How about a sweep?! We crushed the game picks, as both totals soared over even with the line movement. We also cashed a PrizePicks entry which we desperately needed. Good for us, but that was yesterday, and we need more. Today, I have two picks but no PrizePicks. I don’t love the PrizePicks board, but these two game picks have definitely caught my eye.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 55-45 (+6.15 U)
I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a risk-free $1000 bet. You can also use code “JBFANS” if you’re betting on MLB. Wager $10 on any MLB moneyline and receive $100 once the bet is settled.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners @ 3:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Dane Dunning vs. Luis Castillo
Dane Dunning is pitching a little too well. I want to fade him.
Dane Dunning is a replacement-level pitcher. He’s not bad, but he isn’t what he’s shown this season. He’s rocking a 1.42 ERA, but much of this high-level production has come out of the bullpen this season. He’s been rock-solid as a swingman, but now that he’s back in the rotation, I think he’ll revert to his old ways.
By run value, the Mariners’ favorite pitch to hit is the sinker, which is Dunning’s most used offering. Dunning does an excellent job mixing his pitches, so you’ll rarely see the same look. That said, none of his pitches grade out as average; every pitch falls below 85 Stuff+. 100 is average, and his 79 overall Stuff+ explains who Dunning is.
Dane Dunning has also had significant troubles on the road throughout his career. In 2022, he put up a 5.62 ERA on the road. In 2021, he put up a 6.39 ERA on the road. In 2020, that ERA on the road was 4.30. This will be his second consecutive road start after throwing five shutout innings on the road. I’m willing to bet on a large sample of poor road performance over the success he’s had thus far. His 3.09 xERA and 4.80 xFIP also tell us that regression is looming as his strikeout rate is a career low.
At Safeco Field or T-Mobile Park, Dunning allowed ten hits and five earned runs over two starts totaling nine innings to give him a 5.00 ERA. Against the Mariners overall, he rocked a 4.43 ERA while allowing ten runs in 20 innings. Don’t look now, but the Mariner’s bats are heating up against right-handers. In May, the Mariners are rocking a 117 wRC+ against right-handers, while the Rangers have an 88 wRC+.
Luis Castillo has performed like an ace this season, but I’m not laying juice because his velocity is down from last season. He’s still pitching great, but I’d apply juice if this were the Luis Castillo averaging 97 MPH. This is 95 MPH Luis Castillo, pitching a 2.38 ERA and a 3.19 xERA. Very solid, but not entirely as electric as we are used to. The Rangers have almost no experience against him, which should benefit Castillo.
The Mariners are too expensive on the ML, so I’m playing them early with the advantage in the rotation.
The Pick: Mariners First 5 Innings -0.5 (-120) 1 U to win 0.83 U
Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals @ 7:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Lance Lynn vs. Brad Keller
I bet this before the game was over last night, and I’m so glad the game ended as a low-scoring battle. These two offenses have been red-hot, and a letdown game was in order yesterday, but today should go the opposite way.
Lance Lynn has a rough matchup today. The Royals should feast on him for the number of fastballs he throws and how much hard contact he allows. Since May began, the Royals rank third in wRC+ against right-handed pitching at 136. For most of the season, I complained about how unlucky this Royals offense was getting. They hit the ball hard, but it went right into the outfielders’ gloves. Those balls are starting to fall, ranking second in Hard-Hit rate, right behind the Rays in May.
Lance Lynn hadn’t performed all that well against the Royals in the past when he was a better version of himself. Through 109 PA, Lynn is rocking a .255 opponent batting average, a .350 xwOBA, and a .486 xSLG. The quality of contact against Lynn is closing in on elite.
Following Lynn will be one of baseball’s worst bullpens. This bullpen is most likely without their best reliever, Kendall Gravemen, after throwing in two straight games. The White Sox bullpen has a 6.21 ERA, good for second-worst to Oakland in the league. They have the eighth-worst SIERA and second-worst FIP.
The Royals aren’t a safe underdog. Brad Keller has a really bad matchup against the White Sox. Keller has some of the worst command in baseball, ranking in the fourth percentile in walk rate. The White Sox will take their free passes, but their issue is chasing pitches outside the zone. Lucky for them, Keller doesn’t get you to swing-and-miss outside the zone; he ranks in the ninth percentile of chase rate.
The White Sox offense has been around league average against right-handed pitchers in May, but they had plenty of success against Keller last season. In 22 innings, he allowed 26 hits and 14 earned runs in 22 innings to give him a 5.73 ERA. Following Keller will be one of baseball’s worst bullpens. They rank 26th in bullpen ERA at 5.24 and 19th in FIP.
Ballparkpal has Kauffman Stadium tied for the third-highest run-scoring environment of the day. The temperature should be around 75-80 degrees by game time, with some wind blowing west to east. The wind isn’t ideal, but it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
My model has this total near ten, so if the only line you can find is 9.5, the value isn’t as strong, but it’s still worthy of a play.