Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for July 31, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
Dallas Keuchel threw well in his first start of the season, allowing 2 runs over 5.1 innings. He threw his sinker significantly less while throwing his changeup nearly 20% more than last season. It’s unknown if Keuchel will continue this, but that was likely more of a matchup strategy, as he never threw his changeup more than 15.3% of the time in a season throughout his career.
His pitch mix has helped limit his opponents’ home run potential. Keuchel owns a career 58.9% ground ball rate with it sitting at 60.1% last season. He isn’t an overly impressive pitcher in terms of strikeouts but utilizes the ground balls for double plays to get him out of any early trouble.
Keuchel ended last year as an outstanding option, posting a 3.92 xFIP over the second half of the season. He also looked elite the first time through the order, recording a 3.42 xFIP in that situation. The only major concern in this game is that the Kansas City Royals will utilize a number of right-handed bats, and Keuchel is significantly better against lefties.
The Royals offense was originally undervalued after scoring only five runs in three games against the Cleveland Indians. They are now overvalued a bit after scoring 26 runs in 4 games against the Detroit Tigers. Their offense likely lies somewhere in the middle, but it isn’t one of the more overpowering or concerning offenses for opposing pitchers in the MLB.
While I believe Keuchel has the ability to limit the Kansas City offense, this play is more about the White Sox bats than anything. Chicago ranks fifth in the MLB in batting average, but 14th in runs scored. They’re leaving runs on the field, but have found success against the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians pitching. It’s time to buy low on what is one of the highest upside offenses in the MLB.
Kris Bubic will be taking the mound for Kansas City. He has yet to throw at a high level than High-A ball. His xFIP in rookie ball sat at 4.23 in 2018 but dropped to 3.06 in High-A. He’s one of Kansas City’s top prospects but wasn’t expected to reach the Majors until 2021. Many believe that his strikeouts will dip at the MLB level, as they did once he moved to High-A. Bubic also struggled with walks as a rookie, but seemingly fixed that in 2019.
The most concerning issue for Bubic is that he allowed a 42.4% fly-ball rate in High-A. He throwing in a pitcher-friendly park (in the minors and will in the Majors) so it may not hurt him as much as others, but it’s concerning against a powerful offense such as the White Sox.
Chicago is expected to start nine batters that can hit from the right side of the plate, giving them an edge over the rookie lefty. The White Sox have a number of powerful bats that could find success in this matchup, and Bubic is likely to struggle after skipping Double- and Triple-A in favor of the MLB. The White Sox are due for positive run regression, and I’m expecting it to come in their game today.
Bet 1.08 units on Chicago White Sox F5 -0.5 run line (-108) to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 7-14 (-6.33 units)