Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for August 28, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
The San Diego Padres will be taking one of the hottest offenses in the MLB to the most hitter-friendly stadium in the MLB. They face off against the Colorado Rockies tonight.
Zach Davies has thrown well in 2020, allowing only 13 runs (12 earned runs) over 35.2 innings. He’s due for a bit of regression on his 3.03 ERA, although he owns a respectable 4.13 xFIP and a 4.11 SIERA. Davies has seen his strikeout rate increase to 23% on the season while his swinging-strike rate has jumped to 9.7%. The biggest concerns entering this game are his 41.5% fly ball and 10.3% barrel rates. With that being said, he has his lowest exit velocity (87.1 MPH) since 2017 to go along with a 33% hard-hit rate.
Davies was significantly better on the road in 2019, but that is likely due to the fact that he threw in the Milwaukee Brewers hitter-friendly stadium at home. His biggest struggles have come against left-handed batters, as his 2019 xFIP against right-handed batters was over a full run better. His ability to limit his opponent’s home runs even with his ridiculous fly ball rate has been astounding over the last two seasons. There are flaws with Davies, but he could find success in this matchup if he can control the power of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado.
The Colorado Rockies have been struggling in recent games, ranking 20th in the MLB in team batting average and 18th in slugging percentage over the last 10 days. They’re averaging only 4.2 runs per game over that span. With that being said, Colorado played only two games at home over that span.
On the season, they are hitting for a .307 average with a .515 slugging percentage and a .870 OPS in Colorado. They averaging a ridiculous 6.4 runs per game at home. The Rockies have struggled against right-handed pitching, though, posting a .252/.421/.741 line against righties in 2020. The Coors boost is something that San Diego will benefit from, as well, though, as Colorado’s team ERA jumped from 3.17 on the road to 6.13 at home this season.
Kyle Freeland changed his pitch mix in 2020 and the results thus far have been phenomenal. He’s allowed only 12 earned runs over 37.2 innings. Similarly to Davies, he’s due for some regression, as his 2.87 ERA doesn’t match his 3.89 xFIP or 4.36 SIERA but his advanced metrics suggest he’s throwing at an extremely high level. Freeland doesn’t possess elite strikeout stuff but he does own a 59.4% ground ball rate in 2020. Most surprisingly, Freeland owns a 1.8% barrel rate after posting an 8.2% in 2019. I don’t expect his success to continue at this high of a level for much longer.
Freeland was at his worst in Colorado last season. He posted a 5.32 xFIP at home to go along with a 5.38 xFIP against right-handed batters. He did find plenty of success against left-handed batters, though, and that has continued into 2020. Freeland’s 4.24 home xFIP against right-handed batters in 2020 seems relatively unsustainable, though, especially after his 2019 struggles.
San Diego has featured one of the hottest offenses in the MLB over the last 10 days. They rank third in the league in team batting average and second in slugging percentage over that span. The Padres are averaging 6.4 runs per game over that span. If you add their last game before the 10 day cut off, they’re averaging 7.2 runs per game, as well.
San Diego has struggled on the road this season, posting a .237 average with a .420 slugging percentage and a .737 OPS. They own a .245/.447/.770 line against left-handed pitching in 2020, as well. With that being said, their success is likely to travel to Colorado. It’s the most hitter-friendly stadium in the MLB, although I do worry about them adjusting for the first game in the series.
The Padres and Rockies bullpen struggles have been similar this season, as they rank 26th and 25th in the MLB in ERA thus far. There is a slightly larger discrepancy in xFIP, though, as San Diego ranks 20th while Colorado ranks 25th in that category. Regardless, the bullpens are similar, although if I would expect one to find more success as the season progresses, it would be the Padres.
This is a bet on the San Diego offense. I don’t expect Davies to shut down Colorado in Coors tonight. But I expect Freeland to regress against arguably the best offense in baseball.
Bet 1.1 unit on the San Diego Padres ML (-110) to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 21-30 (-9.1 units)