Expert bets breakdown for today’s 15 game list (June 8)

All 30 Major League Baseball teams enter the field on Wednesday with a full 15-game ticket. Detroit-Pittsburgh and Toronto-Kansas City will provide some afternoon excitement, but most games on Wednesdays start after 6:40 p.m. ET when you visit Arizona and Cincinnati.

You can find my colleague Sean Zerillo’s predictions for each MLB game in the Action Network app (both the PRO Projections tab and game pages) and the Projection Center (which you should bookmark).

Here are some of my favorite angles and games I’m targeting via the Wednesday card.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds, 6:40 p.m. ET

Meryl Kelly vs. Mike Minor

Remember all the jokes about the Reds when they started the 2022 season with 3-22? Cincinnati played to a record 17-13 since that start, including the record for winning in May. Now, they have a chance to win their third game in a row against the Diamondbacks. Unlike the more-favorite encounters against Madison Baumgarner and Tyler Gilbert in the past two days, the much-improved Meryl Kelly will take the hill for Arizona on Wednesday.

Kelly was a bowler that I featured early in the season as a karami that I was looking to bet on. He was hugely successful as part of a team that improved in Arizona under new coach Brent Strom.

He improved his fastball speed by nearly a full mph and although it didn’t translate into more hits – his K-R is the same as 2021 – he didn’t shoot a fastball nearly as much. Kelly has a low post hit hit rate because he throws fewer curveballs and sinks instead of focusing on shifting and cutting.

Kelly sits with a respectable 3.66 ERA. All of its predicted indicators are comfortably below 4.00 with 3.79 xERA and 3.41 FIP.

Kelly is opposed by Mike Minor and I’m not sure what’s left of Minor to get the hitters out of the league anymore. His first start scored a 65.8+ Stuff rating, according to Eno Sarris of The Athletic Model. 100 is considered average and one normal writer has a scale below that. Stuff+ examines the physical qualities of tone from movement to rotation to speed.

The 34-year-old left-hander was hit three times on 14 hits. His hard hit rate in his first start was 50%. That first start came against Washington, a good lineup but not one of the best in the league.

I was playing Arizona in both the full game and the first five innings at -110 or better. I think the Vipers should be a favorite given the clear edge and uncertainty as to whether Minor is still good enough to be a regular in MLB.

Recommended bets

  • First five runs at Arizona (-110 or better)
  • Money line in Arizona (-110 or better)

Seattle Mariners vs Houston Astros, 6:40 p.m. ET

Logan Gilbert vs. Jose Orchidi

Early in the season, I joked that I would only bet the Mariners when Logan Gilbert was promoting. Seattle has been and still is a team I always fall short of in the market, mainly due to my questions about lineup depth and exaggerated starting rotations. Gilbert has lived up to and may even exceed expectations at this point in the season. His Stuff+ rating doesn’t quite jump off the page at 97.2—just in the league average for novice shooters.

But Gilbert displayed a plus order and had an above average K/BB ratio. This is one of the most predictive and consistent metrics that a bowler controls. He eliminates all tennis events and Gilbert ranks 69th and 62th percent of hits and walks, respectively. What is even more impressive from Gilbert is that he has cut the price of a barrel of oil from 8.8% last season to 4.7% this year. Given that the league average is 7.4%, Gilbert has turned most of his footballing attributes into a good standard as well.

He has maintained his hit + whiff% number over last season’s number and has managed to improve the connection percentage in his area. The hitters are making less contact with Gilbert Stadiums within the area, compared to last season and the MLB average. Missing bats in the area is a major key for any bowler, especially considering Gilbert’s occasional problems with the average hitter.

As much as I love Seattle Wednesday for Gilbert’s sophomore development as a rookie, this bet is also a fade for struggling Jose Urquidi. Urquidy xERA is located at 6.11. Even in a dead ball year, the Astros’ right arm allows 1.59 HR/9, the highest mark of his career.

His globe average is close to his league averages and his HR/FB is already down from last year. He’s giving up a ton of strong contact and surpassing the 10% barrel rating for the first time in his career. He sits at 11.7% and his average exit pace is in the lowest seven percent of the league.

Urquidy can always count on his walking rate, but he hits fewer strokes and his 4.76 ERA seems to be tempting him at this point.

I would have played Seattle at +120 or better in this game because the Mariners should be able to hold off effectively against Orchiddy. Sailors maintain a well above average base behind Gilbert, too.

