Not to mention, Miller Park tends to favor offenses more often than not.

The Mariners’ bullpen owns the fourth-worst ERA (5.24) in all of baseball, and we’ll probably see more of them tonight if Gonzales gets lifted for a pinch hitter in the NL ballpark.

Zach Davies has been knocked around in the month of June, allowing 30 hits and 13 runs over 20 2/3 innings of work. Opposing hitters have a .353 batting average against him over that span.

Seattle’s offense is rocking and rolling with a .360 wOBA against right-handed pitching over the last 21 days, and the top of its’ lineup is mainly to thank for that.

All in all, we’ve got two teams making solid contact with the ball and the Brewers should especially be able to feast late in this game against the Mariners’ bullpen.

* Final Score Prediction * Milwaukee Brewers: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 6

MLB Betting Value Picks for Wednesday, June 19

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 113-94-4 (54.6%) *

[6:40 p.m. EST] Over 9 (-102) Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners
KC: Brad Keller – R (3-8, 3.97 ERA/1.34 WHIP)
SEA: Marco Gonzales – L (7-6, 4.50 ERA/1.39 WHIP)

The only trend with an A-grade in today’s SpreadKnowledge Trend Confidence rating is for the total going over in this game. It makes plenty of sense, considering 11 of the Mariners’ last 14 games have done such.

A big reason for today’s optimistic thinking is Marco Gonzalez, who has been ripped at T-Mobile Field this season. The lefty owns a 6.53 ERA and 1.60 WHIP to go along with an opposing batting average of .312 in eight home starts. In comparison, Gonzalez owns a 2.77 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with an opposing batting average of .244 on the road. Apparently, someone likes hotel linens.

The numbers for Gonzales are also brutal in daytime starts, with a 6.75 ERA and 1.86 WHIP with a .331 opposing batting average in six such outings.

If Gonzales gets beat up early, Seattle’s bullpen hasn’t been much better of late. Only the Orioles’ pen has allowed more runs over the last seven days, and only two pens have allowed more homers over the same stretch.

KC’s bats have been performing very well over the last three games, with a total of 23 runs in that stretch.

Brad Keller will take the mound for the Royals, and while he’s pitched well over the last two starts, I don’t think he’ll keep it up too much longer. Allowing baserunners have been an issue at times this season and the Mariners have plenty of speed on basepaths to make things uncomfortable for him. I don’t see Keller getting destroyed, but certainly allowing enough runs to comfortably get us over the total.

Vegas elevated the total of this game up to 9.0, from its original spot 8.5, with the IRTs increased for both teams – Mariners: +0.3, Royals: +0.2.

* Final Score Prediction: Kansas City Royals: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 4 *

[7:05 p.m. EST] Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates (1.5-run line: +100)
DET: Jordan Zimmermann – R (0-4, 5.93 ERA/1.35 WHIP)
PIT: Trevor Williams – R (2-1, 3.33 ERA/1.13 WHIP)

We rarely talk about the Pirates putting a thumping on teams, but tonight seems like a good time to start. Pittsburgh had more than a full-run IRT increase from 4.3 to 5.6, which is usually a glowing sign of success. The Pirates’ -200 number on the moneyline is their highest (by far) of the season. It’s also worth noting they’re a whopping 22-8 in the last 30 inter-league games.

A big reason for the massive favoritism is Trevor Williams, who owns a 2-0 record, 0.95 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in three career starts against the Tigers. One of those starts came back in April, as Williams allowed only two runs over six innings en route to getting the win.

Since this is Williams’ first start in a little over a month, I doubt he’ll go more than five innings – maybe six if all goes well. Not to worry, Pittsburgh’s bullpen has allowed the second-fewest runs (4) in MLB over the last seven days, and that’s even with facing the 10th-most batters (107) over that span.

Speaking of returning after a long stint on the injured list, Jordan Zimmermann will be doing the same. Things weren’t going well at all before that stint, and Zimmerman got rocked in his rehab outing in Triple-A on Thursday. The righty allowed four runs, including two homers, over 4 2/3 innings down on the farm for Toledo.

