Great Expectations Create Runline Betting Value In Giants vs. Brewers

Mark Lathrop

Monday, April 4, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

It's opening day and our MLB handicapper has a contrarian play as the San Francisco Giants open the season on the road versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

First games of the season are always fun to handicap, as lineups and rotations are newly formed without any trends to consider. In theses cases I like to get back to basics, which actually helps as it takes preconceptions and biases out of the mix somewhat. For my first game of the MLB season I am analyzing the San Francisco Giants at the Milwaukee Brewers. Of course, one of these teams is expected to contend for a title and the other is expected to be in the basement of the NL Central. The resulting MLB odds strongly favor the Giants at -170 on the moneyline on the road, while the O/U total has been set at 7.5 at books such as 5 Dimes. If the run line is your fancy, you can take the home team +1.5 runs at -109 at books such as Pinnacle.

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound for the Giants in this one as their undisputed ace. Bumgarner is coming off of his best season ever, compiling an 18-9 record, 2.93 ERA, and 5.1 WAR. More importantly, his peripheral stats continued to improve such as a 9.65 K/9 rate and 1.61 BB/9 rate. Bumgarner relies on his slider almost one-third of the time, along with a fastball that sits in the low-90’s. That slider and a wicked curve is what leads Bumgarner to a 12.5% whiff rate at strikes in the zone. He’s basically untouchable while he is on.

Wily Peralta is taking the mound for the Brewers and looks to improve on an injury-shortened 5-10 2015 campaign. Peralta has always been able to bring the heat and has a fastball in the mid-90’s. His off-speed pitch is very much a change of pace, but not necessarily a changeup, as Peralta throws a fastball 66.1% of the time, a slider 28.5% of the time, leaving 5.4% of his pitches as changeups. He got knocked around a bit in 2015, allowing 84.1% contact on his pitches that resulted in a .297 batting average against. Peralta is looking to return to 2014 form, where he recorded a 17-11 record with a 3.53 ERA. We'll see what the 2016 Season will bring!

Bumgarner has been very good against Milwaukee in his career, going 5-2 over 55 innings pitched and putting up an ERA of 1.96. In his last matchup against them he won while giving up 3 earned runs over six innings of work while striking out only 3 batters. There are a few specific Milwaukee batters that have given Bumgarner trouble though, with Ryan Braun hitting .304 off of the Giants’ ace with 2 HR’s being one of them.

Wily Peralta also won his last game pitched versus the Giants, actually putting up a better line than Bumgarner did in allowing 2 earned runs over 6 innings pitched. He is 3-1 against the Giants over his career. Peralta has done a good job at keeping the Giants in the yard in his stats against him, but he has done a poor job of keeping certain players off base. In particular, Angel Pagan and Buster Posey have on-base-percentages over .538 against Peralta in his career.

In this game, I like the fact that we can get almost even money on the Brewers while getting spotted a run at home. Back to the basics in taking a home dog when you can get one. Of course, the Giants have the best chance of winning with Bumgarner on the mound, I just think that the Brewers can keep it close in the later innings. Ryan Bruan and Jonathan Lucroy are coming off of particularly hot hitting springs as well. Take the Brewers +1.5 runs at +100 at Heritage as your opening day MLB Pick.

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Free MLB Pick:  Brewers +1½ -105
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage