MLB Betting Value Picks for Saturday, May 18

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

* 2019 MLB Record: 68-43-4 (61.3%) *

[4:05 p.m. EST] Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies (1.5-run line: +114)
COL: Antonio Senzatela – R (3-2, 5.35 ERA/1.40 WHIP)
PHI: Aaron Nola – R (3-0, 4.86 ERA/1.55 WHIP)

The Phillies have the highest IRT (+0.7) and second-highest moneyline (-155 to -176) increases on the day. And that’s a good sign, considering Aaron Nola is on the hill for Philly. Aside from a rough outing against the powerful Brewers, Nola held opposing teams to one run in each of his previous three starts.

Meanwhile, these Rockies are striking out at a 31.8% clip over the last seven days, which is the second-highest in all of baseball. Now that the weather is starting to get a little warmer in Philly, we should see Nola get a better grip on the baseball, thus giving him more movement on those breaking pitches.

Antonio Senzatela has been much better on the road (3.31 ERA) than at home (7.27 ERA) this season, but Vegas has already spoken with the increases for the Phillies today. I have a feeling Rhys Hoskins is about to break out of his recent skid, as Senzatela has allowed more extra-base hits to right-handed hitters. Not to mention, Philly has quite a few righties that can do the same with Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, JT Realmuto and Maikel Franco.

Ultimately, I don’t mind the over in this game, considering the bullpens for both sides rank in the bottom third of MLB over the last seven days, but Philly on the 1.5-run line is where I’m planting my flag.

* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 7 – Colorado Rockies: 3 *

[4:10 p.m. EST] Under 9.5 (-122) – Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians
BAL: John Means – L (5-3, 2.33 ERA/1.03 WHIP)
CLE: Adam Plutko – R (season debut)

Progressive Field is one of the few stadiums in baseball that has to deal with these pesky shadows for mid-day games. That’s bad news for an Indians team that already has the fourth-highest K-rate (28.1%) against left-handed pitching.

Hopefully, those shadows help Adam Plutko, who will be making his season debut after pitching down in Triple-A. He did make 17 appearances (12 starts) last season, going 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA, but did pitch well against this Baltimore team during that stretch.

All in all, the background conditions should be able to give a nice boost to both pitchers today early on, and that should hold off the double-digit total for long enough. The SK Trend Confidence rating also likes this game as one of its top plays today.

* Final Score Prediction: Baltimore Orioles: 4 – Cleveland Indians: 3 *

[10:07 p.m. EST] Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels (1.5-run line: +106)
KC: Jakob Junis – R (3-4, 5.77 ERA/1.55 WHIP)
LAA: Griffin Canning – R (1-1, 5.65 ERA/1.33 WHIP)

A lot of people that I trust are big on this Griffin Canning kid, and I can pick up what they’re putting down. Despite losing at hitter-friendly Camden Yards in his last outing, Canning has posted at least six strikeouts in all three of his starts this season. The Royals’ offense has been quite stagnant of late, with only four runs over the last three games. Prior to yesterday’s two-run output, KC posted one run or fewer in four of five games.

Jakob Junis has not been good this season, allowing at least eight baserunners in seven of his last eight starts. That’s not good news for an Angels team that has a massive .401 wOBA and .219 ISO against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days.

Just as we did yesterday, we’re going with the Angels big here.

* Final Score Prediction: Los Angeles Angels: 8 – Kansas City Royals: 3 *