Welcome to the Monday, April 15 edition of the MLB Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one MLB bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
4/15/19 MLB Betting Pick:
NY Mets (9-6) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (9-5)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -118 ML (o/u: 7.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -120 ML (o/u: 7.5)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -122 ML (o/u: 7.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -120 ML (o/u: 7.5)
What appears to be a likely pitcher’s duel on the surface is on tap Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Nola take the hill for the Mets and Phillies, respectively. Both hurlers come in plenty long on reputation, but a bit short on results thus far in the new season. Syndergaard has been more hittable than usual in the early going. He’s allowed four earned runs apiece in two of his three outings, although he’s reached at least the sixth inning in each. Then, Nola has been steamrolled by the Nationals in each of his last two starts. Philadelphia’s ace looked like anything but against Washington, allowing 11 runs (10 earned), including five home runs, over that pair of outings.
Despite the rough sledding each starter has experienced in 2019, oddsmakers have set Monday night’s total at a modest 7.5. The thinking seems to be that both are capable of settling down a bit against an opponent each knows well. However, there’s somewhat of a disparity in the performance of each of the two starters in terms of their track record against the opposition. While Nola seems to mostly have the Mets’ number over the last three seasons, Syndergaard’s road against the Phillies hasn’t been quite as smooth.
Nola has been on the bump against New York eight times overall in the last three campaigns. He’s generated a 6-0 record, 2.54 ERA, .200 BAA and 56 strikeouts over 49.2 innings versus the Mets over that span. Current New York hitters have a collective .237 average versus Nola over their respective careers. And the one that’s had the most success, the slugging Yoenis Cespedes (6-for-14 with three home runs) is still on the injured list with a heel issue and has yet to play this season.
In turn, Syndergaard sports a 3-3 record, 3.74 ERA and .250 BAA across eight starts versus the Phillies in the last three seasons. That includes a 1-2 mark, 5.75 ERA and a .326 BAA over four 2018 starts against Philly. Then, it’s worth noting a pair of the Phillies’ big-name offseason acquisitions have enjoyed success against Syndergaard in the past. Bryce Harper sports a career .292 average versus “Thor” in 30 career plate appearances. Jean Segura checks in with a .429 average against Syndergaard in seven prior encounters.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Two other high-upside Philly bats have gotten the best of Syndergaard even more frequently. Rhys Hoskins, who’s sporting a .294/.438/.667 line with five homers through his first 14 games, has battered Syndergaard for a .444 average and four extra-base hits (two doubles, two homers) across 13 career PAs. And Cesar Hernandez, who’s gotten off to a slow start this season, could find the cure for what ails his bat against Syndergaard as well. He boasts a .364 average and .462 OBP versus the right-hander in 26 career plate appearances.
Then, when evaluating the possibility of any MLB game exceeding its projected run total, examining the bullpen of each team is worthwhile. Both the Mets and Phillies currently sport relief corps that are far from effective.
New York’s pen has been among the worst in the National League over the first two weeks-plus of the season. Mets relievers have posted a 6.50 ERA, .308 BAA and .397 wOBA over a 263-batter sample. Then, the Phillies’ bullpen has been only slightly better. They sport a 4.64 ERA, .261 BAA and .319 wOBA allowed across a 232-batter sample. And they’ve been even a bit more vulnerable lately. Philly relievers have allowed a 4.97 ERA and .276 BAA during the last week of play (125 batters).
Finally, a look at how fertile the hitting environment might be Monday is in order. Citizens Bank Park finished 2018 with the 12th-highest run factor (1.042) and fourth-highest home-run factor (1.190). It’s been similarly friendly to hitters thus far in the new season. Citizens Bank checks in with the 15th-highest run factor (1.008), 11th highest home-run factor (1.282) and second-highest triple factor (2.778) in a nine-game sample.
By The Numbers
The Over is 11-3-1 (MLB-best 78.6 percent) in the Mets’ games this season. That includes a 7-2-1 mark (77.8 percent) in New York’s away games. The Over is also 5-0 in games following a Mets’ loss and 9-3-1 (75.0 percent) in New York’s division games.
Then, the Over is 9-5 (64.3 percent) in the Phillies’ games this season. That includes a 5-4 mark (55.6 percent) in Philadelphia’s home games. The Over is also 5-3 (62.5 percent) in games following a Phillies’ win and 8-3 (72.7 percent) in Philadelphia’s division games.
The Final Word
I expect both pitchers, especially Nola, to turn in better performances than they have recently. However, multiple Phillies hitters in particular have proven they can solve Syndergaard, and New York’s bullpen is ill-equipped to limit scoring once they’re called upon. The hitting environment should be conducive to some runs as well, enough for the two squads to exceed a rather modest total.
The Pick: Over 7.5 runs