This article is part of our MLB Betting series.
Previous day: 0-4, -3.5 RWBucks
Season: 15-22, -6.64 RWBucks
As a fan, an analyst, even a bettor, spread-schedule days are the best. It's just so much easier to follow, enjoy, and wager on a day of baseball when the games run from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. You can just pick up on more, see more players and teams, spend more time on every game. You also don't have to have eight to ten units out there the way you might on a day when nothing begins until 7 p.m.
As a betting writer, though, they've presented a bit of a challenge in the early going. I'm nocturnal by nature (...not that I hate ya...), and have luckily fallen into a career where that's a benefit. If there are 90 nights a year with late-night west coast baseball, I'm up watching 85 of them. The "east coast bias" charge is belied by a Twitter feed with a decade of comments on meaningless Padres and Mariners games. I am up late and I sleep late, some days later than others. So when the MLB schedule features eight starts at 4 p.m. or earlier, well, it's a problem. My Cheerios usually aren't even soggy by the middle of the afternoon.
Fortunately, even a light night slate provides a few opportunities to cash tickets, opportunities that I, ahem, very much need at the moment.
6:40 p.m. Braves (Ian Anderson) /Yankees (Corey Kluber) over 8.5 (-120). A great piece at FanGraphs by Kevin Goldstein broke down the small change in Anderson's mechanics that has led to a 4.70 ERA, 10% walk rate start to his season. Yankee Stadium isn't the place to get it together, even with the Yankees famously struggling to hit this year (3.6 R/G, .344 SLG). Kluber hasn't been any better, also walking more than 10% of the batters he's faced. It will be a muggy night at the Stadium, conducive to fly balls leaving the yard. Take advantage of an over/under number you're not going to see much longer. 1.5 RWBucks.
7:40 p.m. Mets (David Peterson) team total over 3.5 (-121) vs. Cubs (Zach Davies). I keep coming back to this Mets offense, which is second in the NL in OBP against righties (.332), fifth in weighted on-base average (.310) against them. The struggle has been bringing those baserunners home, with a .362 SLG that's just 12th in the league against northpaws. OBP is life, life is OBP ($1, Gary Huckabay), and I will always keep coming back to a team that can get on base at the rate the Mets can. Davies has more walks than strikeouts this year, making him a tasty target for this Mets offense. 1.5 RWBucks.
8 p.m. Rays (Michael Wacha) -106 Royals ( Jakob Junis). The most common baseball story today is "pitcher junks fastball, gets better." Junis is the rare exception to that. Through four outings, two of them starts, he's now throwing his four-seamer more than 60% of the time, having tossed the rest of his old repertoire aside in favor of that fastball and a new cutter that has gotten great results. I'll fade the comeback, and that 91-mph fastball, tonight.
You may recall I took the over in Michael Wacha's last start based on him being on the mound. He struck out nine of the 20 batters he faced, didn't allow a run, and the over hit anyway. I may be a believer, now; Wacha has a 2.67 FIP and a 33% strikeout rate in three outings. 1 RWBuck.