Welcome to the Sunday, June 2 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.
6/2/19 MLB Betting Pick:
New York Yankees (38-19) vs. Boston Red Sox (29-29)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Red Sox -121 ML (o/u: 9)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Red Sox -122 ML (o/u: 9)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Red Sox -125 ML (o/u: 9)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Red Sox -125 ML (o/u: 9.5)
The Red Sox look to avoid a series sweep Sunday night and will turn towards LHP David Price. While Price has been far from elite, he leads all Red Sox starters with a 2.83 ERA this season.
Matchups against the Yankees have not gone well for Price. He went 0-4 with a 10.34 ERA and an absurd 5.82 HR/9 ratio over four regular season and one postseason start against the Bronx Bombers last year. Additionally, Price is 0-6 with a 9.79 ERA and .380 BAA over his last six outings at Yankee Stadium.
In baseball, extreme trends of this nature tend to eventually relent. Price is too talented to post dud after dud against a foe that has actually been much weaker against lefties this year.
The Yanks still rank in the bottom third of the MLB with a collective .298 wOBA against LHP, but have been better against lefties of late. Overall, they’re fifth in collective wOBA (.361) with a league-high 27 HRs over the past two weeks.
While Price has been very homer-prone in matchups against the Yankees, he’s posting an average 1.13 HR/9 ratio this year. Note that Price is posting a career-high 28.7% highest K-Rate (28.7%) of his career and his highest swinging strike rate (12%) since his rookie year.
Since the Yankees have the second-highest K-Rate (27.9%) against lefties this season, there is a chance Price finally gets over the hump and dominates the team that his owned him recently.
Several Yankees that have done damage against Price, including Giancarlo Stanton (calf) and Aaron Judge (oblique), are on the Injured List. Yet Gary Sanchez (6-for-13, 5 HRs, 4 BB) has crushed Price over a small sample size and there are other RHB that can do the same.
Gio Urshela and Luke Voit are a combined 6-for-13 with 2 HRs off Price and both RHB have added a key dimension to the Yankees lineup. The same can be said for solid lead off hitter DJ LeMahieu and clutch RBI man Clint Frazier.
It’s worth noting that Gleyber Torres has been far less dangerous against LHP with a .257 wOBA and 34.3% K-Rate.
Overall, the Yankees lineup only rates negatively (-5.5) against sliders. Price has a cutter that grades positively (3.5 runs above average) and started his career with a plus slider, so perhaps he can navigate this lineup by utilizing that pitch.
The Yankees counter with old horse C.C. Sabathia in the series finale. Sabathia has also been boom-bust over the past few years, but he’s been a thorn in Boston’s side.
Sabathia is 6-1 with a 2.97 ERA and .243 BAA over his last 10 outings against Boston. He knows Yankee Stadium well and owns a respectable 3.98 ERA over the past three years at that hitter-friendly park.
This year, Sabathia owns a 1.71 ERA and .175 BAA over four home starts. He’s posting a lower Z-Contact Rate (86.7%) this season and a career-low 15.6% LD Rate, but is coughing up a 19% HR/FB ratio. That number is a more reasonable 11.1% HR/FB ratio to go along with an 11.9% LD Rate in home starts.
Lefties have struggled against Sabathia over the past few seasons, so Andrew Benintendi (4-for-18, 5 Ks lifetime against Sabathia) is a candidate for rest. Jackie Bradley Jr. (7-for-31, 13 Ks) has also struggled against the southpaw, but should stick in the lineup for his defensive prowess. Rafael Devers (2-for-8, 2 BB, 3 Ks) is less dangerous in LvL matchups and has not flashed much upside in a very small sample against Sabathia.
It is critical to note that Sabathia has held J.D. Martinez (2-for-14, 3 Ks) in check. Mookie Betts (12-for-28) has had much more success, yet Betts is posting a measly .185 wOBA with a 25% hard contact rate on the road against lefties this season.
Sabathia’s slider rates -3.8 runs below average and the Red Sox own the second-best rating (6.5 runs above average) against sliders this year.
However, they’ve struggled with a -5.4 rating against changeups, and Sabathia’s changeup rates slightly above average.
The Final Word
Will Price continue to struggle against the Yankees? Will Sabathia continue to roll against the Red Sox? We expect those trends to regress towards the mean tonight, with both veterans posting middling results.
We’re sticking with the Yankees on the Moneyline (+106 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook) because of their savvy veteran SP and superior bullpen.
We’re also willing to roll with the Under (9.5 runs on BetStars Sportsbook) as a vote of confidence in Price pulling it together to finally post a Quality Start against the Yankees.
The Red Sox bullpen has been serviceable this series and the Yanks bullpen has been lights out. As mentioned in recent articles, the Yankees are third in the MLB in bullpen ERA (3.04) and relievers have spun 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings for the home team in this series. Even if Sabathia only lasts five innings, that should be enough for the Yanks to keep this game low scoring again.
Games at Yankee Stadium have actually gone Under the total at the highest percentage (67.7%) in the Majors this season. This is also an intense division game played in primetime, potentially under a light rain. Offense could be hard to come by under those circumstances.
The Lean: Yankees Moneyline
The Pick: Under (9.5)