Expert Baseball Picks
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Even with Jacob deGrom on the mound who for the most part has pitched exceptionally well, the Mets are not a good bet going 7-11 in his 18 starts. So backing the host laying money is unlikely to have a positive effect on your bankroll. The total is a different story. deGrom has shown some cracks in recent games allowing an HR in three consecutive starts lasting just six innings in two of his last three allowing a trio of runs in both games. The Phillies counter with Vince Velasquez who is making his first start after going on the DL. Before the injury, he was pitching well on the road, but none of those games were against the Mets who have a quartet of betters who have faced him with overall success. Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes have combined for 11 hits in 31 at bats with Conforto and Cabrera owning him going 9 for 18. The UNDER has indeed been trending in this matchup this season with a 1-6 mark versus the O/U line, but I think the opportunity to surpass tonight's low total has some value.
We don't have a lot to go on here as far as historical Pitcher vs. Hitter data as neither of today's starters has faced any of the projected starting line-up's hitters. What we do know is that the Cards Miles Mikolas is having the best season of his four-year MLB career with an excellent 70.6 quality start percentage overall and that improves to 80% in his night starts. We also know that Dylan Covey started the season out well enough. He didn’t rack up the innings, but he did hold the opposition to two or fewer runs in five of his first seven starts, but he’s been atrocious since then getting lit up for 19 runs (18 earned) over 10 innings. St. Louis is only 4-3 on their current road trip, but the competition was more difficult and should be able to get by the lowly Sox tonight.
There isn't much historically for either pitcher in the Pitcher vs. Batter metric. LAD starter Alex Wood has faced two Angels starters allowing one hit and one walk in three plate appearances. LAA starter Andrew Heaney has held the Dodgers line-up to a career .182 batting average in 11 at-bats. Current form does favor Wood though with three consecutive quality starts allowing a combined five runs in 21 innings pitched, but the home/away metric favors Heaney. The left-hander has been exceptional at home this season with a 2.18 ERA 0.97 WHIP and Wood holds an unflattering 4.04 ERA. What Wood does have in his favor is that the Angels have been burning their backers’ money against lefties this season with a record of 6-16 scoring over a full run less compared to their scoring against right-handed pitching. This sets up a dual play for me.
The Yanks starter Sonny Gray has been horrible for the most part this season with a bloated overall earned run average of 5.44. He does, however, have a respectable road ERA of 3.28 and has pitched well at Rogers Centre this season allowing one earned run over 12 innings in two starts. Historically he has owned tonight’s projected Jays’ lineup with the hitters combining for a 1.93 batting average in 135 at bats. Toronto sends out Sam Gaviglio who has been real sharp at home this season with a 1.95 era and included in that metric is seven shutout innings against the Yankees back on June 6th. The New York forecasted line-up has one hit in 18 at bats for a 0.56 BA. The Yankees can give the scorekeeper a workout, but in Toronto this season both teams haven’t been quite offensively with four of the five games falling below the total.
The Marlins Pablos Lopez looked good in his debut but got dinged for two home runs, and he'll have to be extra careful tonight with the wind forecasted to be blowing out at Nationals Park. He does catch an opponent that has lost eight of their last nine, and the losses can be attributed to an offense that has been atrocious scoring greater than three runs in all but one of the eight losses and not by much scoring four against Boston two back. Washington starter Jeremy Hellickson was decent enough in his return after missing nearly a month on the DL, and he does have good back numbers versus Miami. That said, even if he has a good outing, he hasn’t been getting deep into games completing six or more just once this season and the Nats BP hasn't been ultra-sharp in recent action. The Marlins haven't beaten the nationals in like "forever," but I think the rook who has been superb is worth a shot at plus money tonight against the struggling Washington batters.
After a rough patch, Houston starter Gerrit Cole has been sharp allowing two earned runs in 11 innings over his last two starts. On the road is where Cole has pitched his best with a scintillating 0.95 WHIP, 2.14 ERA and a 77.8 quality start percentage. He's owned the Rangers this season allowing four earned runs over 20 innings pitched and historically he has held the projected starters to a 1. Batting average! Lefty Mike Minor gets the ball for Texas, and while he hasn't been dominant against the Houston line-up, he did toss a good one last time right here at Globe Life Park getting the QS pitching six innings allowing three earned runs. In 75 at bats, tonight's expected line-up for the Astros has hit an unimpressive .227. Seven of the last nine in this series have gone under the number, and that's what I'm betting will happen again this time around.
They say not to jump in front of a speeding car or get in front of a streaking team, but in this situation, I think it's the correct way to play this game. The Rays have won eight of nine, but all nine of those games were played at Tropicana Field, and the road has not been favorable in their last 12 games getting the money in just two matches. Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched one of his better games in his previous start but had been struggling before getting tagged with 16 runs over his last four over just 23 1/3 innings. He doesn't have a large historical sample size against today's projected line-up, but in the 17 at bats, six Marlins have combined for a .412 average with all six hitters record at least one hit. Miami's starter Wei-Yin Chen hasn't impressed against the Tamp Bay line-up, but he held his own holding six batters to a combined .275 careers average. I’ll take the money here and back the home squad.