The big difference here is that Pittsburgh has done well against Zimmermann over the course of his career. In 98 plate appearances, the Pirates’ current roster owns a combined .326 batting average and .990 OPS to go along with six homers against him.

All in all, Vegas has spoken with the massive moneyline and IRT increases. I’m taking the Pirates on the 1.5-run line and shedding some money to lay out. The SK Trend Confidence rating also has a strong B+ grade on the total going over in this game, and that should have a lot to do with the Pirates’ success.

* Final Score Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates: 10 – Detroit Tigers: 2 *

[10:10 p.m. EST] Under 7.5 (-106) – San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
SF: Drew Pomeranz – L (2-6, 6.43 ERA/1.73 WHIP)
LAD: Rich Hill – L (4-1, 2.60 ERA/1.13 WHIP)

The SK Trend Confidence rating has a very strong lean (B+ grade) for the total going under in this game. Reason being, 13 of the Dodgers’ last 18 games have suffered that fate.

Rich Hill has been outstanding over his last six starts, allowing two runs or fewer in all of them – the only misnomer went for three runs. The strikeouts are starting to come back for Hill, who now has a total of 59 in 52 innings of work this season. San Fran has been downright awful against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days, with a .237 wOBA, .046 ISO and 28% K-rate. Good luck with all that.

While Hill doesn’t typically go too deep into games, that’s alright. The Dodgers’ bullpen owns the lowest ERA in MLB over the last seven and 14 days – another big reason why the total has been going under in a lot of their games recently.

We haven’t looked at Drew Pomeranz as a solid pitcher most of this season, but that hasn’t been the case lately. The lefty now has back-to-back appearances of allowing no earned runs, with one of those performances coming against these same Dodgers. Not to mention, the current Dodgers’ roster owns a combined .179 batting average and .235 on-base percentage in 101 career plate appearances against Pomeranz.

Vegas likes the under here, moving the total from 8.0 to 7.5 and both teams’ IRTs suffer because of that – Dodgers: -0.3, Giants: -0.2.

* Final Score Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 – San Francisco Giants: 1 *

MLB Betting Value Picks for Saturday, June 15

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh

* 2019 MLB Record: 106-89-4 (54.4%) *


[4:05 p.m. EST] Boston Red Sox (1.5-run line: -200) at Baltimore Orioles
BOS: Chris Sale – L (2-7, 3.52 ERA/0.96 WHIP)
BAL: Dylan Bundy – R (3-7, 4.50 ERA/1.23 WHIP)

The Orioles are a putrid 3-26 as a home underdog of +175 or more over the last two season. Yikes! That mark in the loss column is about to get bigger as Chris Sale takes the mound for the Red Sox. The lanky lefty is 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA/0.99 WHIP over his career when starting against the Orioles. There has been more success recently, as Sale has allowed one run or fewer in five of the last six starts against them.

Sale has been on top of his game recently, with at least 10 strikeouts in seven of his last nine starts. Just over a month ago, he dominated this same Bird Gang bunch, allowing one run over eight innings while striking out 14. Since this is a mid-day game the hitters might have to deal with some shadows, and that’ll make it nearly impossible to hit a pitcher like Sale. You should certainly give some thought to laying money on his 8.5 K-prop at -144 today.

Baltimore just struggled mightily last night against fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, and now own less-than-stellar .309 xwOBA/.166 ISO numbers versus left-handed pitching over the last 21 days.

Dylan Bundy takes the mound for the Orioles and he does not have a great history against the opposition, going 3-7 with a 5.25 ERA/1.50 WHIP lifetime. The splits aren’t in his favor either, as Bundy is 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA at home and 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA in day-time starts.

Hopefully, Boston can rip Bundy early and get to the Baltimore bullpen. Their 9.13 ERA (highest in MLB) over the last seven days was inflated quite a bit after last night’s whooping.

The Red Sox look to have finally gotten back on the good foot offensively, scoring a total of 29 runs over the last four games. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup after getting the night off – he has four career homers against Bundy.

