Honestly, it’s really difficult to write a fun and punchy introduction about baseball betting right now.
Sometimes there are too many gutting and infuriating atrocities in the real world to focus on guessing which baseball team will defeat another baseball team. Yet, I’m also too angry to articulately make any cogent points and too worn down to believe anything will ever change.
That’s why we need silly distractions to keep us fueled. For most Pitcher List writers and readers, this one included, that’s baseball.
Even if there’s money on the line, fantasy, DFS, and betting should be enjoyable. If these activities make you anxious or angry enough to slap another adult over something that happened in a league — not to mention a stupid fantasy football one — last year, maybe this isn’t your thing. Try painting, perhaps?
For those who desperately need the brief diversion to repress their desires to go Tommy Pham on a politician, here are some baseball bets to keep busy today.
Shane Bieber Strikeouts: O/U 6.5
We’ve gotten a fair share of “What’s wrong with Shane Bieber” discourse over the first two months. His average fastball velocity has dipped over two mph, leading to the worst strikeout rate (24.1%) of his career. That’s a far cry from the ace who tallied 259 punchouts in 2019 before notching, earning AL Cy Young Award honors with an absurd 41.1% K rate during the shortened 2020.
The thing is, this Bieber is still really good.
The 26-year-old righty is fanning a batter per inning with a healthy 13.2% swinging-strike rate that ranks 14th among qualified starters. After getting shelled by Toronto, he found the perfect remedy in the AL Central. Bieber allowed one run with seven strikeouts against the Twins before collecting a season-high ten strikeouts against the Tigers on Sunday.
Last season, Bieber stockpiled 12 strikeouts in each of his two meetings against Detroit. In fact, he’s accrued double-digit punchouts in his last six outings against the Tigers dating back to 2019. Those are different teams, but this year’s squad has a 24.7% K rate and MLB-worst 72 wRC+ against righties. A line of 6.5 strikeouts, which Bieber has cleared in four of his last six starts, is easily beatable in this matchup.
Pick: Over (-108 on FanDuel, -115 on DraftKings)
Mike Trout to Record 2+ Bases
Mike Trout has gone 1-for-12 with six strikeouts in his last three games. He failed to reach base in consecutive games for the first time in five years.
Something must be deeply wrong with Trout, who’s hitting .309/.411/.651 with the highest wRC+ (205) of any qualified hitter. Oh, uh, never mind.
Trout has only recorded two or more bases in six of his last 12 starts. The “only” may come off as facetious, but it marks a slump for the three-time MVP. Yet he’s still slugging .651 with 13 doubles, a triple, and 12 long balls in 42 games this season. Meanwhile, opposing righties have slashed .273/.346/.486 against Saturday’s opposing starter, Yusei Kikuchi, throughout his MLB career. While Toronto’s southpaw has pitched better in recent turns, he’s already relinquished 10 barrels and a 45.1% hard-hit rate this season.
Let’s trust an all-time great to get at least one extra-base knock.
Pick: Yes (+105 on FanDuel)
Phillies at Mets: Moneyline
As a Mets fan, I’m admittedly biased … against the Mets. They’re 30-17 with the NL’s second-best run differential (+47) behind the Dodgers. No team boasts a bigger division lead than their early 7.5-game edge in the NL East.
I should be happy and optimistic about this team. Instead, I’m picking their division rival to win at Citi Field.
The Amazins are gradually falling back to earth, going 11-8 in the last three weeks since having two games postponed at Philadelphia. Even that performance is commendable with Jacob deGrom sidelined and Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill later joining him. Taijuan Walker has suddenly turned from a luxury fifth starter to a staff ace wielding a 2.70 ERA. However, he’s gotten by with just 18 strikeouts in six starts. A 78.8% contact rate matches what he posted when recording a 4.47 ERA last year.
Saturday also somehow already marks his fourth start of the season against the Phillies. They seemed to figure him out in their last meeting, tagging Walker to nine hits and seven runs in four frames. New York has allowed 28 runs in the last three games, and Walker could be the next pitcher to falter against a dangerous lineup.
On the other side, Zach Eflin is coming off a 12-strikeout gem against the Dodgers. Despite getting roughed up by the Mets (4.1 IP, 6 R) on May 1, the righty wields a 3.65 ERA and 2.95 FIP through seven starts.
Anyone who read last Saturday’s article may wonder why I’m contradicting those thoughts about picking a superior Dodgers team to beat the Phillies with Aaron Nola on the mound because of Philadelphia’s feeble defense and bullpen. Simply put, Mets fans are trained to expect the worst. Call it a gut feeling that Walker endures some swift regression while Eflin takes another step forward. Also, Philadelphia is the road underdog offering a higher path for profit in this scenario.
Pick: Phillies (+110 on DraftKings, +108 on FanDuel)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 9-11-1
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$184.82
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)