Bales' Best MLB Bet (9/16/20)
Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for September 16, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
Kyle Gibson has looked awful in 2020, allowing 36 runs (33 earned runs) over 48.1 innings in 9 starts. He’s due for positive regression, though, as his 6.14 ERA is significantly worse than his 4.55 xFIP and 4.86 SIERA. Gibson’s metrics look similar to the last two seasons, though, and he boasted 3.91 and 3.80 xFIPs in those seasons.
His strikeout rate is a down a bit this season, as it sits at 18.4%. He also owns a 9.0 swinging-strike rate, although that could creep up slightly as he throws more innings. Most importantly, Gibson still owns a 51.9% ground ball rate and I expect his 2.05 HR/9 to drop with more innings.
Gibson has looked outstanding against right-handed batters this season, as his xFIP dips to 4.00 against them. His xFIP also drops to 4.21 on the road in 2020. Gibson saw similar splits for each of the last two seasons, as well, and he gets a near-ideal matchup against the Houston Astros tonight.
Houston ranks last in the MLB in team batting average and wOBA and 29th in slugging percentage over the last 10 days. They’re averaging only 3.0 runs per game in those contests while recording a 3-6 record.
The Astros have featured a significantly better offense in Houston, where they are hitting for a .251 average with a .431 slugging percentage and a .763 OPS this season. They have been slightly worse against right-handed pitching, though, owning a .245/.411/.730 line. Most importantly, Houston is a team that features a number of right-handed batters, giving a slight edge to Gibson tonight.
Lance McCullers Jr. is in a similar position to Gibson tonight. He’s allowed 25 runs (24 earned runs) over 37.1 innings in 8 starts. He owns a 4.37 xFIP and a 4.51 SIERA to go along with his 5.79 ERA, though. This has also been McCullers’ worst season in the Majors.
His strikeout and swinging-strike rates have dipped to 19.6% and 10.7% this season. He also owns a 62% ground ball rate, although he has held his opponents to a 0.96 HR/9. McCullers has allowed 41.8% hard-hit and 10% barrel rates in 2020.
He has been dominant at home this season, recording a 2.90 xFIP. McCullers has also been at his best in Houston throughout his career. He features similar splits against either handedness but there is the question of how long he will be able to throw in this game as he’s returning from a neck injury.
The Texas Rangers are another struggling offense, ranking 24th in the MLB in team batting average, 19th in slugging percentage, and 22nd in wOBA over the last 10 games. They’re averaging 4.2 runs per game over that span, recording a 4-6 record in those games.
The Rangers haven’t been great on the road, where they are only hitting for a .210 average with a .364 slugging percentage and a .638 OPS. They also only own a .210/.352/.641 line against right-handed pitching. The Rangers have been better in recent games, though, and that success could continue tonight.
Neither team has a great bullpen, giving an edge to the offenses in this game. Essentially, McCullers and Gibson matchup relatively similarly overall, although the former gets the edge at home. With that being said, Texas has featured a better offense recently. Overall, this line is a bit wide for who’s throwing and how each team has been playing.
Bet 0.5 units on Texas Rangers ML (+200) to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 29-42 (-10.84 units)