Yesterday was awesome. We went 2-0 on our game picks to bring our season total to just under 13 units. It’s been on the backs of these totals, which have easily been our most profitable picks to take. It might be more fun to take teams to win, but I’m seeing larger edges in totals this season than money lines, and I have another one today and a PrizePicks entry.
We also went 2-2 on our college picks, making 0.01 units in the process. We basically just enjoyed some free entertainment for the first day of the regionals. I’ll be posting those on my Twitter before the games start.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 80-63 (+12.98 U)
PrizePicks Record: -2.2 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.
LA Angels vs. Houston Astros @ 4:10 PM EST
Patrick Sandoval is a great pitcher, but similarly to Roansy Contreras against the Pirates, he sees ghosts against the Astros.
I will take you year-by-year through Sandoval’s experience pitching against Houston. In 2019, he threw against them twice, tallying just 6.1 innings and allowing four earned runs. In 2020, he allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings in his lone start. He threw 6.2 innings over two starts in 2021, allowing eight earned runs. He had his best season last year, but when he faced the Astros twice, he allowed six runs, five earned, over nine innings.
The Astros got familiar with him again this season on May 8th, when they scored four runs in 6.1 innings on seven hits. They see Sandoval really well, as shown in the quality of contact numbers. Through 104 PA against the Astros’ current roster, Sandoval is rocking a .399 xwOBA, a .317 xBA, and a .571 xSLG. We should see plenty of the same against him today on the road in Minute Maid Park.
Javier isn’t out of the woods. He pitched well against them in his first start this year, allowing two runs in six innings, but that familiarity should help the offense. Javier’s peripherals are not even close to what he did last season, putting up a 2.43 xERA in 2022 compared to a 4.17 xERA today. His FIP has jumped from 3.16 to 3.81, as has the xFIP from 3.53 to 4.22.
His strikeout rate has dropped, and his Hard-Hit rate has increased since the previous year. He’s still a very good pitcher, but not as dominant as last season. The Angels have also been a top-nine offense in both wRC+ and OPS in the last month and the last two weeks. They know what to expect from Javier and are hitting well against right-handed pitching. I think the Astros should win this one considering how well they do against Sandoval, but don’t sleep on this Angels attack.
You could play the full game over, which I like, but both the Astros and Angels have their quality arms available. Like yesterday’s Pirates vs. Cardinals game, the over hit even though the Cardinals threw high-leverage arms. That can happen, and it could easily happen today. That’s not how I like to play totals; I want to play where I truly think runs will be the main factor. That’s early through the first five innings.
The model has the Astros winning through five at 3.3 to 2.6, putting this closer to six runs through five. I think the true line should be five, so I’ll gladly take 4.5 cheaply.
The Pick: Angels vs. Astros First 5 Over 4.5 (-105) 1.05 U to win 1 U
PrizePicks Entry 0.2 U to win 0.4 U
First Leg: Dylan Cease Under 7 Strikeouts
Dylan Cease had 8 strikeouts against this Tigers team in his last start. He didn’t pitch very well outside of the strikeouts, and now he faces them for the second time in a row. Detroit is not a heavy strikeout team against right-handed pitching; they rank 21st in the past month and 12th the entire season against right-handers. Cease is also not the same strikeout pitcher he was last season. His strikeout rate is down from 30.4% last season to 24.2% this season. 7 strikeouts is a lot, especially when the team just saw you.
Second Leg: Andrew McCutchen Over 6.5 Fantasy Score
McCutchen against a left-hander. Not just any left-hander, but a southpaw that doesn’t rely on high velocity. These are the matchups to take Andre McCutchen, and he’s seeing the ball really well right now. He has a .866 OPS against lefties, and he’s 5-14 with two doubles and a home run against Jordan Montgomery. He will see some sinkers and four-seamers from Monty today, which are his two favorite pitches to hit. We should see runs in this game, and McCutchen should be at the top of the lineup for RBI and run-scoring opportunities.