It's been said that when you watch a baseball game you may see something that's never happened before.
As someone who bets baseball daily, however, the last thing I want is something that I have never seen before (as it will likely be outside the range of expected outcomes). I make my plays and tune into games with the hope of seeing a boring outcome in line with what the numbers say it should be, but if that was reality then I would be retired and not living the daily betting grind that is baseball season. "A grind" it truly is, as there's no better way to describe it with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. While Gerrit Cole will occasionally get rocked by the lowly Royals at Yankee Stadium and the Pirates will sweep the Dodgers (in L.A., no less!), all we can do is stay disciplined and stick to a process that identifies value day to day.
With all that said, let's get into a few matchups that are likely to provide value on Tuesday, August 2nd.
Reds @ Marlins - 6:40 p.m. ET
I assume most of you would like to stop reading now, right? This is not necessarily the type of matchup that jumps off the page, sure, but weak offenses and pitchers with upside is a great place to find under-the-radar player props. Graham Ashcraft and Braxton Garrett will each be facing a lineup that also saw them last week, which usually would give me pause for concern. But when the offenses are this bad, I'm not sure that it matters. They will also transition from the offensive-friendly Great American Ball Park (2nd highest park factor) to Loan Depot Park (19th highest park factor). Here are two plays I will look for:
Braxton Garrett OVER 15.5 outs (-140) or 17.5 (+100)
The case for: While Garrett’s pitch counts have typically only reached the mid 80's, he has demonstrated an ability to limit walks (83rd percentile per baseball savant with only 1 walk or less in 8/10 starts this year, which should help keep his pitch count down). On the season he's also averaging 16.13 pitches per inning, which would put him at 85.28 to get one out in the sixth. The Reds have been league average in running up pitch counts, allowing lefties to average 5.16 innings per start and jumping to 5.8 on the road (6 if you exclude April when pitchers were working on getting fully stretched out).
The case against: The Reds did get to Garrett last week, scoring 5 in 5 innings. However, after a 36-pitch 1st inning where he allowed 4 runs, he settled in and threw 51 over the next 4 innings (allowing 1 run on 2 infield singles and an error in the 3rd). If one of those infield singles (or the error) were converted, then he most likely gets the 6th inning. The Reds have been above average vs. lefties as a team, but they will likely be without Brandon Drury following the trade deadline. Drury has a 181 WRC+ vs lefties this season.
Graham Ashcraft OVER 17.5 outs (-130)
The case for: Graham Ashcraft is the exact opposite in terms of pitch counts showcasing a long leash throwing over 100 pitches while giving up 2+ runs in 5 of his last 6 starts. He also limits walks (79th percentile) but more importantly generates contact with a low K rate (9th percentile) and whiff rate (6th percentile) along with a league average hard hit rate in the 54th percentile. In the end this is more of a fade of the Marlins as they have been brutal this season and the 2nd worst offense in baseball for the past month as measured by WRC+. It's no surprise that no team has a higher starter average innings pitched against this season than Miami.
The case against: Ashcraft has been terrible on the road. His ERA sits at 6.66 and has only gone 6 innings once in 5 road starts. However, 3 of those came against Toronto (4.1), St Louis (4.2), and the Yankees (5). The other miss was at the Cubs, which is concerning. But I am willing to take my chances at the right price.
Diamondbacks @ Guardians - 7:10 p.m. ET
Triston McKenzie OVER 17.5 outs (-170) or 18.5 (+110)
The case for: McKenzie combines a couple traits that make him an ideal pitcher to target for outs props. He gets hitters swinging early in counts, leading to an average of only 14.76 pitches per inning. He has also shown that he can still go deep when he gives up runs despite a strong bullpen behind him. He has cleared 6 innings in 87% of his starts since the beginning of May and has gone 7+ in 7 of them. At home in that time he has cleared 17.5 outs in every start as well, including brutal matchups with the Twins and the Yankees. Most importantly, for this matchup, he has already taken care of business vs. poor offenses like Detroit and Oakland. Arizona is not at that level, but they have been a bottom-third offense this season.
The case against: Arizona has shown signs of life offensively for the past month, but last weekend all 3 Atlanta starters went 6 or more innings (that includes Ian Anderson, who has struggled this year). Even if they can scrape a few across, I expect McKenzie to pitch deep into this one.
Blue Jays @ Rays - 7:10 p.m. ET
Drew Rasmussen UNDER 2.5 earned runs (-115)
The case for: This one will not be for the faint of heart, as I am essentially fading a Toronto lineup near the top of the league in most offensive categories for the season and also vs. righties. Rasmussen has been stellar at home with a 2.09 ERA, 2.86 xFIP, and 1.30 WHIP. He doesn’t typically go deep into games either, usually leaving after 5 innings and eliminating concerns of a collapse the third time through the order. In two starts vs. Toronto this season he has allowed 1 earned run in each. I am backing Rasmussen to stay hot at home.
The case against: Short answer…it's Toronto, and they can put up runs on anyone.
Royals @ White Sox - 8:10 p.m. ET
Brady Singer OVER 17.5 outs (-150)
The case for: Brady Singer is quietly having a nice season in KC with a 3.51 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, which is in line with his xERA of 3.58, eliminating negative regression concerns. In his last 6 starts he has gone at least 6 innings in 5, including 7 innings of 1-hit ball at Yankee Stadium in his last start (they don’t come much tougher than that). In one start vs the White Sox this season, Singer went 7 shutout innings while allowing 4 hits. It has been an up and down season for the White Sox offensively, as they have battled injuries up and down the roster. Righties have given them more trouble than lefties, and I expect it to continue. Lastly, the projected White Sox lineup on Tuesday walks at a sub-7% clip and swings early and often (3.8 pitches per plate appearance), which should translate to quick outs for Singer.
The case against: I have a hard time finding reasons to stay away from Singer here. He has been very consistent for a young starter, and his pitch counts have consistently been in the high 90s to 100+ in his last 6 starts. That being said, this could be a let down spot for him after a shutdown outing in NY, and he has had a few starts where control has gotten away from him (2 starts in the past two months with 5 walks). However, as stated earlier, I don’t see the White Sox as the team to take advantage of control issues given their aggressive approach.
Remember, it’s a long season with two months left. Be responsible, never get too high, and most of all never get too low. After all, this is supposed to be fun, right? Here’s to NOT seeing something we’ve never seen before, and best of luck on your Tuesday MLB bets.
- Jay Ray, Special to The Betting Predators
Our Early Bird NFL Premium Package is Now Available for the 2022 season! The Betting Predators NFL Premium Package was created to give you with the highest-quality betting + player prop analysis. We're here to help you save time, win money, and become a long-term profitable sports bettor. Our team of analysts, led by Steve Rieder and Chris Dell, deliver real-time best bets and player prop analysis, every week, to make sure you crush your sportsbook. Get $25 OFF with code "NFL25" for our best price all season.