Welcome to the Tuesday, April 23 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.
4/23/19 MLB Betting Pick:
New York Mets (12-10) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (12-10)
Both teams sit atop the N.L. East at 12-10 after the Mets earned a 5-1 win on Monday night. After a hot start with Bryce Harper, the Phillies are spring leaks with 4 losses over their last 5 road games. Harper was ejected last night and has gone hitless in 4 of his last 6 appearances.
The Mets will look to add to those woes with a strong start from Zack Wheeler. A 28-year-old RHP with a very live fastball (averaging 97.4 MPH this year), Wheeler has still struggled with a 6.35 ERA through four starts. He’s not locating that pitch and his slider rates below average this year. That could spell trouble since the Phillies are the fourth-rated offense against sliders so far in 2019.
Wheeler is 2-0 with a 3.81 ERA and .208 BAA over his last five starts against Philly. Harper is just 5-for-28 (.179) with 11 Ks against the RHP, but new acquisition J.T. Realmuto (5-for-11) and wily switch hitter Cesar Hernandez (8-for-16) have had success against Wheeler.
Citi Field still has a very low HR factor despite moving the fences in a couple feet in 2014. Wheeler was able to post a 3.13 FIP with a modest 0.65 HR/9 ratio at home last year, but it’s worth noting that 5 of the 7 HRs he allowed came against LHB.
With Odubel Herrera (hamstring) out and Harper struggling, Wheeler might be able to navigate a righty-heavy Phillies lineup. Philadelphia would be wise to start young slugger Nick Williams to put an extra LHB into the lineup.
The Phillies counter with another talented young RHP in Zach Eflin. While he was pummeled in a strange implosion in Miami, Eflin has been very solid in his three other starts to open 2019. He posted a 10.3% swinging strike rate with a modest 29.1% hard contact rate last year and should see positive regression once his .328 BABIP in 2019 drops.
Eflin struggled badly in two trips to Citi Field last year, posting a 10.13 ERA with 9 ERA and 2 HR allowed. He struggled in general on the road with a 5.62 ERA and .288 BAA, and is coughing up a 2.40 HR/9 ratio over three road starts to open 2019.
Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto will look to pounce on Eflin from the left side of the plate. Eflin owns a 5.86 FIP and .293 BAA in his career against the platoon.
He’s also coughing up a 38.2% hard contact rate to RHB this season and could have trouble with Amed Rosario, Travis d’Arnaud, and suddenly prevalent slugger Pete Alonso, who owns an absurd 1.000 slugging percentage with an 80% HR/FB ratio over his first six appearances at Citi Field.
Robinson Cano (hand) isn’t a lock to start, but appears healthy enough after pinch-hitting last night. Young lefty Brandon Nimmo could give Eflin trouble out of the leadoff spot and the Mets can replace Cano in the lineup with McNeil hitting in the No. 2 spot again.
The Final Word
The Mets rank fourth in the Majors with a collective .362 wOBA at home. They’re second only to the Brewers with a 23.1% HR/FB ratio in home games to open 2019.
Facing a homer-prone young RHP with a history of struggles against the platoon, it’s no wonder that the Mets (-143 on 888sportsbook) are heavily favored on some sportsbooks.
On sites where you can get value, betting the Mets (-112 on DraftKings Sportsbook) is certainly the way to go. Wheeler has elite upside with his velocity and he’s capable of pitching well enough to keep the Mets rolling and keep this series going Under (8.5 runs on BetStars Sportsbook) as well.
The Pick: Mets (-112) and Under (8.5 runs)