Going 1-for-3 is a solid day at the ballpark for a hitter, but not so much for a bettor. The last four Sunday columns have only gotten one out of three picks correct. It’s impossible to profit with a 33% success rate, so my season net total is now in the red.
It’s worth noting that the last three weeks featured a successful strikeout prop. Perhaps I’ve discovered my personal strength to focus on this month and beyond. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence. Unfortunately, none stand out as a strong opportunity today.
Since there’s definitely nothing else happening of betting interest this Sunday, let’s look at some more baseball wagers.
Nationals at Pirates: Moneyline
The Nationals will look to avoid a sweep at PNC Park against a fellow last-place squad. They’ll do so behind a pitcher plastered to a 6.14 ERA this season and .388 wOBA against righties. Betting on a road favorite starting Patrick Corbin seems suboptimal.
Why is Washington favored under such circumstances, and why should you side with a team that’s dropped 13 of its last 16 games?
For starters, the Pirates aren’t good either. They possess MLB’s second-worst wRC+ against lefties (81) and baseball’s lowest ISO (.128). One could reasonably argue Corbin is too much of a mess for the matchup to matter, but he stymied them to one run across 8.1 innings on June 15.
On the other hand, the Nationals have maintained an above-average offense (102 wRC+) since July 31, the first day after a trade deadline that saw them part with Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber. While Turner certainly played a part, they also lead MLB in wOBA against lefties. Bryce Wilson has tallied a solid 4.35 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in six starts with his new club, but he still has a 5.15 ERA and 5.01 FIP this season. He’s struggled equally against lefties (.349 wOBA) and righties (.348). Like everyone else, he’ll have a difficult time taming Juan Soto, who’s hitting .349/.522/.645 in the second half.
This is risky, but try to think of it as betting against the Pirates rather than supporting Corbin and the Nats.
Pick: Nationals (-126 on FanDuel, -130 on DraftKings)
Padres at Dodgers: O/U 7.5 Runs
My first instinct was to take the Dodgers’ run line at +105. Surely I would have cited Blake Snell’s 6.18 ERA away from Petco Park and his spotty 12.6% walk rate this season. What chance does he have against a formidable Dodgers lineup that you’d struggle to replicate on MLB The Show?
And that’s why it’s important to second-guess yourself.
Snell has rediscovered his Cy Young form. Since surrendering seven runs to Oakland on July 28, he’s posted a 1.85 ERA in seven starts. After completing the seventh inning once in the first half, he’s done so in three consecutive turns with double-digit strikeouts each time. Snell has compiled 65 punchouts and a far more manageable 14 walks in 43.2 innings during this stretch. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are hardly performing like a superteam. Their 97 wRC+ after the All-Star break ranks 19th behind the Orioles, Mariners, and Tigers, and they’re a middle-of-the-pack offense with a 101 wRC+ against lefties.
While Snell is on a heater, it doesn’t hold a candle to Max Scherzer’s recent dominance. The 37-year-old has shoved his way into the NL Cy Young Award conversation by recording a 1.05 ERA (I initially wrote WHIP by accident because a 1.05 ERA is too absurd), 63 strikeouts, and five walks in seven spectacular starts since joining the Dodgers.
Max Scherzer is the 4th pitcher with at least 60 K and an ERA below 1.50 in his first 7 starts with a team. pic.twitter.com/pkhaH3lBIb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 6, 2021
Including a 4-0 win at San Diego last month, Los Angeles has collectively allowed 16 total runs in Scherzer’s starts. Also, the Padres slot three spots behind the Dodgers in wRC+ after the break (95). With both aces in peak form and neither marquee offense meeting expectations, look for this pitchers’ duel to live up to the hype and limbo below the 7.5 run line.
Pick: Under (-114 on FanDuel, -115 on DraftKings)
Logan Webb to Record a Win
The hope was to tackle the over on another Logan Webb strikeout props, as the lines have been awfully generous during his summer surge. However, DraftKings has set the over/under to 6.5, which wouldn’t be bad if not attached to -145 odds. I’m still tempted to hammer the over against a Cubs lineup with the highest strikeout rate (27.2%) against opposing righties. Webb has tallied 54 strikeouts in his last seven starts, offering at least seven in five and exactly six in the other two. He’s working deep enough into games to clear the over in a favorable matchup, but there’s diminished profit potential on DraftKings. (FanDuel has yet to release any strikeout props as of this writing.)
But Webb is awesome, so let’s find a more creative way to back him. The 24-year-old righty has registered a 1.87 ERA since the All-Star break. The Cubs are 23rd in wRC+ during the same timeframe. Remember the part about him working deep into games? He’s pitched seven innings in his last three outings and has gone at least six frames in each of his last nine turns. Webb earned a win in five of those starts, and he has a strong chance of notching another one against a team crawling to the finish line. After scoring 29 runs in a three-game set at Colorado, the Giants banked 21 more in a pair of victories at Wrigley Field. They’ve won eight of their last nine games, so look for them to jump Justin Steele early and secure their MLB-best 93rd win behind another Webb Gem.
Pick: Yes (+105 on DraftKings)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 34-37 (One Push)
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$95.10
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)