Recommended bets

  • Seattle Money Line (+120 or better)

Texas Rangers vs Cleveland Guardians, 7:10 p.m. ET

Dan Dunning vs. Shane Pepper

Shane Bieber looked like a vintage Bieber in his latest debut against Baltimore. The Guardians threw seven rounds, only allowed two runs and hit 11. His ERA is now down to 3.12 however I still have question marks about Bieber when he faces a better lineup. The Orioles and Tigers haven’t had much success against him in his last three games, but Texas has a better lineup than these two teams. Marcos Simin is finally getting close to fitness this year, Adulis Garcia is back in force once again, and Nathaniel Lowe is showing signs of breaking a long slump at the start of the season.

Let’s look under the hood at Bieber. The fastball average is down 2.0 mph from last season. The strike rate decreased from 33.1% to 25.1%, a decrease of 8%. His swing hit rate dropped nearly three percent. Its barrel price is still marginally lower than the league average.

Bieber is still a good player, but he’s not the bowler he was in 2020, and he certainly isn’t the bowler he was priced at for most of his start in 2022. Since the sticky things collapsed in mid-2021, Bieber hasn’t had the same turnover in Curved ball and the result was the slightest whiff with his best secondary court.

Without a powerful fastball or knockout punch, Bieber will struggle more against good formations. Toronto placed him seven runs earlier in May.

Sarris’ model opposed the decline in Bieber’s products, too. His +Stuff is 93.1 this season, compared to Lucas Giolito and Ryan Yarbrough (that should get you worried about Giolito too).

Bieber was blocked by Dane Dunning of Texas. Given that Bieber plans as a pitcher with ERA in the high 3s, Dunning really isn’t much worse with a 4.06 xERA and 3.74 FIP. Dunning doesn’t have the things ratings, but he does have similar ratings when it comes to barrel, strike, and walk.

Dunning has seen a five percent drop in his swipe rate allowed, and while Guardians’ attack doesn’t get hit, they may be prone to a lot of poor contact when the offense isn’t going well.

I love Texas as a tough road underdog on Wednesday because I once again fade Bieber as a favorite. There’s a lot of downhill coming for Bieber, who simply doesn’t have the stuff to be a pitcher of 3.12 ERA right now. Better lineups will take advantage of it, even if Baltimore and Detroit don’t.

Recommended bets

  • Texas Money Line (+130 or better)

Philadelphia Phillies vs Milwaukee Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET

Aaron Nola vs. Adrian Houser

Aaron Nola and Adrian Houser are pitchers heading in opposite directions at this point in the 2022 MLB season. Their surface level indicators are not too far off – Nola has a 3.92 ERA and Houser is sitting at 3.51. Just by looking at these numbers, you’ll probably be wondering why Philadelphia is favored on the road on Wednesday night.

Expected indicators tell a very different story for these two shooters. The Nola fared almost worse than a full sprint when you consider the 2.81 xERA. Houser fared completely better at 4.55 xERA. Those numbers are more a reflection of these two shooters, and given that Nola had a poor start to the 2022 season and Hauser was hit hard in his last two games, the current gap between these two starters could be even greater.

Milwaukee has a major defensive advantage — Philadelphia died in the last defensive laps saved — and a major advantage as well. But in the first five rounds, Philadelphia had a clear advantage Wednesday night with the superior lineup and better starters.

Nola struggled for the third time through the standings – as evidenced by his poor showings against Oakland, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the sixth inning and beyond. But its OPS allowed first and second order by .443 and .704, respectively.

His batting average is above 30% for the second time in his career, he walks fewer hitters than ever and his first-pitch batting average is among the best in MLB. Nola has been one of the luckiest shooters in baseball for over a year now, and there’s a positive dip coming for him in the big.

Houser doesn’t hit enough people to be able to avoid the Philadelphia Barrel fishing lineup. Although Houser’s barrel price is well above the league average, his K/BB ratio suggests more concern looms for the right-handed Milwaukee.

I’ll take Philadelphia for the first five rounds, -140 at FanDuel. I will not play it after this number.

Recommended bets

  • Philadelphia’s top five innings (-140 or better)

Bets (8th June)

  • Philadelphia’s top five innings (-140 or better)
  • Texas Money Line (+130 or better)
  • Seattle Money Line (+120 or better)
  • First five runs at Arizona (-110 or better)
  • Money line in Arizona (-110 or better)

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