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The One Hitter: MLB game-by-game betting breakdown (6/18)

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Matt Kupferle

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Each day, we are going to try and give you a quick preview of today’s main slate and any interesting betting angles that we spot. Take a peek and let us know your thoughts.

Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles

Blue Jays (-162), Orioles (+136)
Total: 9.0 runs
Robbie Ray (L) vs. Bruce Zimmermann (L)

The talent has long been undeniable for Robbie Ray — often posting gaudy strikeout totals, Ray’s limiting factor in his career has been his control and command, which seems to have deserted him often. And really, as my little league baseball coach often told me, Ray’s biggest issue was throwing strike one — he was often among the league’s worst hurlers in terms of getting ahead of batters. But now? With a career-best 64.0% first-pitch strike rate, the renaissance has arrived — and that’s why the Jays are such hefty favorites Friday.

Best bets: I love the Jays here — F3, F5, or even a moneyline wager look spicy. 

Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees

Athletics (+116), Yankees (-134)
Total: 10.0 runs
James Kaprielian (R) vs. Jameson Taillon (R)

I think this line is a bit mispriced in many ways, actually. Jameson Taillon has not given the Yanks the shot in the arm they had hoped, though his numbers do showcase a gaudy strikeout rate (25.4%). However, he has given up far too much hard contact in a park that ranks third in home run factor — 1.69 HR/9 is not very nice. On the flip side, the unheralded James Kaprielian continues to be disrespected — he’s quietly been one of the game’s best arms.

Best bets: This thing is our first FanDuel same-game parlay we want to target — bet on a Matt Olson yakker, along with some other A’s bets.

New York Mets at Washington Nationals

Mets (+102), Nationals (-120)
Total: 9.0 runs
Joey Lucchesi (L) vs. Erick Fedde (R)

When we anticipated an NL East showdown in mid-June, I don’t know that we anticipated it being a matchup of Joey Lucchesi and Erick Fedde, but here we are. And surprisingly, these two arms have been pretty solid as of late — perhaps the biggest surprise of the two is Lucchesi. While he isn’t working wildly deep into games (he has yet to surpass five innings), he’s only allowed a combined three earned runs over those recent starts.

Best bets: I am going with the UNDER here. Both offenses are still shaping into form, and while I think there is a chance for some runs due to a stiff breeze and warm weather, it could be a low-scoring affair. 

Cleveland Indians at Pittsburgh Pirates

Indians (-142), Pirates (+120)
Total: 8.5 runs
Jean Carlos Mejia (R) vs. Chad Kuhl (R)

I feel like I’m part of a strange episode of Stranger Things where I’m in the upside down world. I expected the Pirates to be really good pitching wise and struggle offensively, and it’s been the opposite. With the return of Ke'Bryan Hayes and a great Adam Frazier season, and some strong production from Colin Moran, and they have had a really good year. But the staff has stunk, and Chad Kuhl, who is returning from the Injured List, has been awful this season. He’s been absolutely torched by the long ball, and with the Indians improving offensively, it could be a long night.

Best bets: The OVER. These two pitchers have been pretty poor so far this season.

St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves

Cardinals (+138), Braves (-164)
Total: 9.0 runs
Carlos Martínez (R) vs. Max Fried (L)

The Cardinals are a very bad offensive team — like really bad. Over the last seven games, despite surprisingly winning three, they have scored a combined 14 runs and tallied two runs or fewer in five of seven contests. They also bring out Carlos Martínez — he’s got a nice 49.3% ground-ball rate, but he’s also whiffing only 15.8% of hitters this season. Max Fried is seeing mixed results, but the underlying metrics are solid — he has a 22% strikeout rate, and his home run rate sits at around 1 per nine innings.

Best bets: This screams as a FanDuel same-game parlay special — the Braves are clicking, and the Cardinals are not.

Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

Twins (-174), Rangers (+146)
Total: 8.5 runs
José Berríos (R) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (R)

The Twins are a really confusing team to me — they seem to be in seller mode, as they are in the midst of a very disappointing season. I don’t think anyone expected this strong of a team to be in last place of the AL Central (27-41). They send their ace tonight against the Rangers, and the Twins have still been clicking offensively in the midst of this slide — can Mike Foltynewicz tame this offense? The Twins still sport a .322 team wOBA mark and a hefty .187 ISO.

Best bets: I just struggle with which Twins team wants to come and play, so possibly just a small moneyline bet here.

Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros

White Sox (-116), Astros (-102)
Total: 8.5 runs
Carlos Rodón (L) vs. Luis García (R)

The White Sox are off to a great start, and despite their myriad injuries to their lineup (Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, Nick Madrigal), they own the AL’s best record. Why? We all knew Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn would be outstanding out, but Carlos Rodón is having a breakout 2021 season. He owns a 2.42 FIP, and certainly, a 37.3% strikeout rate does not hurt. These marks will be sorely tested tonight — the Astros are the league’s best offense and strikeout the least (18.4%) in the league.

Best bets: As good as these offenses are, I really like the UNDER. Rodon and Luis García are outstanding arms. 

Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies

Brewers (-198), Rockies (+166)
Total: 10.5 runs
Corbin Burnes (R) vs. Antonio Senzatela (R)

Maybe Germán Márquez has shown that the ability to pitch in Coors exists, but his teammate, Antonio Senzatela, has not showcased that same excellence. While Corbin Burnes has really struggled in his recent outings, Senzatela is one of the worst pitchers in the league — he whiffs nearly no one (15.8% strikeout rate), and his 4.86 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 70.1 innings pitched are marks that are some of the league’s worst.

Best bets: The OVER just missed here Thursday. I like the OVER Friday — Burnes has struggled, and Senzatela has been rough. 

Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels

Tigers (+176), Angels (-210)
Total: 9.0 runs
José Ureña (R) vs. Alex Cobb (R)

After flirting with danger for several starts, the regression monster has absolutely crashed up against José Ureña. While he has generated a pile of ground balls (53.2%), his other metrics are a bit putrid. A 13.3% strikeout rate and 9.2% walk rate shows he misses or lacks a true swing-and-missing offering. Unfortunately, he’s also allowing a ton of hard contact, sporting a 36.4% hard-hit rate. 

Best bets: The Angels feel like another same-game parlay special here — pound all of the Angels bets here. 

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Dodgers (-230), Diamondbacks (+190)
Total: 9.5 runs
Trevor Bauer (R) vs. Caleb Smith (L)

This entire sticky stuff thing has been really interesting, and one of the biggest advocates for it — Trevor Bauer — could just be a bad run of form, or it could be a harbinger of more of what’s to come. In his last three starts, covering 19 innings, he’s allowed 27 base runners and 14 runs. That’s not good. And maybe it’s all just a lack of execution, but it certainly raises your alarm systems. Caleb Smith has been solid with a 27.6% strikeout rate, but a double-digit walk rate is a bit terrifying.

Best bets: I think Trevor Bauer figures it out, but I don’t have a great lean here. Maybe a small F5 Dodgers bet. 

Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants

Phillies (+118), Giants (-138)
Total: 8.5 runs
Vince Velasquez (R) vs. Johnny Cueto (R)

This deep into the season, the Giants have been a really good offense and it’s clearly here to stay. They rank fourth in wRC+ (110), and they have been solid with a double-digit walk rate and a .189 ISO. While it feels like many people are still thinking that the Giants home stadium plays pitcher-friendly, it doesn’t — while it’s not Coors Field, it is now officially a hitter-neutral park, and the team is showing and flexing that offensive prowess.

Best bets: This is the third same-game parlay for me on the day — Velasquez is regressing and Cueto has been solid. Slam the Giants here. 

Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners

Rays (-118), Mariners (+100)
Total: 7.5 runs
Michael Wacha (R) vs. Yusei Kikuchi (L)

If there’s any team that can work with an opener, it’s the Rays, and that’s the plan for Wacha here. The right-hander, in working his way back from an injury, has shown some mediocre stats — he’s recorded an 18.8% strikeout rate, and he has consistently struggled with home runs (1.36 HR/9). On the flip side, Yusei Kikuchi has shown massive improvement this season and could be in line for a massive strikeout evening against a Rays team that is struggling against lefties.

Best bets: I love a Kikuchi strikeout prop and a moneyline bet here on the Rays — their 27% whiff rate against lefties is the second-worst mark in the league. 

Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres

Reds (+188), Padres (-225)
Total: 8.5 runs
Tony Santillan (R) vs. Chris Paddack (R)

In his big-league debut, Tony Santillan struck out five hitters in 4.2 innings pitched against the Rockies. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he also gave up four walks and gave up five hits. The scary part about Santillan is that this season at Triple-A Louisville, he walked 12 batters in 32.1 innings pitched, so walks have consistently been an issue and a large reason why the Padres are heavy moneyline favorites against the Reds.

Best bets: The last of our same-game parlay bets on FanDuel. I am not a Santillan believer, so slam in all forms of Padre bets. 

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