MLB Picks & Betting Odds for Saturday's Starting Pitchers

Doug Upstone

Saturday, April 25, 2015 3:14 PM GMT

On the diamond today, MLB baseball handicappers and those of you combing through the betting odds have in our opinion three tough choices for different reasons and another big factor to ponder.

We will examine the Subway Series again, which has a very compelling pitching matchup. Also, if you placing MLB picks, we will break down two pitchers whose reputations (or paychecks) have exceeded their results. Finally, we look into something many baseball bettors do not fully consider when making sports picks and what impact it can have Saturday and throughout the season.

 

Subway Series Has Pitching Intrigue – Part 2
One of the most popular bets sportsbooks took yesterday was the Yankees to end the Mets amazing 11-game winning streak. Jacob deGrom did not have his best stuff and allowed six runs in three innings, including three balls which sailed over the wall.

This afternoon on FS1, Matt Harvey (3-0, 3.50 ERA) will be entrusted to have the Mets return to victory lane and will attempt to duplicate his first career start against the Yankees, as he threw eight innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts and no walks in a 2-1 home win May 28, 2013. C.C. Sabathia might be 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA, but his last start showed he’s rounding into form, pitching eight innings and conceding only two runs and seven base-knocks at Detroit in a tough 2-1 setback. It was the first time this season his breaking pitches had consistent downward movement and his off-speed pitches made his declining fastball appear faster.

The Metropolitans actually began as small favorites, but the money has been primarily on the Yankees, who have won seven of eight and are averaging almost 6 runs per game in this stretch.

Pitching Grade: – C for the Yankees

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Can These Ball-Chuckers be Trusted as Favorites?
Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (1-1, 4.50) was one of the most highly touted pitchers coming out of college and in his first full season he was 15-6 and featured an electric fastball and a knee-buckling curveball. However, since then he suffered shoulder and elbow problems and has a pedestrian 23-21 record. For those attempting to beat the MLB odds the money has been in betting against the right-hander, who is two-plus seasons, is -15 units. This afternoon against Miami, the Nationals and Strasburg are -145 money line favorites and when in this role since 2013, the combination has caused backers to lose 12 units.

Strasburg has recorded 14 straight scoreless innings against the Marlins over his last three starts, going 2-1 with a 0.45 ERA and nine hits surrendered over 20 innings, but two of those outings did not have Giancarlo Stanton playing, who is 10 for 28 with three home runs and five doubles against Strasburg.

Pitching Grade: – D for both starters

 

On the other side of the country
In Orange County C.J. Wilson (1-2, 3.54) will try to live up to the big bucks he was overpaid by the Angels. Wilson was converted to a starter in 2010 and had two strong campaigns (31-15 overall) in Texas, he was signed as free agent by Anaheim. In his three-plus season there, he is 44-30, but other than 2013 when he was 17-7 (3.39 ERA), he never resembled ace material or even a strong No.2 pitcher, which his salary would indicate.

This is further bore out with the lefty a paltry +1.7 units up since wearing a Halos uniform. If there is a positive, Wilson and L.A.A. are -160 favorites and he been better from that perspective at +5.35 units.

Bottom line, neither Strasburg nor Wilson inspires much wagering confidence and it might be best to place small wagers either way or pass altogether.

Pitching Grade: – D for both starters

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Know Your Bullpens and Starter Tendencies
With how the game of baseball has changed from the pitching perspective, it is imperative to understand the importance of bullpens. For my wagering purposes I look at ERA, walks allowed, strikeouts and save percentage.

For today, we will focus on earned run average and how it could apply but matching starting pitcher. Miami is a +115 home underdog to Washington and they have the second highest ERA in the big leagues at 4.71. Tom Koehler (1-2, 6.75) in three starts has lasted an average of only 4.9 innings. If you consider normal performances from both the starter and bullpen, the Marlins are a deserving underdog. If you wanted to believe Koehler lasts six innings and gives up two to three runs and assume the game is tied heading into the seventh inning, Miami is at a disadvantage because of their relievers.

The same could be true for both Oakland and Minnesota who are 28th and 26th respectively in bullpen ERA. Though the A’s will face hittable Scott Feldman of Houston, starter Kendall Graveman (1-1, 6.94) has lasted 3.9 innings in three outings. Oakland is only a -120 home favorite and with two rocky starters, this line is accurate with the Astros 5th in ERA.

The Twins Trevor May has never lasted more than six innings in 11 career starts, which places Minnesota in peril late in games with a close score.

Never underestimate what this can mean for betting baseball.