In the day-to-day grind that is Major League Baseball betting, it’s always a good idea to look at the upcoming week and circle a few spots that you’d like to exploit. Not only might we notice some things that we may not have time to notice if we handicap the game hours before it’s played, but we might even be able to pull the trigger on some bets when the opening lines are first posted.
I’ve circled 3 such spots for this week, situations in which I love the matchups and also think we’ll get some pretty good value from the oddsmakers. In these 3 MLB value picks for this week, I’m looking to wager on a short home favorite, an Over against two overrated pitchers, and an ugly home dog that might pay in the range of double your money. Let’s get started!
1. Padres/Rockies Over (Tuesday, 8:40 p.m. eastern)
I have to admit, betting a Padres game to go Over the total always feels like lighting money on fire. For whatever reason, San Diego’s offense consistently seems to rank at the bottom of the league year after year, and 2018 is no different. Going into this week’s action, the Padres are 25th or lower in MLB in runs per game, home runs, OPS and batting average, ranking dead last in the Majors in the latter.
However, the Padres aren’t a dead-nuts Under team – at least this season, where they’ve actually gone Over (62) more times than Under (60). Part of that is thanks to a pitching staff that has put up the third-fewest quality starts in MLB (despite playing half their games in pitcher-friendly Petco Park), but it’s also apparent that oddsmakers are consistently going pretty low with totals in San Diego games. Even the worst attacks in baseball will go Over the total with consistency when the Over/Under is 7 or 7.5 most nights, especially when they’re facing a pitcher that they might do some damage against.
That’s the situation that the Padres will have Tuesday in Colorado. Not only will they get to hit in the higher altitude of Coors Field, they’ll also get to go up against one of the most struggling pitchers in baseball lately in Tyler Anderson. The lefty hasn’t recorded a victory since July 4 (an alarming drought, considering that he pitches for a Colorado squad that enters the week neck and neck with Arizona for first place in the NL West), and he’s given up 4 runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts – including getting bombed for 9 runs last week in Houston. Control has been Anderson’s big issue of late, issuing 13 walks over his last 5 starts while striking out just 23. Even San Diego can put up a couple of crooked numbers if Anderson continues issuing this many free passes, especially if he can’t get out of trouble consistently with the strikeout.
So why aren’t we interested in backing the Padres outright for what would probably be a price approaching +200 on the moneyline? Sure, there will likely be some really good value there, and I wouldn’t try to talk you out of taking a shot with the Fathers. But I’m just not willing to trust San Diego starter Robbie Erlin, even though his season numbers (3.33 ERA) are solid. Erlin is simply a fill-in in the Pads’ rotation until their starters get healthier, and he’s been pulled before throwing 90 pitches in each of his last three starts. If the Rockies work their at-bats and elevate Erlin’s pitch count early in this game, they could see the soft underbelly of the Padres’ middle relief by the 5th or 6th – and that’s not a good thing for San Diego backers.
Instead, I’ll simply look for both offenses to take advantage of decent matchups by betting the Over in this one. Hopefully we’ll get a manageable number to work with as oddsmakers may post another lower-than-usual total for a game in Coors Field, due to the Padres’ offense being involved. As long as this total is around 10 or 11, I think we’ve got an excellent shot at bagging a winner on the Padres/Rockies Over.
2. White Sox over Twins (Wednesday, 2:10 p.m. eastern)
One of the greatest pleasures of MLB betting is the opportunity to make some money on the diamond while you’re also making money at work. I can’t count many better things as a gambler that feel better than cashing a winner in an afternoon weekday game while I’m stuck at the office, and the White Sox should present us with a nice opportunity to do exactly that – at some pretty nice odds to boot.
That’s because Carlos Rodon is taking the bump for the Chisox in the final game of a mini 2-game set between these AL Central rivals (they also play Monday, but that game will be played in Minnesota as the teams make up for a rainout earlier this year). Over the past 6 weeks, Rodon has looked a lot like former White Sox lefty Chris Sale, going 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his last seven starts. However, with Rodon still a relative unknown in the MLB betting marketplace (he’s 4-3 with a 2.69 ERA in just his second MLB season), we won’t have to lay nearly the same price as bettors had to lay when Sale used to take the hill for the Pale Hose.
Kyle Gibson is expected to take the ball for Minnesota, which should also help us get a favorable line on the Chisox. Gibson is having another solid year (3.51 ERA in 25 starts), but that tidy-looking ERA is a bit misleading. Gibson is walking more than 3.5 batters per 9 innings, his batting average against on balls in play is a career-low .284, and his FIP and xFIP are both roughly half-a-run higher than his ERA. All of those signs suggest regression is in Gibson’s near future. In fact, it may have already started, with Gibson allowing at least 3 earned runs in 4 of his last 6 starts and 7 of his last 10.
The White Sox are way out of the playoff chase, but they’re not exactly playing out the string either. The postseason was never part of the goal this year for this young and promising roster, and simply getting better every day will continue to be the goal as the Chisox build towards 2019 and beyond. They enter this week with 4 wins in their last 5 games, while the Twins are one of the worst road teams in MLB this year at 21-39.
Even if Chicago is a short favorite in this spot (which I’m expecting), there’s still a ton of value on Rodon and the White Sox to deliver us a moneyline winner.
3. Orioles over Yankees (Friday, 7 p.m. eastern)
It’s no secret that 2018 has been a disastrous season in Baltimore. Coming off a 75-win campaign in 2017 and having made several trips to the playoffs in recent years under manager Buck Showalter, the O’s were at least expected to be respectable (their Over/Under wins for this year was set at 73). And given how Showalter has managed to do a lot with a little over his career, I’m not sure anyone would have been totally surprised if the Orioles were in contention for a wild card spot going into August.
Of course, that didn’t happen. In fact, the Orioles’ season was over early after Baltimore lost 27 of its first 35 games, and things have only gotten worse since. After losing 2 of 3 in Cleveland over the weekend, the O’s enter this week 50 games under .500 and 50.5 games behind the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. Of those two half-century statistics, I’m not sure which is more incredible.
Lost in all of that doom and gloom, however, has be the emergence of Alex Cobb. Yes, the righty’s season numbers look as horrible as the rest of his teammates (4-15 record, 5.09 ERA), but those stats have gotten a whole lot better of late as Cobb has put together quite an impressive string of outings. In the month of August, he’s allowed just 5 earned runs in 29 innings! What’s better, those numbers haven’t come against soft competition. All of his opponents during that stretch were teams above .500, including the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians.
So if you’re looking for a fat underdog price to take a shot at on Friday night, Cobb is certainly worth a shot. Betting on the Orioles in 2018 is always a pretty big gamble, and the O’s will obviously be in tough with the Yankees in town. But the Bronx Bombers won’t likely have one of their best arms on the mound Friday night (8-8 Lance Lynn is the projected starter), so Baltimore may actually have a considerable advantage on the pitching mound in the early innings.
If the O’s can get into the sixth or seventh with a lead and keep the Yankees’ top relievers from getting involved, they might just be able to deliver us a nice underdog payout, making the Orioles moneyline an excellent value play to consider on the Friday night board.