Welcome to the Wednesday, June 26 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.
6/26/19 MLB Betting Picks
Philadelphia Phillies (41-38) vs. New York Mets (37-43)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -142 ML (o/u: 11)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -160 ML (o/u: 11)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -159 ML (o/u: 11)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Phillies -167 ML (o/u: 11)
The Mets are in complete disarray with their manager attacking reporters and reports that their GM is interfering with in-game pitching decisions.
That could certainly have a negative effect on a struggling bullpen that once again collapsed in the fifth inning last night. It gave up 3 more ER to put the Phillies ahead for good. Now, the Mets have the third-highest ERA (5.41) among relievers.
They will hope veteran LHP Jason Vargas can channel the aggression he showed towards reporter on Sunday into his performance on the mound. Vargas pulled out a rare CGSO against the lowly Giants to start the month. But he has struggled since with a 5.92 xFIP and 35.4% hard contact rate over his last three starts.
The 36-year-old southpaw rarely misses bats with a 7.6% swinging strike rate and an 88% Z-Contact Rate. Vargas also owns a 4.06 BB/9 ratio and 5.75 xFIP on the road with a .286 BAA against RHBs in road starts.
Philadelphia’s lineup is built to tag lefties with a collective .260/.335/.447 slash line against LHPs this year. Current Phillies have limited success against Vargas but in a very small sample size. New leadoff man Scott Kingery is 1-for-2, and Jean Segura is 2-for-3 with a HR in that tiny sample against Vargas. Those RHBs should set the table, as Segura is hitting .385 and Kingery is hitting .357 against LHPs at home. Switch hitter Cesar Hernandez is a career .290 hitter against lefties and should give Vargas trouble with his patient approach.
Vargas has limited damage this month with a .195 BAA, but his 10.8% BB Rate against RHBs speaks to the regression that should be coming. J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Roman Quinn, and the suddenly viable Maikel Franco are four more RHBs that could give him trouble if his location isn’t spot on.
For the Phillies, Nick Pivetta will look to right the ship after rough outings in Atlanta and Washington. Those offenses are rolling right now, and the Mets are right up there with a collective .355 wOBA over the last 14 days.
Pivetta was able to limit the Mets to 3 ER over 5 IP on April 16 by eliciting 11 ground ball outs. The former fourth-round pick owns a solid 1.38 GB/FB ratio but a rough 25% HR/FB ratio this year. His fastball rates -11.3 runs below average and has a net rating of -28.7 over his three years in the MLB. The Mets are feasting on fastballs with the second-highest rating (30.8) over the last month. Still, Pivetta does own a plus slider and the Mets rank 26th in rating (-8.2) against that pitch over the last month.
Pivetta has mostly been vulnerable in RvR matchups. He’s yielding a .337 BAA and .270 HR/9 ratio to RHBs this season. He’s been worse at Citizens Bank Park with a 5.85 ERA and .308 BAA over 6 home starts.
While Pivetta’s strikeout numbers (20.6% K-Rate) are way down from last year, his strand rate (73.9%) is up. That indicates that further regression is possible with the Mets likely to put the ball in play while men are on base.
Pete Alonso is clearly the most dangerous opponent for a homer-prone RHP that struggles against righty sluggers. Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos are also candidates to do damage despite their quiet performances on Tuesday.
Jeff McNeil has been electric atop the Mets lineup, Robinson Cano continues to perform, and Dominic Smith has come on as a useful LHB toward the bottom of the order. Pivetta’s slider has allowed him to be more effective against LHBs throughout his career, but McNeil and Michael Conforto both have plus ratings against that pitch.
The Final Word
The run total continues to climb with both of these teams struggling to find reliable starting pitching or the right combinations out of the bullpen. We’re now at 11 runs, and the best bet is going against the grain with the Under (11 runs on DraftKings Sportsbook) after the first two games of this series went over.
Vargas is not a great pitcher, but the savvy veteran knows how to keep runs off the board with a 74.4% strand rate. As mentioned, Pivetta’s strand rate is similar. He has plenty of talent if he can just avoid making mistakes over the plate.
As far as the Moneyline we’re once again leaning toward the Mets (+138 on FanDuel Sportsbook). They had a chance to win each of the past two games if their bullpen could have kept it together. Pivetta is much more likely to implode than Vargas, and the Mets offense continues to rally despite their pitching woes.
Feel free to take the better odds on the Mets, or risk it again with the Phillies (-1 on 888sport.com) on the Run Line. But again, our best option tonight is going Under the lofty total of 11 runs.
The Lean: Mets Moneyline (+138)
The Pick: Under (11)