- Joey Wentz Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-105) at BetMGM
- Kyle Hendricks under 2.5 total earKyle Hendricks Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-110) at BetMGM
- Blake Snell Over 1.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-167) at BetMGM
Top Sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s baseball action. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in:
- Tigers vs. Phillies
- Cubs vs. Padres
For your MLB picks, I will recommend investing in strong performances from Detroit’s Joey Wentz and Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks and in a weak performance from San Diego’s Blake Snell.
Monday, June 05, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at Citizens Bank Park
Joey Wentz (Detroit Tigers)
Detroit starts Joey Wentz today. Wentz is a big reason why Detroit is an excellent underdog today. To see why, you can’t let yourself be shocked by his ERA.
ERA is partly a superficial statistic, but the main thing is that it is a season-long statistic. A player’s season-long statistics are going to be affected by what he did in April, but we are in June right now, and what a player did in April is irrelevant to how he is performing now.
Wentz’s current form is excellent. Most recently, he held mighty Texas to one earned run in 4.1 innings. His FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) was under 2.80 in both of his last starts.
Wentz’s pitching arsenal allows him to be so effective. Most prominently, he relies on a fastball — he throws this pitch 45 percent of the time. This pitch has a good amount of spin – it ranks in the 61st percentile for a spin.
He likes to elevate this pitch where its appearance of rising action fools batters into swinging underneath it.
Philadelphia’s Bad Spot
The Phillies are also in a terrible spot. Their lineup has scored zero runs, three runs, and one run in the three home games they were scheduled to play directly following a road trip. Moreover, they scored zero runs both times in the game that they were scheduled to play directly after one in which they obtained a double-digit run total.
Their lineup, in sum, is due for a letdown today. Even if they weren’t in a bad spot, they match up poorly with Wentz, ranking 29th in slugging against his pitches from lefties.
MLB Prop Pick: Joey Wentz Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-105) at BetMGM
Monday, June 05, 2023 – 09:10 PM EDT at PETCO Park
Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs)
Kyle Hendricks starts for the Cubs today. Hendricks’ 3.86 ERA disguises somewhat the quality of his pitching thus far. In his first start – he has made two starts so far – he yielded a 6.23 ERA and a .429 BABIP (batting average of balls in play).
He was unfortunate to yield these two stats in the sense that he did a great job of preventing batters from achieving hard contact against his pitches. His 3.05 FIP in that start reflects how well he actually performed. In his last start, he again did a great job of limiting hard contact. He allowed one run to the Rays. Evidently, it is hard to achieve hard contact against Hendricks. A major reason why this is the case is his precision.
As heat maps show, he does a great job of placing his pitches along the borders of the strike zone where batters are less likely to make good contact. Especially his changeup is effective. It is intelligent of him that throws this pitch so often because it yields a .286 slugging rate.
Hendricks is in a good spot today because he is pitching in San Diego today. In his career, he is 5-1 with a 2.29 ERA in the Padres’ Petco Park. Anyhow, despite having many big names in their lineup, the Padres have disappointed immensely.
One piece of evidence that they are disappointing is the extent to which they match up poorly with Hendricks. Specifically, they rank 22nd in slugging against Hendricks’ favorite pitches from righties.
For your MLB Picks, know that Chicago is a great underdog today largely because of Hendricks.
MLB Prop Pick: Kyle Hendricks Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-110) at BetMGM
Blake Snell (San Diego Padres)
San Diego starts Blake Snell today. Snell does a lot of important things poorly. He struggles to throw strikes. 35.8% of his pitches land in the strike zone. In a similar vein, he starts batters off with a strike with relatively low frequency, so he is often pitching from behind.
When he does throw pitches outside of the zone, batters are chasing at a low rate. Meanwhile, when he does manage to throw strikes, batters are making contact and that contact is often hard to contact.
Concretely put, his strikeout rate has declined significantly from 12.02 strikeouts per nine innings last year to 9.80 strikeouts this year. Likewise, his walk rate has worsened from 3.59 walks per nine innings last year to 5.46 walks per nine innings this season.
One reason why it is hard for him to be aggressive is that his pitches inside the strike zone are rather vulnerable. He relies extensively on his fastball, which he throws almost 60% of the time.
Heat maps show that he often leaves this pitch in the middle of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage. Poor location largely explains why batters slug .500 against this pitch. Because he throws his fastball so often, it is a fact that he really struggles to find a pitch to rely on.
While Snell’s last two starts were good, these create a misleading impression of him because he is still struggling to limit walks, limit hard contact, and do other things well. He benefitted from facing lineups that match up better against him than the Cubs do.
Chicago ranks fourth in slugging against his pitches from lefties. The Over/Under on his total earned runs allowed is only 1.5, and he exceeded this total in all five of his starts against teams that rank top-10 against his pitches from lefties.
MLB Prop Pick: Blake Snell Over 1.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-167) at BetMGM