MLB Betting Value Picks for Thursday, April 11 (Night Games)

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

[7:20 p.m. EST] Over 9 –  New York Mets at Atlanta Braves
NYM: Steven Matz – L (0-0, 0.87 ERA)
ATL: Kevin Gausman – R (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Nine of the 11 Mets’ games have reached the over this season, and a big part of that is the ineffectiveness of their bullpen, which ranks fifth-worst in MLB with a 6.51 ERA. That’s not a great sign for a team heading into one of the best hitting parks in the Majors and the wind is blowing out to left field at 12 mph. Both teams have seen its IRT rise (Mets: +0.3, Braves: +0.2) and have the second- and third-highest increase on the night slate.

Although Matz has gotten off to a great start this season and owns a great history against the Braves (4-0, 2.75 in seven career starts), most of that success wasn’t against this current group of guys. These ATL bats are in a great position, with Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson have been red-hot while Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. are also producing nicely.

Gausman had a nice outing to start the season, but we should remember that it came against a very weak Marlins team. The Mets have been swinging it well, specifically Michael Conforto and Peter Alonso – we can even throw in J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil if we wanted to. Robbie Cano also has a .400 lifetime average against Gausman. Not to mention, the Braves’ bullpen ranks ninth-worst in MLB with a 5.54 ERA.

* Final Score Prediction: Atlanta Braves: 7 – New York Mets: 6 *

[8:05 p.m. EST] Under 9 – Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
PIT: Joe Musgrove – R (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
CHC: Jose Quintana – L (0-1, 10.29 ERA)

The initial 10.5 total on this game has dropped down to nine, which is quite significant. So, it’s no surprise that both teams (Cubs: -0.9, Pirates: -0.7) have the largest Implied Run Total (IRT) decreases on the entire slate.

Musgrove has yet to allow a run in two appearances (one start, one relief), allowing only three hits and one walk over nine innings while striking out nine batters. Plus, the current Cubs roster only has a career .183 batting average against Musgrove. Given his current string on success in the present day, the Cubs will likely struggle a great deal on offense. Not to mention, Musgrove is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.

On the other side, Quintana will be looking to rebound from a horrific start against the Brewers. It helps today’s under on the total that he is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates. Ultimately, though, the Cubs’ bullpen has struggled plenty, owning MLB’s sixth-worst ERA (6.34) this season.

* Final Score Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates: 4 – Chicago Cubs: 3 *

 [9:45 p.m. EST] Under 7 – Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
COL: Jon Gray – R (0-2, 5.68 ERA)
SF: Jeff Samardzija – R (0-0, 2.79 ERA)

I might be one of the few people out there that thinks Samardzija is a decent pitcher, but I will only take the chance of using him for money (betting or DFS) when pitching at Oracle Park, one of the league’s worst parks for hitting. Samardzija doesn’t have great overall numbers against the Rockies, but when the games haven’t been at Coors Field, he has a 3.02 ERA in those matchups. While he does have decent numbers this season, the former Notre Dame wideout hasn’t been going too deep into games. But that’s ok, considering the Giants’ bullpen ranks fourth in MLB with a 2.63 ERA.

Gray goes for the Rockies, and he’ll be salivating over this matchup against a Giants team that has a collective batting average of .206 and the league’s fourth-fewest amount of runs scored. In his last start, Gray ran into the scorching-hot Dodgers’ offense at Coors Field, so I won’t take that outing too deeply into thought. Look for him to rebound with a nice outing tonight against a bad San Fran offense.

All in all, I just don’t like the way either team is playing right now. I’ll give the edge to the Giants being at home and having the better bullpen, but I don’t think we’ll see a ton of runs in any event.

* Final Score Prediction: San Francisco Giants: 3 – Colorado Rockies: 2 *