Early Line Movement Suggests Contrarian Play for Giants vs. Mariners in Seattle

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, June 18, 2015 2:48 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper looks at early MLB odds movement to find value in the total presented for tonight's game between the Giants and Mariners. Read on to find which way to go to fade the public action.

In the finale of the home-and-home series between the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners, we have San Francisco veteran Ryan Vogelsong against top prospect Mike Montgomery, who is starting for the Mariners in place of injured James Paxton. A first round pick in 2008, Montgomery was initially in the trade from the Royals to Tampa Bay that netted the Royals James Shields, but he was given to the Mariners for pitcher Erasmo Ramirez out of spring training. The M’s ended up giving Montgomery his first MLB stint, and he’s done and admirable job so far. Vogelsong is also filling in for a depleted Giants rotation, and will likely return to the bullpen once either Matt Cain or Jake Peavy return from the disabled list. Being a perceived even match, the opening line has the home team Mariners as money line favorites at -133 at Pinnacle, with the O/U total listed at 7.5 runs at the same book.

Mike Montgomery appears to be primed for some regression in BAA and LOB% numbers when you compare them to his minor league stats. Montgomery’s AAA left on base percentage has never exceeded 67%, yet in his first major league stint with the Mariners this year his LOB% is at 86.7%. If he had enough innings to qualify, that would make Montgomery third in all of baseball in that statistic between Zach Greinke and Sonny Gray. Even last night’s pitchers are further back, with Felix and Madison Bumgarner running LOB% rates near 80%. It’s been a good run for Montgomery for sure, but it hasn’t been without a bit of luck on his side.

Ryan Vogelsong has reverted to his old self again, and by that, I mean his 2004 Pittsburgh Pirates days when he was running an ERA in the sixes. At least back then he had a plus fastball that touched 94 MPH on occasion, now he works around 87-91 MPH, with one third of his fastballs now called a ‘cutter’ by advanced stats. Walks have been an issue for Vogelsong lately, and with 29 on the season he has half the walks of last year in one third of the innings pitched. When you fall behind in counts you have to groove a few pitches to get back ahead, so it is no surprise to me that Vogelsong has given up 10 dingers this year in 67.1 IP versus 18 in all of last year with 184.2 IP. Eight of those home runs have been given up on the road – four in one game as he got lit up in Dodger Stadium back in April.

 

The MLB Pick: I like the fact that the early action for the total came in on the side of the Under as the public is enamored with Mike Montgomery’s sparkly 1.89 ERA. Add to this the recent struggles of the Seattle offense to score more than 3 runs in a game and this line appears too good to be true. We have to continually remember that the books set the line to get half of the value of wagers on one side, not based on what they think the actual score will be. Early knee jerk action on a line is indicative of where the book wants Joe Public to go. I’d guess that the line will keep moving in our favor, and has touched 7 at times at various books. Go against the grain here and wait until that line offers the best value, as I see it hitting 7 at all books before game time. As is, you can take the extra juice on the Over of 7.5 +111 at Pinnacle as your MLB pick. We have two very average pitchers taking the mound tonight.

MLB Pick: Over at Pinnacle

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