It’s a ton of money to be laying on the 1.5-run line, but Boston loves it here in Baltimore, winning 16 of the last 18 meetings at Camden Yards.

* Final Score Prediction: Boston Red Sox: 7 – Baltimore Orioles: 1 *

[7:10 p.m. EST] Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (1.5-run line: -124)
KC: Glenn Sparkman – R (1-2, 3.58 ERA/1.30 WHIP)
MIN: Jake Odorizzi – R (9-2, 1.92 ERA/0.97 WHIP)

The Twins did it against last night, beating the weak and improving their mark to 28-10 this season against teams with a losing record. That number should go up some more as they put Jake Odorizzi on the mound. Minnesota has won the last 10 games that Odorizzi started, with eight of them coming by two runs or more.

It’s ridiculous to fathom the amount of success Odorizzi has produced this season. The veteran righty has started 13 games in 2019 – he’s allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of them, two runs or fewer in 11 of them, one run or fewer in eight of them, and no runs in six of them. Whoa!

KC’s offense has been sputtering quite a bit over the last 21 days against right-handed pitching, with an anemic .281 wOBA, .133 ISO and 24.7% K-rate. They’ve also scored three runs or fewer in five of the last six games, and two runs or fewer in four of the last six.

Glenn Sparkman starts for the Royals and his lack of ability to get strikeouts could very well get him in trouble against a potent Twins lineup. Minnesota has some of the best advanced-metrics in MLB this season, so I expect them to give Odorizzi more than enough run support in this game.

I mentioned this number last night, but it still resonates for this matchup – the Twins are 37-16 in games against right-handed starters while the Royals are 16-34. KC also owns the worst road record in baseball at 8-24.

* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 7 – Kansas City Royals: 1 *

[9:07 p.m. EST] Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics (1.5-run line: -110)
SEA: Wade LeBlanc – L (3-2, 5.31 ERA/1.37 WHIP)
OAK: Frankie Montas – R (8-2, 2.84 ERA/1.18 WHIP)

For the grand finale of the evening, we’re taking it out West. The A’s are massive -230 favorites on the moneyline, which is actually their highest of the season. Rather than lay all of that money, we’ve got some nice trends in our favor to cut that in half by going with the 1.5-run line.

Frankie Montas is probably the best pitcher in baseball that no one knows about. He tied his season high of 10 strikeouts in his last outing and has notched at least nine of them in three of the last five starts. Not to mention, Montas has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts this season.

Wade LeBlanc goes for the Mariners, and he’ll be facing an A’s team that has a .405 wOBA and .229 ISO against left-handed pitching over the last 21 days. Particularly, it’s been the bottom of Oakland’s lineup doing most of the damage over that span, and it’s not like the top four hitters in its lineup (Semien, Chapman, Piscotty, Davis) are a bunch of slouches either. LeBlanc got hit around pretty well by them in his last meeting and I expect plenty of the same in this one.

If the A’s do get to LeBlanc early, their offense will have the benefit of facing a Mariners bullpen that has allowed the most runs (26) and the second-highest ERA (8.56) over the last seven days.

* Final Score Prediction: Oakland Athletics: 7 – Seattle Mariners: 3 *


<> Key terms used in today’s writing:

– ISO Isolated Power (A sabermetric computation used to measure a player’s raw power. This distinguishes a batter with a .300 batting average and many singles, as opposed to a batter with a .300 average and more extra-base hits… typically, .200 is where you want to be in ISO.)

– wOBA = Weighted On-Base Average (A version of on-base percentage that accounts for how a player reached base. The value for each event is determined by how much it is worth in relation to a run created – Ex: a double is worth more than a single, a triple is worth more than a double, a home run is worth more than a triple, etc… about .320 is league average)

– xwOBA = Expected Weighted On-Base Average (The same thing as wOBA, just removing defense from the equation. An easy way of looking at xwOBA, would be to just imagine there are no fielders on the playing surface.)

