Triple Play: Braves, Athletics Undervalued Favorites on Monday

Mark Lathrop

Monday, April 23, 2018 12:46 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 12:46 PM UTC

Monday's short card has plenty of wagering value, with our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop picking three plays to get the week started strong. Read on as he looks to add more units to his winning season record.

2018 MLB Record: 26-18-2, +7.33u

MLB Monday: Triple PlayAtlanta Braves (8-9 O/U) vs. Cincinnati Reds (7-13 O/U)Free MLB Picks: 'Under' 9 Runs; Braves MLBest Lines Offered: 5Dimes

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The Cincinnati Reds are in an absolute free fall right now and turn to right-hander Sal Romano to get things turned around. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder hasn’t had a lot of success this season. His outings have been on the short side and he hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning. Romano does have something going for him in that his ground ball rate is pretty good at 52.9%, but his walk rate of 4.87 BB/9 is terrible. It’s much worse than his full seasons in the minors, though, so eventually you have to think it will regress back to his career average. There is reason to think Romano will be more apt to pound the strike zone tonight, as the wind will be blowing in very hard in Cincinnati.

The wind will also help expected Atlanta starter Brandon McCarthy. He has pitched very well this year with a 3.79 FIP and 1.29 WHIP over his first 21.2 innings. He’ll face a lineup that has cashed 5 "unders" in a row now and is batting just .218 against right-handed starters. Atlanta has won all four of McCarthy’s starts this year, and he has allowed just one run in each of his last two starts. I can’t start backing the Reds now with their 3-17 record, but I do think Romano can be respectable. I’ll split the difference and take both the "under" of 9 runs and the Braves at a respectable moneyline price of -124 as two of my Monday MLB picks.

Oakland Athletics (10-11 SU) vs. Texas Rangers (7-15 SU)Free MLB Pick: Athletics MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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I don’t like laying a lot of chalk but there appears to be a situation at hand here that warrants it, as Matt Moore of the Texas Rangers has a terrible matchup with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s are a home run hitting offense, but also one of the top offenses in the league right now with an overall 121 wRC+ and a team batting average second only to the Red Sox at .268. Moore is allowing a .300 BAA overall, has a 4.19 BB/9 rate, and has a 1.71 WHIP. But more importantly for me his hard hit percentages and pulled ball percentages are way up over last year. Pulled balls hit hard travel very far and I smell the scent of dingers coming our way tonight.

The Athletics will counter with Trevor Cahill, who has only one start under his belt this season but it was a good one -- no earned runs in seven innings against the White Sox. Cahill has good career numbers against Texas, but most of the 10-4 record he has put up was before this season’s lineup was constructed. Still, Adrian Beltre is the only red flag in existing batter vs. pitcher matchups, but that isn’t surprising for any pitcher. Given that Moore is looking to get lit up and Texas is batting just .227 against right-handed starters I will buy the Athletics here on the moneyline as one of my top Monday MLB picks.

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