5th of July Best Bets

Your holiday weekend just got better with action on tonight's slate.

Keithimus, Wikipeadia Commons

Milwaukee Brewers @ Pittsburgh Pirates 7:05PM/ET
Zach Davies vs. Steven Brault
Moneyline: Brewers -120, Pirates +100
Spread: Brewers +1.5 (-225), Pirates -1.5 (+185)
Total Runs: Over 10 (-110), Under 10 (-110)

Steven Brault may have found his calling in Pittsburgh’s starting rotation. Six of his first eight appearances came out of the bullpen in 2019, but he will now make his seventh consecutive start. Brault owns a 4.29 ERA this season overall, but he’s been better as a starter with a 3.46 ERA. It’s somewhat shocking when you consider his high BABIP (.342) and WHIP (1.59.) Teams are hitting .190 against him with runners in scoring position, which would explain the tamed ERA. Brault pitched around multiple jams in his most recent outing in Milwaukee, lasting 4.2 innings and allowing one run off eight baserunners. While Brault proves that he may be a nice arm for Pittsburgh moving forward, it would also seem that he is due for a swing in luck. The Brewers are decent against lefties and should get the better of Brault today.

Zach Davies will do battle with the Pirates for the fourth time this season. He has enjoyed great success against them, going 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings. Davies has done well in his career to tame Josh Bell (2/16 with one RBI), but he’s been on an absolute tear lately, clobbering five homers in his last eight games. The Pittsburgh offense has been all or nothing lately with four double-digit scoring outputs in their last 11 games, but have a one run total on three occasions during that timespan. The Milwaukee offense hasn’t exactly been amazing lately, so I’d elect to take the under in this scenario and back Davies against a club that he owns with a justifiable payout.

Texas Rangers @ Minnesota Twins 8:10PM/ET
Adrian Sampson vs. Martin Perez
Moneyline: Rangers +145, Twins -170
Spread: Rangers +1.5 (-125), Twins -1.5 (+105)
Total Runs: Over 10.5 (-105), Under 10.5 (-115)

Adrian Sampson takes a 4.16 ERA into a match with the hard-hitting Twins. The two have never faced each other, making this a debatable matchup. The Twins have seen some recent decline from Max Kepler, C.J. Cron, Mitch Garver, and Jonathan Schoop. They’re on bad streaks at the moment, which is why the Twins offense ranks in the middle of the AL pack in the last week. They’ve been a juggernaut all season, but they seem more vulnerable now than they have been all season. Sampson has mostly started this season and has even been used to throw the second inning and more after a one inning opener. The new fad has seemed to die off with some clubs, and it did with the Rangers in regards to Sampson. The Rangers’ starter has been up and down all season, but he’s coming off two great starts in a row. Sampson has combined for 13 innings and four earned runs over his last two starts against the Rays and White Sox. The line is favoring Minnesota so heavily and I’m unsure why at this point. It seems like Sampson is a decent bet for a quality outing against a slumping Minnesota squad.

Martin Perez is coming off his worst month of the 2019 season. The lefty went winless in five starts and compiled a 5.08 ERA over June. Batters are hitting .321 off Perez with RISP and .314 with runners on base. It makes you wonder if he just struggles throwing from the stretch, or if he struggles to focus on baserunners and hitters all at once. The Texas offense hasn’t been crushing the ball lately like they have all season. All-Star Hunter Pence is still on the IL, and guys like Shin-Too Choo (.143), Nomar Mazara (.059), Willie Calhoun (.063), Ronald Guzman (.071), and Logan Forsythe (.077) really haven’t helped over the last week. Texas hits .230 as a team against lefties this season. It’s tough to tell how Perez will do after enduring the roughest month of his season, but I’d settle with the under considering that both offenses have been down lately.

Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros 8:10PM/ET
Noe Ramirez vs. Justin Verlander
Moneyline: Angels +170, Astros -200
Spread: Angels +1.5 (-115), Astros -1.5 (-105)
Total Runs: Over 9 (+100), Under 9 (-120)

The Astros are on a five-game winning streak thanks to their pitching staff holding opponents to 17 runs over the stretch. The Angels took two of three from the Rangers in an emotional series after teammate Tyler Skaggs passed away. Houston remains one of the best teams in the league at 55-32 and the Angels are staying strong at 44-44.

Noe Ramirez is simply a one inning starter for the Angels. Their bullpen ranks eighth in the AL with a 4.33 ERA in 2019. The Houston offense has averaged a modest 4.5 runs per game over the last week and haven’t quite been the dominant force that they were in 2018. They’re tied for seventh in the AL in run production after finishing fifth in 2018.

Justin Verlander has leveled out a bit since May as his ERA grew from 2.16 to 2.86 over the month. He has allowed 11 runs over his last three starts (19 innings), including six homers. The Angels got to Verlander in the beginning of May by smacking three homers off him for four runs in 6.1 innings. The loss of Tommy La Stella for two or three months hurts, but they still have a scary lineup. The batting averages against Verlander aren’t anything sexy, but the Angels have power numbers against him. David Fletcher has a homer in 11 at-bats, Shohei Ohtani has a homer in 14 at-bats, Jonathan Lucroy has three homers in 13 at-bats, and Mike Trout has a homer in 35 at-bats against the power pitching Houston ace in their careers. Trout has three homers over his last two games and is up to 25 on the season. Gamble on Verlander struggling at least one more time out and take the over at even money.

Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks 9:10PM/ET
Antonio Senzatela vs. Zack Greinke
Moneyline: Rockies +165, Diamondbacks -195
Spread: Rockies +1.5 (-125), Diamondbacks -1.5 (+105)
Total Runs: Over 9 (+100), Under 9 (-120)

Arizona has lost four of their last five and have totaled just 19 runs in those games. The Rockies just lost four of six on their latest home stand, mustering 41 runs over the span. Colorado isn’t nearly the offense on the road that they are at home. The differences are significant with the club smoldering at .314 with 65 homers at home against .225 and 46 homers on the road. You would expect a difference, but maybe not something so drastic. Meanwhile, Arizona has the best batting average (.271) and most round-trippers (83) on the road this season, with their home offense leaving little to desire. It’s more surprising for the Diamondbacks given that their home ballpark usually delivers solid results to visitors.

Zack Greinke continues his dominant 2019 season after a recent gem against a pitiful Giants offense in San Francisco. Two of Greinke’s worst outings of the season came in the two games before against the Dodgers and Rockies. The Dodgers lit him up for four runs over six innings and the Rockies devoured him for five runs over seven innings, both in Arizona. His ERA is nearly a full point higher at home this season (3.4 to 2.47 on the road), and the Rockies have way too much experience against him. Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story have a combined 167 at-bats against the Arizona ace. Typically, this experience will favor bats over arms. This feels like a great time to bet against Greinke given his recent outings.

Antonio Senzatela has allowed more than two runs in a game just once over his last seven starts. His ERA sits at 4.83, but was as high as 6.21 just seven games ago. Senzatela continues to allow way too many baserunners, but somehow he gets out of trouble. His batting average against with RISP is .208 versus .317 when the bases are empty. It’s nice that he buckles down in pressure situations, but it’s not ideal to rely on. Senzatela has been great against Arizona this season. In two starts he has allowed three runs over 12.2 innings, but it wasn’t pretty, as he scattered 22 baserunners over those innings. The Colorado bullpen has been excellent this season given their disadvantage in their own ballpark. This feels like an opportunity to collect on an even money situation with the over, plus the underdog.

San Diego Padres @ Los Angeles Dodgers 10:10PM/ET
Eric Lauer vs. Clayton Kershaw
Moneyline: Padres +170, Dodgers -200
Spread: Padres +1.5 (-125), Dodgers -1.5 (+105)
Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-105), Under 8.5 (-115)

The Padres have lost five straight after scoring just one run in their matchup last night. They’ve been outscored 40-15 during the losing streak and were even swept by the Giants. The Dodgers are on the other end of things with a four-game winning streak and a record of 60-29 overall. Cody Bellinger swatted long-ball number 30 last night and ranks second behind Christian Yelich in the category. The Los Angeles offense continues to rank among the best in the NL despite losing Corey Seager for a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

Clayton Kershaw is still delivering high quality outings with consistency for the Dodgers. His 3.23 ERA and 82/15 K/BB ratio over 92 innings has been dominant. Kershaw has managed a minimum of six innings in all 14 starts this season. The club has won 11 of 14 starts by Kershaw, but two of the losses have come on his most recent starts in Arizona and in Colorado. He combined to allow eight runs over 13 innings in those two team losses. Things get worse when realizing that Kershaw has allowed four homers in two starts against San Diego this season. Franmil Reyes (5/9 with two homers), Eric Hosmer (8/20 with a homer), and Manny Machado (3/6 with two homers) have fond memories against Kershaw in their careers. Machado seems to show up against his former clubs.

Eric Lauer continues to dominate whenever he’s not throwing in Colorado against the Rockies. Lauer’s 4.22 ERA doesn’t tell the full story when it comes to his recent dominance. The San Diego lefty has allowed just one run in six of his last eight outings. The Padres have really blown his ERA skyward in two games where Lauer combined to allow 13 runs over 5.2 innings. He’s been one of the better arms for the Padres this season and has allowed just nine homers on the season. Lauer allowed two runs over five innings in his only outing against the Dodgers this season. Take the under and assume that there’s more than a decent chance that Kershaw and the Dodgers lose against an offense that has their number.

St. Louis Cardinals @ San Francisco Giants 10:15PM/ET
Dakota Hudson vs. Drew Pomeranz
Moneyline: Cardinals -120, Giants +100
Spread: Cardinals -1.5 (+135), Giants +1.5 (-160)
Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-115), Under 8.5 (-105)

Dakota Hudson has been spectacular for the Cardinals in 2019. He has allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once in 16 tries. He owns a 3.4 ERA and is 6-3 on the season. The St. Louis offense hasn’t been the powerhouse that everyone expected and 12th in the NL in run production this season. They have tallied a pathetic 17 runs over their last five games. Thankfully, their pitching ranks tied for third in the NL with a 4.14 ERA, keeping them around the .500 mark. Their offense has certainly taken its toll since Marcell Ozuna (fractured finger) and Matt Carpenter (back) hit the IL. Dakota Hudson might be in for a surprise against a San Francisco offense that’s cooking right now.

Drew Pomeranz has been a complete dumpster fire for the Giants this season. His 6.25 ERA over 15 starts is just atrocious, but he’s gotten his act together a little over June. He recorded a 3.33 ERA over the month and struck out 34 over 24.1 innings. The Giants have had a moment of relief for the veteran lefty and will continue to run him out there until he goes on another long skid. St. Louis doesn’t do very well against lefties, logging a .234 team average, which ranks 14th in the NL. It seems that you should be riding the heaters of Pomeranz and the Giants right now. Pomeranz will give up some runs, but the Giants have been pounding the ball lately, scoring 40 runs in their last four games. Brandon Belt, Kevin Pillar, Evan Longoria, and Buster Posey are all hitting at least .400 over their last six games. Take the over and definitely take the Giants on their four-game winning streak.