MLB Handicapping: Best Early-Week Matchups for Betting
by Adam Richard - 7/23/2012
The ability to get a jump on the sportsbooks is one of the most significant weapons in an MLB handicapper’s arsenal against the bookies. Because of the rigid pitching schedules intended to protect hurler’s arms, we are able to project games early. Bettors can study and analyze stats and trends days before the game, all the while making minor adjustments daily based on side factors (travel, bullpen use previously, injuries, etc).
Here is a look at some games that stood out in my mind for early in the week:
Monday July 23
New York Yanees (-1.5) at Seattle Mariners
The New York Yankees have had a rough start to their West Coast road trip. The Yankees have dropped four straight games and were swept by Oakland. Bettors normally wouldn’t have suspected the mighty Yankees to fall at the hands of the A’s. New York averaged only 2.5 runs in those four games, but that trend will end Monday when Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound in Seattle against Kevin Millwood.
Kuroda, coming from the NL West, does not have much experience versus the members of the Seattle lineup. The only Mariner that has faced Kuroda in more than 10 at bats is Miguel Olivo. The pitcher always holds the advantage when the hitter has not had exposure to his repertoire. Kuroda uses four pitches, mixing different speeds for each one, and the Mariners lineup is already off-balance with negative pitch values against fastballs, curveballs and change-ups.
Millwood, has been exposed by the Yankee lineup for many years. Robinson Cano, Mark Teixera, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, Andrew Jones and Raul Ibanez are all hitting well over .300 against Millwood with good power numbers.
Bettors will be able to put up larger wagers on the moneyline to receive standard payouts or lay the points with the runline (-1.5) on the Yankees and get a nice return.
Tuesday, July 24
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox (-1.5)
Cole De Vries is a nice story for a Minnesota home-town kid, but he belongs in the minor leagues. That being said, he has had some recent success, including pitching seven shutout innings in Texas. This recent success will pay off for prospective baseball handicappers looking to take advantage of better MLB odds.
De Vries had his first start in the majors this season in Chicago, where he gave up six runs (three earned) over five innings. The notorious stats for De Vries in that game were the three home runs he allowed in those five innings. Throughout the season, he has a better than 2-1 ratio of fly balls to ground balls, which plays right into the White Sox game in Chicago.
Chicago will have Jose Quintana on the mound, and he has had some recent success of his own. During four out of his last six games he has thrown eight innings without giving up more than one run, including games against Boston and Texas.
The important factor with this matchup is that Minnesota has awful stats against lefties. The Twins three best hitters against lefties have one home run on the season against lefties and the fourth best, Trevor Plouffe, has a thumb injury that took him out of Friday night’s game.
The Chicago White Sox run line (-1.5) should give bettors an opportunity to make a nice return off of De Vries’ small streak of recent success, while the moneyline odds will also be decent value for the more conservative bettor. The Twins will continue to struggle against lefties and De Vries will continue to struggle with the long ball in Chicago.
Wednesday, July 25
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians (+1.5)
Max Scherzer will square off against Derek Lowe in Cleveland. Earlier this season Lowe faced Detroit and gave up seven runs in five innings. Scherzer also faced Cleveland and gave up eight runs in four and a third innings. Neither of these matchups occurred in Cleveland.
Scherzer has had some success against Cleveland, but Shin-Soo Choo is hitting leadoff for the Indians and he has hit .588 against Scherzer over 17 at-bats and has only struck out twice. Johnny Damon, Travis Hafner and young Jason Kipnis have had some early success against Scherzer as well. Scherzer’s career numbers at Progressive Field include an 0-3 mark with a 7.48 ERA while giving up 18 runs in 21 innings.
Lowe, unlike his counterpart, does not rack up many strikeouts and rarely throws over 90 miles per hour these days. However, he does have success against the Tigers two best hitters. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are a combined 11-51 against Lowe with only two home runs. Lowe should be able to keep the ball down in Cleveland against the Tigers and give them an opportunity to win.
On the surface, the young strikeout artist Scherzer, with the more powerful lineup behind him, will be favored. This will leave opportunity for bettors to make good on both taking the points (+1.5) and the moneyline with Cleveland.
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