MLB Best Bets for Sunday (8/15)


What. A. Run. That makes it 11 straight cashes in a row for the MLB Best Bets writeups as back-to-back jacks by Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neill power St. Louis to a 3-0 F5RL win. With the week wrapping up Sunday, we’re looking to make it two straight undefeated weeks and push the streak to 12.

We have a full 15-game slate on tap for Sunday as we wrap the week up with a slew of afternoon games followed by the prime time matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. I’ll be searching through the entire board with a fine-tooth comb to point out the most valuable matchup and most profitable betting angle to attack.

Tampa Bay Rays @ Minnesota Twins

Rays -161, Caesars Sportsbook and BetAmerica; Twins +150 Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM

Tampa Bay and Minnesota will square off for the final game of their three-game series after splitting the first two. A pair of rookies will duke it out with Luis Patiño taking the mound for Tampa Bay and Charlie Barnes toeing the rubber for Minnesota.

Luis Patiño, a promising young arm for Tampa Bay, hasn’t exactly found his form quite yet. He’s been touched up for a 4.64 ERA and 4.66 FIP over his eight starts/ ten appearances and has been even worse since returning from the IL with a 5.20 ERA and 5.24 FIP over five starts. Pitching away from Tropicana has been nothing short of a nightmare for him, allowing a .342 wOBA and checking in with a 4.97 FIP on the road. His lefty/righty splits are some of the most dramatic I’ve seen so far, allowing just a .248 wOBA with a 3.45 FIP against right-handed batters, but an astronomical .401 wOBA with a 7.53 FIP when facing lefties. Five of Minnesota’s nine starting bats will be slotted to hit from the right side and three of their first four. With Patiño typically getting out to slow starts in games with a .353 wOBA against and a 4.43 FIP the first time through the order and a .325 wOBA against with a 6.18 FIP the second time through the order, we could see Minnesota put up a few runs early here.

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Tampa Bay doesn’t necessarily have the name recognition as most of the powerful offenses in the league, but don’t let that fool you, this is an extremely dynamic offense. They have the seventh-best wRC+ (105) on the season and have been one of the hottest offenses in the league over the past 30, 14 and seven days (L30: first 120 wRC+, L14: fourth 120 wRC+, L7: sixth 126 wRC+). They do strikeout a lot against lefties, with the second-highest 26.9% K% vs. LHP on the year, but they also own the fifth-best BB% vs. southpaws as well, meaning they grind out every single at bat and are able to drive up the pitch count of the opposing starters. They have top-10 marks in barrel rate, hard hit rate, and average exit velocity on the year and before getting shut out Saturday had scored eight-plus runs in seven straight games. Something is telling me that Charlie Barnes won’t be faring well against this offense.

If you thought Patiño’s numbers looked bad on the year, then I caution you to look away from Barnes’. Granted he’s only appeared in three games, two of which were starts, but he’s been lit up for a 6.08 ERA and 5.36 FIP through 13.1 innings. Like Patiño, he too has gotten off to terrible starts allowing opposing offenses to get hot early with a .326 wOBA and a 5.11 FIP the first time through the order and a .424 wOBA with a 5.52 FIP the second time through. Lefties and righties have both seen him well and hit him hard on the year and really no matter which way you slice it he doesn’t have a single split going for him. His .319 BABIP is slightly high, but his HR/FB ratio is sitting at exactly 10%, so while bad luck might be the explanation for some of his bad stats, it’s nowhere near the cause of all of them. Barnes doesn’t exactly instill much confidence in me to shut down Tampa Bay’s offense in this game. 

For as bad of an overall team Minnesota has been this year, it doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with their offense. They have top-10 marks overall with a .322 wOBA and 104 wRC+ and have been slightly better against righties with a .323 wOBA and 105 wRC+. Over the last 30 and 14 days, they haven’t exactly been breaking any records, but they still have above-average 101 wRC+ and 102 wRC+ marks during the span. Over the last seven days though, their offense has really started to click and have been producing at a .352 wOBA and 124 wRC+ pace, both among the top-10 in the majors. On the season, they’ve had the highest and only double-digit barrel rate at 10%, the third-highest 89.8mph average exit velocity, and the fourth-highest 41.5% hard hit rate. With just a .284 BABIP overall, 24th in the majors, bad luck appears to have hit them harder than most of the league and I expect some positive regression to continue coming their way.

The pick

If you didn’t gather from the tone of this column, I’m expecting some early runs in this one. We have two starting pitchers who have been extremely bad lately, and have proven to be able to give up almost six runs through five innings individually, combined with two offenses that have been extremely hot lately. Tampa Bay (fifth) and Minnesota (eighth) both rank as two of the top-10 teams to the F5 over in the majors and I expect that trend to continue today. F5 o6 -105, DraftKings Sportsbook.

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