The Giants come into this game ultra-sharp winners of six of their last seven including the first two in this three-game set. The two starters for this afternoons finale have both been sharp in recent starts, and while Zack Godley does possess the better home numbers versus Derek Holland's road numbers, Holland has hands down the better metrics against today's opponent.
The Giants left-hander has held Arizona’s projected line-up to a .200 batting average over 60 at bats which is far superior to Godley’s .371 BA by San Francisco’s expected line-up. I’ll take the hot team with the edge historically on the mound getting plus money.
Cleveland’s starter Mike Clevinger has been pitched well for most of the season recording an impressive quality start percentage of 62.5% both overall and on the road. He has the one-lifetime start against Oakland, and it was decent pitching 6 2/3 allowing three runs on five hits, but he did give up two home runs. The Athletics haven't been lighting up the scoreboard, but they have scored 5.16 runs per game over their six-game winning streak and with the wind blowing out they may cause Clevinger some grief. The A’s starter Frankie Montas has been having a hard time staying out of trouble over his last three with a bloated WHIP of 2.27 to go with a 7.20 earned run average. Montas might be precisely what the doctor ordered to get their offense back on track.
After an excellent start to the season, the Angels have struggled especially on the road where they're 1-7 over their last eight and 4-11 in their previous 15. It's not looking good for them to improve on those numbers tonight.
The pitching match-up goes to Boston and Price hands down. The Red Sox starter faced the Angels earlier in the season when Los Angeles was hot and battled throughout with three hits and four walks but only got carded for one while striking out six. He hasn’t been lasting long into games not always getting the required six IP to record a quality start, but he has held the opposition to three or few runs in eight straight. The Angels starter has been hittable in his two starts this season allowing nine hits over 8 1/3 innings including 3 HRs and brings a 2-12 career mark as a starter into this game. The Boston offense hasn’t been consistent the last week or so, scoring three or fewer in four of their previous nine, but 43 runs in the other five.
The Angels took two of three from the Jays in Toronto back in May, and one of the losses came with tonight's starting pitchers on the mound. Both starters received a no-decision in the Angels win, but Toronto's Aaron Sanchez was the stronger of the two. Coming into this game both have pitched well with matching three game QS streaks, but Sanchez has the better numbers against the lineup having a career .255 versus Skaggs .318. The Jays arrive as the hotter team and on paper have an edge in starting pitching tonight. If the bullpen doesn't blow it this time around, we should have a nice dog winner.
Short and sweet analysis today. The Yankees come back home after flying out to Washington to play basically a game and a half, and it will be no surprise if they are not in top form tonight. They'll be facing a quality pitcher in Marco Gonzales who is on a nice roll holding the opposition to three or fewer runs in six straight while recording five quality starts. He’s been sound on the road with a 5-2 record and 3.29 ERA and has a QS percentage of 71.4% away from home. The Yanks starter Domingo German has looked better in his last two getting the QS in both but keep in mind, he was facing two of the least productive offensive clubs in the two starts. He has struggled at home this campaign going 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. I’m going to back the rested Mariners who have proven that they can get it done on the road.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney has been roughed up in two of his last three both on the road and brings a dismal 5.68 road ERA this season into the game. He did pitch well in his previous two road starts holding the Yankees and the Rockies to a combined three runs on nine hits over 12 1/3 innings, and he does have a 40% QS ratio away from home. Another metric that is in Heaney's favor is his back number versus Oakland's projected line-up holding seven batters to a combined .120 BA. The A's starter Daniel Mengden was pitching exceptionally well in May putting five quality starts together, but the wheels have fallen off since getting lit up for 12v runs in 8 2/3 innings tossed. His career numbers are poor versus today's forecasted line-up with the Angels hitters averaging .296 in 27 at bats. I'm going to bank on Heaney getting back to form in this one and having his way with the strike-out prone Athletics.
Neither squad is playing well right now with the Rockies losers of seven of nine and the Rangers seven of their last eight.
A loss is a loss, but the overall strength on paper and the current form of Texas’ recent opponents is a factor. The Rangers dropped two to the Dodgers (11-2 last 13) and four to the Astros (10-0 run) before losing the opener of this series when they sent out Yohander Mendez to make his first start of his career. Today the Rockies send out Jon Gray who hasn’t had a quality start since early May and has given up four or more runs in five of his last six outings and overall is 1-3 with a 6.97 ERA in day starts. The Texas starter Yovani Gallardo comes up from the minors where he looked OK to make his first MLB start since last season. The Rockies line up has decent historical numbers against him with a .275 career batting average but the numbers are skewed by Carlos Gonzalez .421 in 19 at bats and Ian Desmond .278 in 18 ABs accounting for over a third of the plate appearances. I’ll take my chances on Gallardo and back the home side at plus money.
