This article is part of our MLB Betting series.
Previous day: 1-2, -0.6 RWBucks (one void)
Season: 65-85-2, -29.49 RWBucks
For at least a little while, I think we need to put totals on the shelf. The crackdown on grip enhancers is the most obvious reason, not just projecting to increase offense by at least a little bit, but doing so unevenly from pitcher to pitcher. That crackdown, Rob Arthur speculated, could be causing the ball to fly farther on contact. (I have a tinfoil-hat theory that MLB could have quietly changed the baseballs parallel to making the use of substances the story.) The inspections of pitchers could lead to ejections, making game total predictions a bit more unstable.
All things considered, I'm going to emphasize sides until things settle down. On the first night of doing so, fortunately, it's like Thanksgiving: There are a lot of sides I like.
7 p.m. Pirates (Tyler Anderson) +143 over White Sox (Lucas Giolito). Injuries are piling up on the South Side of Chicago, where the White Sox are down a third of their projected lineup, including two of their best OBP guys in Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. The Sox are hitting just .236/.310/.375 in June, 13th in the AL in wOBA. This is a chance to get a good price against them with the...honest...Pirates' #2 starter on the mound. 1 RWBuck.
7 p.m. Mets (Marcus Stroman) -107 over Braves (Charlie Morton). About 25 years ago, Keith Woolner and Rany Jazayerli collaborated on research at Baseball Prospectus that helped change pitcher usage across baseball. One of the data points was that pitchers who threw at least 121 starts in one outing showed a loss in performance in their next start. Nowadays, pitchers don't do that any more, but I still keep an eye out for starters who work very deep into games, especially when they're not used to doing so. Last time out, Charlie Morton went 112 pitches, his longest outing since 2014 and just the second time in two years he'd thrown even 100 pitches. This is a straight fade of him tonight. 1.5 RWBucks.
7 p.m. Rays (Andrew Kittredge) -125 over Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez). Wander Franco's debut sees him going up a pitcher whose comeback story has hit the rocks of late. Eduardo Rodriguez has seven straight non-quality starts, with 8.55 ERA in that span. We talk about batted-ball luck, but when they're hitting .452 on balls in play against you, that's not luck, that's just getting creamed. This bet holds no matter who starts for the Rays. 1.5 RWBucks
9:40 p.m. Diamondbacks (Zac Gallen) +125 over Brewers (Freddy Peralta). The Diamondbacks were unlucky to lose 40 of 45 games, victimized by a combination of injuries and close-game luck. They'll probably be undervalued for a little while, as they're closer to a 75-win team than a 55-win one. Getting Zac Gallen as an underdog at home against a Brewers team that's nothing special is an example of recency bias in line setting. 1 RWBuck.