– wRC+ = Weighted Runs Created Plus (Runs created + adjusting the number to account for important external factors – like ballpark or ERA… 100 is league average)

MLB Betting Value Picks for Wednesday, June 12

By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh


* 2019 MLB Record: 104-82-4 (56%) *

[7:05 p.m. EST] Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies (ML: -137)
ARZ: Merrill Kelly – R (6-6, 4.12 ERA/1.36 WHIP)
PHI: Zach Eflin – R (6-5, 2.88 ERA/1.19 WHIP)

Zach Eflin loves sleeping in his own bed, as evidenced by the 4-1 record and 2.10 ERA he’s produced at Citizens Bank Park this season. Both teams had their IRTs decrease (Phillies: -0.3, D-Backs: -0.2) since the open today and that’s probably a good sign for Eflin, considering how well he’s pitched at home. With the total dropping a half-run, that has more to do with Eflin than his opposition.

I’m looking for a big shutdown performance from Eflin that’ll carry the Phils to victory. After all, Philly is unbeaten in all six of Eflin’s June starts over the last two seasons, while going 32-18 this season when a right-handed starter is on the mound.

30-year-old rookie Merrill Kelly has been outstanding in each of his last two starts, but he does own a 6.00 ERA in seven outings away from Chase Field this season. Kelly has been much worse against right-handed batters and the Phils have plenty of them (Segura, Hoskins, Realmuto, Kingery, Franco) that can make life difficult on him.

The Phils will be without Bryce Harper in the starting lineup tonight, but I still think we’re getting solid value here with Eflin on the mound.

* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 4 – Arizona Diamondbacks: 2 *

[7:10 p.m. EST] St. Louis Cardinals (1.5-run line: -116) at Miami Marlins
STL: Miles Mikolas – R (4.54 ERA/1.19 WHIP)
MIA: Jordan Yamamoto – R (MLB debut)

Well, it finally happened – the Marlins came crashing back down to Earth. After taking the first two of a three-game series in Milwaukee last week, the Marlins have now scored one run or fewer in five of the last six games.

Things won’t get any easier as Miami will have Jordan Yamamoto, making his MLB debut, against the usually-efficient Miles Mikolas. The Cardinals are 31-14 in games that Mikolas starts over the last two seasons, including a 15-6 mark on the road over that span. Not to mention, Mikolas is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in his career against the Marlins.

Yamamoto had a 3-5 record with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville this season. He was actually part of the deal that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee. Needless to say, we know who won that trade.

The Marlins are 2-14 at home as underdogs of +125 to +175 this season, and 0-9 at home when the total is 8.0 or 8.5.

* Final Score Prediction: St. Louis Cardinals: 6 – Miami Marlins: 1 *

[8:10 p.m. EST] Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins (1.5-run line: -135)
SEA: Opener <-to-> Tommy Milone – L (1-1, 3.10 ERA/1.08 WHIP)
MIN: Jose Berrios – R (8-2, 3.14 ERA/1.08 WHIP)

Jose Berrios has been outstanding at Target Field, compiling a 23-6 record there since 2017. The Twins are 11-2 in games that Berrios starts this season, with eight of them coming by two runs or more. Tonight’s outlook to cover the 1.5-run line looks much more optimistic, considering he won’t be squaring off against a fellow ace.

In fact, the Twins will face an opener from the Mariners’ bullpen before left-handed Tommy Milone comes in to handle the majority of the work on the mound. That’s bad news for Milone, considering Minnesota has excellent numbers against left-handed pitching, including a massive .439 wOBA and .298 ISO in that split over the last 21 days.

More Twins’ goodies, yay! Minnesota has been pounding on the weak this season, going 26-9 against teams with a losing record and have posted a resounding 24-4 record as a home favorite of -175 to -250 over the last three seasons

After starting the season 13-2, Seattle is now 10-28 over the last 38 games. Not to mention, the Mariners moved to 5-26 against teams with a winning record after last night’s loss.

Twins roll big!

* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 8 – Seattle Mariners: 2 *