Saturday's Contrarian MLB Pick: Under 7 for Dodgers vs. Pirates

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, August 8, 2015 1:47 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015 1:47 PM UTC

The Pirates broke through against Kershaw yesterday, beating the Dodgers in impressive fashion. Our MLB handicapper analyzes the pitching matchup for the second game of this series.

Dodgers vs. Pirates Betting Odds
Great game for the Pirates yesterday as the continued their home dominance and put in an impressive offensive performance against Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw. Pittsburgh banged out 14 hits in the game and somehow left 12 men on base, so this 5-4 game could have been more of a blowout. It also featured one of the best bunts you’ll ever see by catcher, Chris Stewart. The second game in this weekend series matches Pittsburgh’s Francisco Liriano and newly acquired Dodger pitcher, Mat Latos. Opening odds had the home team Pirates favored at -130 on the money line at 5Dimes, while the O/U total was listed at 7 at multiple books.


Saturday's Starting Pitchers
Mat Latos came to the Dodger organization through a 13-player, three team trade that included names such as Paco Rodriguez and Zachary Bird. But tt still appears that Mat was the only player in that trade that was missing a letter in his name (It’s Mathew, for the curious). Latos has missed some time this year due to a left knee injury. He’s been great since it’s fully healed, and I assume that is the case or he wouldn’t have been able to pass a physical to get traded to the Dodgers. Since returning on June 13th, Latos has dropped his ERA from 5.44 to 4.29 and has a 44/10 K/BB ratio. If this continues, we can expect that Latos will return to his 2010-14 form where he averaged a low 3 ERA and sub-1.20 WHIP. This is a great pickup for the Dodgers whose rotation already includes Zach Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. In a seven game series each of these pitchers would be able to start twice – not good for the opposition.

It appears that long time veteran, Francisco Liriano, has found his form again since losing it between 2011-13. Those years found Liriano relegated to many rehab stints and a 5+ ERA. Liriano misses bats when he is healthy though, and Pittsburgh rewarded him with a $39 million, 3-year contract over the offseason. When I say that Liriano misses bats, I truly mean it, as he had the lowest contact rate of any pitcher over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. One of the reasons for this is that since coming to the Pirates organization, Liriano has improved his changeup so much that it is his go-to pitch in any count. Batters in 2014 chased and missed changeups out of the zone to a tune of 47%.


Betting Verdict
My favorite line situation is occurring with this game and you can see it on the SBR Odds page in regards to the run total line. Even though consensus is listed at 61% in favor of the over, the line is moving towards the under. That means a lower volume of bets with a higher dollar value are going towards the under, i.e. the sharps. I think backers of the over are not considering the quality of this pitching matchup and recent form of each pitcher. I’m expecting a low scoring game in Pittsburgh today and taking the under of 7 as my Saturday MLB pick.

MLB Picks: Under 7

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