Snell has decent enough career back numbers against New York hitters holding the expected line-up to a .219 batting average, but his last two starts against them were atrocious. He allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings back in early April and four runs in one inning back in late September last season. The problem has been walks and the long ball. The Yankees as stated don’t hit him well for average, but they have picked up 14 walks over 79 plate appearances and have taken him out of the park four times in 64 at bats. The Yankees haven’t been killing it lately not surpassing four runs in six straight, but they faced above average starters in most of the games. New York’s starter Domingo German looked like an ace in his first career start pitching six scoreless frames against Cleveland and had a nice Strike Out/ Walk ration of 9-2. He looked OK against the Mets in his latest, but their hitters are ice-cold making the six innings three-run performance a low bar for a QS. The Rays batters don't give many starters sleepless nights, but they have been producing some runs in recent matches scoring four or more in four of their last five. My money tonight is on the total.
Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer has good back numbers against Chisox and against the current line-up he has solid credentials holding them to a career .209. That said he hadn't faced them this season and while his last out was great his previous two were not getting lit up for 11 runs over 13 innings (11 earned runs). White Sox starter Dylan Covey starter has come into his own this season and is heads into this contest off his best start of the season shutting out Boston over six innings. Walks are still a bit of an issue this season, but his strikeouts are way up especially in his last four games with 25. He has faced the Indians this season, and it was a mediocre outing allowing two earned runs over 4 1/3. There is no doubting the Indians superiority over the White Sox this season. They are leading the AL Central with a five-game lead and are 12 games ahead of the fourth-place White Sox. The overall record though doesn’t reflect their current form. The White Sox have won 7 of their last 12 games overall and 5 of their last eight at home. Cleveland is just 5-5 in their last ten games overall and 3-6 in their previous nine on the road. The starting pitching match-up is even, and the Chisox have the superior bullpen making it worth a shot on playing the home side at plus money.
The NY Mets offense is struggling and when I say "struggling" I mean ice-cold. The team has scored a total of 13 runs over they're last nine games with a hit sequence 5, 6,4,5,3,3,7,6, and 4 for 43 total hits. Of the projected line-up Asdrubal Cabrera .600, Jose Bautista .500 Michael Conforto .333 have had some success against tonight’s starter Mike Foltynewicz, but the sample size is minimal with a combined 12 at-bats. All three come into the game nowhere near their top form with A.Cabrera hitting 0.158, J.Bautista .000, and M. Conforto O.50 over the last seven days. Foltynewicz has two-lifetime starts against the Mets, and they weren't good allowing nine earned runs over just eight innings pitched, but those came in 2015 and 2016 in New York at Citi Field. He comes into this game at the top of his game allowing four earned runs over his last six games and brings a 2.35 home ERA.
Zack Wheeler gets the ball for the Mets, and he's coming off of his best game of the season pitching seven scoreless innings in a home start against the Orioles. Wheeler has been decent on the road this season with a 2-0 record and 3.86 ERA, and he has fared well against the Braves in the past and is currently on a four-game QS run, but those all came in 2014. Atlanta's current lineup is entirely different now and their expected line-up tonight has only a combined 17 at-bats against him. Tyler Flowers is one for one, but the one hit left the park, and Freddie Freeman is 7 of 14 with three extra-base hits, and Kurt Suzuki is the only other batter that has faced Wheeler, and he's one for two.
I rarely take the home side on the run line, but I think that the Braves can put up a handful of runs on a Mets team that may be hard-pressed to score.
Los Angeles starter Nick Tropeano has had his share of poor performances this season, but the majority of those came at home. On the road, this campaign he’s an impressive 3-1 with a sharp WHIP of 1.07 and 2.55 earned run average. He’s had his way with Minnesota’s projected line-up holding the Angles’ batters to a career .182 batting average over 38 plate appearances. The Twins counter today with Fernando Romero who has pitched well in both of his starts at Target Field recording quality starts in both going 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He has a start under his belt against the Angels back on May 13th, and he looked OK with one run allowed on four hits over five innings. Neither squad is giving the scorekeeper a workout, and we get an "under- favoring" umpire behind Homeplate and the forecast calls for a strong wind blowing in from center.
Neither one of these clubs has been scoring a lot of runs lately and in Baltimore’s case all season. Orioles starter Andrew Cashner got blown up for five runs over five innings, but for the most part this season he has gone out and pitched five-plus innings and allowed three or fewer runs. The Jays starter J.A. Happ got tagged with four runs in five innings against the Tigers but pitched well in his three prior games recording a quality start in all three outings. Tonight’s starters have credible back numbers against their opponent with Cashner allowing three or fewer runs in all three of his career starts against Toronto and likewise for Happ who hasn’t allowed more than three runs in his last six starts versus Baltimore. We’ll need some help from the bullpens, but considering the current form of the hitters that may not be much to ask.