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It has been a very long second week in the MLB season with things changing on a daily basis. As we enter the weekend we have six teams out of action, but that still leaves us plenty of betting opportunities on the 8/1 slate. Entering the second weekend of the season we have seen 104 MLB games take place and so far we have seen a slight shade towards the under (55 games under, 47 over, 2 pushed) when it comes to runs scored.

 

In terms of individual teams, we are seeing some clear trends emerging. The Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels have seen the most games go over (75%). On the other end of the spectrum are the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers who have just 12.5% of their games hit the over. In terms of winning the game, as you might expect the favorites are winning more often than they are losing (62-42). However, there has still been plenty of value to find in some underdogs, especially the Colorado Rockies, who have gone 4-1 as underdogs this season.

 

8/1 Best Bets

 

Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics: Mariners ML (+135) & Athletics under 5.5 runs (-118)

 

The Seattle Mariners have been the surprise package of the 2020 MLB season to this point. After struggling out of the gate, scoring just four runs through their first two games and going 1-4  through five games, they have bounced back in a big way, winning their last three games and averaging 7.67 runs per game in those last three. Saturday sees them face off with the Oakland Athletics, who are 3-4, but have lost their last three games by an average of 3.67 runs per game.

 

Mike Fiers will take to the mound for the Athletics, having struggled in his first start, allowing seven hits and four earned runs to the Los Angeles Angels. Fiers will face a tough matchup Saturday, with the Mariners ranking 10th in the league when it comes to runs scored and have scored five or more runs in four of their last five, including last night against the Athletics. The Mariners are performing well against right-handed pitching this season, with a batting average that ranks second in the league and a slugging percentage that is good enough for eighth. Fiers should be able to get back to striking hitters out after registering a zero in that column last Sunday. However, the Mariners should still be able to rack up some hits and put runs on the board.

 

MLB betting 8/1

Image courtesy of Fangraphs

 

On the mound for the Athletics is Yusei Kikuchi, who had a rough outing first time on the mound this season. However, Kikuchi will not be the last pitcher this season that has a bad day against the Astros. This spot against the Athletics should be a perfect bounce-back opportunity, especially given the Athletics struggles at the plate this season. Through their first seven games, the Athletics rank 26th in average runs scored per game, having scored five or more runs just twice this season. Kikuchi is a dangerous pitcher to back, but the way the Athletics bats are playing through the first week there is good value on the under on a team total that is inflated at 5.5.

 

Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals: White Sox ML (-134)

 

The AL Central has been a strange division in the first week of the MLB season, with three teams sitting at five wins and two at three wins. This matchup sees the two three-win teams go head-to-head as the White Sox take on the Royals in Kansas City in Game 2 of a three-game series.

 

In terms of pitchers, this is an interesting matchup, with Gio Gonzalez being hit hard by the impressive Minnesota Twins offense first time out, and Ronald Bolaños having taken the loss in his first start this season against the Cleveland Indians. The problem in this match for the Royals is going to lie in the depth of their pitching. Bolaños managed just two innings in his first outing and is unlikely to go much deeper into this one. The Royals bullpen has been somewhat taxed over the last few days. They had to combine for five innings on Friday, having thrown four Thursday, three Wednesday, and six Tuesday. The Royals bullpen has already thrown 39 2/3 innings this season, the second-most in the majors, at an average of just under five innings per game. So far they have performed well, but the almost non-stop work is going to make it tough for them to keep succeeding.

 

MLB betting 8/1

Image courtesy of Fangraphs

 

As for the White Sox, they have performed almost exactly as you might expect this season. They are 3-4, having gone 1-4 as underdogs, but are a perfect 2-0 in games where they are favorites, including yesterday against the Royals. Gonzalez’s rough first outing may lead people to believe he is vulnerable, but he is coming off a season in Milwaukee where he posted a 3.50 ERA and is a pitcher that the White Sox can rely on. This is a game where the White Sox bats have the opportunity for success while relying on Gonzalez to give them a solid bounce-back outing.

 

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New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves: Over 10 total runs (-115), Braves over 5.5 (+115), Mets Over 4.5 (+-124)

 

Friday’s matchup between the Mets and Braves in Atlanta was a fun shootout, which saw both teams post double-digits in the runs column. Saturday’s matchup has the potential to see a similar slugfest happen all over again. Both teams bats have been hot lately, with the Mets averaging 6.4 runs per game in their last five and the Braves at 5.6 in their last five. In a similar vein, the Braves have hosted three games this year, with double-digits having been scored in two of the three.

 

Michael Wacha is on the mound for the Mets, having beaten the Red Sox in his first start. However, the Red Sox were able to have some success against Wacha, registering five hits, but simply failing to capitalize, as Wacha registered a 100% Left on Base percentage in that game. With a career LOB% of just under 80% chances are we see that rate bounce-back a little in this game. In a similar vein, Wacha only walked one-hitter, which for a player who averages 3.11 BB/9 in his career is another number we should see regress to the mean.

Touki Toussaint will be on the mound for the Braves, having given up six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings in his first outing in Tampa Bay. While it is unrealistic to expect a performance that bad again, he does have a MLB career ERA of 5.52 so even a bounce-back could still see him allowing three or four runs. That is especially a concern given the way the Mets offense has come out of the gate, ranking second in batting average and seventh in OBP, and Touissant allowing 30% of his base runners to score so far in his major league career.

 

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