In this baseball handicapping article, we look at two games with heavy public action on one side early. Our handicapper decides which game to fade the public, and which to follow the herd.
Cubs vs. Rockies MLB Picks: Colorado Winning on the Road a Good Sign
The Rockies went 20-61 last year on the road, so they have to be excited to come home to Mile High's Coors Field after starting with a sweep in Milwaukee. The fans must be excited too, selling out the matinee Friday start at 2:10 PM local time. Couldn’t think of a better way to start the weekend myself! The bats have been alive for the Rockies early this season. They knocked out 12 doubles in the first two games of the season, tying a mark set by the 1912 New York Giants. The public is on the Over of 10 early, 82% consensus at writing this, and some books have already moved the MLB Odds line to 10.5. The weather will be in the low-60’s and cloudy – very decent for early April in Denver.
Sophomore starter Tyler Matzek takes the mound for the Rox, coming off of a 6-11, 4.05 ERA season in 2014. Matzek features a plus-slider that he throws 28.9% of the time, and advanced stats indicate he pitched better than his record last year. In 2014, Tyler had a respectable Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) adjusted ERA of 3.78.
Travis Wood is filling out the back-end of the Cubs rotation this year, coming off of a 8-13, 5.03 ERA season in 2014. Wood has had issues with the Rox in the past, giving up a healthy .313 AVG against them in 2014. Now Colorado is at full strength, and the lineup is clicking. Wood features a fastball and cutter in the high 80’s but doesn’t mix speeds too much, throwing a changeup 10% of the time.
I believe this line is inflated based on the performance of the Rockies in Milwaukee. In this instance, adding up the ERA’s of the starters doesn’t tell the whole story and Matzek has a chance to put together a good game plan against the Cubs. I can see the winning team putting up 5 runs or so, which still makes an MLB picks on the 'Under' a winner.
The MLB Pick: Shop around for that extra half run and grab Under 10.5 if you can.
Nationals vs. Phillies: Washington looks to get to .500 in Philly
Jerome Williams gets the start in Philly on Friday against the Nationals, who batted .391 against him in 2014. The Nats are a little banged up, but should still have enough firepower to beat Philadelphia. If you remember my sabermetrics series, you’d remember that Philadelphia was dead last in the league in projected WAR. They just went 1-2 against the top team in projected WAR, the Boston Red Sox. The Nationals are #2 – so there is some serious value in taking the Nationals in all games of this series. The rosters just don’t match up, especially in NL games where bench players are used often.
Unfortunately you’ll have to give up some healthy vig to take the Nats Friday night (-155 at YouWager), as the public is all over the money line of -150, at 92% consensus at time of writing. In this case, I see no reason not to follow the herd. Try to find that money line before it moves out of reach and continue taking the Nats against the Phillies through the weekend.
The MLB Pick: Nationals