Bales' Best MLB Bets (8/3/20)
Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for August 3, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
Unsurprisingly, Jacob deGrom has picked up in 2020 where he left off in 2019. He’s allowed only 2 runs over 11 innings thus far. His xFIP (3.49) is up a bit but two games are far too small of a sample size to be concerned. deGrom struggled a bit in his last game against the Boston Red Sox but still only allowed two runs over six innings. His pitch count also increased from 72 to 88, suggesting he could throw in the mid-90s or 100 pitches tonight if need be.
deGrom was a similar at home and on the road last season, although his splits against right- and left-handed batters are drastic. He posted a dominant 2.77 xFIP against righties, although it jumped to 3.60 against lefties. Most importantly for the total, deGrom keeps his strikeout rate (31.7%) up with his walk (5.5%) and home run rates (0.84 HR/9) down. He makes his opponents string hits together to beat him rather than giving free bases and home runs.
The Atlanta Braves have produced as one of the best offenses in the MLB this season, as they rank second in the league with 57 runs scored. They’re due for quite a bit of regression, though, as they only rank 16th in the league in batting average, 13th in slugging percentage, and 15th in OPS. They have been significantly better at home and against right-handed pitching, but their splits from 2019 suggest that they are a similar offense regardless of who or where they play.
On paper, the Braves could cause problems for deGrom, as they’re expected to start five left-handed bats. The majority of them don’t strike fear in a pitcher, though, especially one with deGrom’s pedigree. Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are the top options, although the latter has found significantly more success against left-handed pitching throughout his career. deGrom held them to only one hit over five innings in his 2020 debut, and we could see something similar tonight, although he’s likely to go deeper into this game.
Mike Soroka has looked outstanding throughout his MLB career, including early in 2020. He’s allowed 2 earned runs over 11.1 innings. He also boasts a 3.63 xFIP through those 2 games. Similarly to deGrom, Soroka’s pitch count increased from 69 to 82, and he may also throw 90+ pitches in this game.
Soroka was slightly worse at home last season, but the gap isn’t large enough to truly matter. He was significantly worse against left-handed batters, though. His xFIP dipped from 3.35 against righties to 4.59 against lefties. Even so, Soroka has plenty of ways to get out of jams. Similarly to deGrom, he doesn’t give up walks (5.9% walk rate) or home runs (0.72 HR/9). His strikeout rate (20.3%) isn’t dominant enough to trust like deGrom's, but his elite 51.2% ground ball rate allows him to work out of jams with double plays.
The New York Mets currently rank fourth in the MLB in batting average, but only 18th in runs scored. I’d argue their due for positive regression, but it’s clear their power has been a major concern. They rank only 20th in slugging percentage, leaving them 13th in OPS. New York certainly is due for positive regression, but not as much as their batting average suggests.
The Mets have been at their best on the road against right-handed pitching, but it’s early in the season. They have scored two or fewer runs in three of their last four games, as well. As if their struggles have been bad enough, they will be without Yoenis Cespedes, who has opted out of the remainder of the season. He was also struggling from the plate but boasted some much-needed power in the offense.
We have two dominant pitchers on the mound that offer different ways of controlling their opponents’ offense. The first time this duo threw against each other, the game ended 1-0 with a solo home run being the difference. I expect both pitchers to be extended more tonight, throwing up to seven innings if they are performing well. Each bullpen has the potential to shut down their opponents, as well. It’s a low run total, but I trust the arms in this position.
Bet 1.12 units on New York Mets and Atlanta Braves under 8 runs (-112) to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 9-16 (-6.51 units)