Bales' Best MLB Bet (9/21/20)
Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for September 21, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
Dane Dunning has thrown at an extremely high level in his rookie season. He’s allowed only 8 runs (7 earned runs) over 27 innings through 5 starts. Dunning is due for some regression, as his 2.33 ERA sits well above his 3.86 xFIP and his 4.08 SIERA. Dunning has also gotten a bit lucky in recent games, posting 4.95, 4.29, and 5.69 xFIPs in his last 3 starts.
He comes with strikeout and ground ball potential, recording 25.9%, 13.3%, and 44.9% strikeout, swinging-strike, and ground ball rates, respectively. His biggest struggles have come through an 8.3% walk rate and a 33.3% fly ball rate.
Dunning has limited innings in the MLB but he has been significantly worse on the road. Throughout only 10.2 road innings, his xFIP has ballooned to 4.90. He has also given up a 5.16 xFIP to left-handed batters while finding plenty of success against righties in 2020. Dunning has also looked elite the first time through the lineup, although his xFIP jumps to 4.82 and 5.85 the second and third time through the lineup.
He gets a matchup against the Cleveland Indians, who rank 16th in the MLB in team batting average, 17th in slugging percentage, and 21st in wOBA. They’re averaging 4.1 runs per game in those contests, although they are coming off of a 3-1 series against the Detroit Tigers.
Cleveland has seen mixed results at home this season, where they are hitting for a .234 average with a .353 slugging percentage and a .672 OPS. They have also recorded a .227/.365/.686 line against right-handed pitching this season. One of the key factors in this game is that Cleveland is expected to utilize seven left-handed batters in their lineup tonight.
Aaron Civale has been enjoying a solid season, allowing 27 earned runs over 64 innings. His 3.80 ERA is backed by a 3.74 xFIP and a 4.00 SIERA through 10 starts.
Civale enters this game with 22.5% strikeout and 10.7% swinging-strike rates. He also boasts a 45.5% ground ball rate in 2020. Civale’s 5% walk rate has helped him control the game, as well, consistently getting ahead in the count against his opponents.
He has looked elite at home this season, where his xFIP dips to 3.08 through 24 innings. He’s also due for quite a bit of regression against right-handed batters, as he boasts a 3.37 xFIP against them even though they have found more success against him than lefties thus far. Civale has also proven he can throw deep into games, as his xFIP sits at 4.36 or lower for his first three times through the order.
He gets a tough matchup against the Chicago White Sox, who rank 10th in the MLB in team batting average, eighth in slugging percentage, and seventh in wOBA over the last 10 days. They’re averaging 4.6 runs per game over that span.
The White Sox have been slightly worse on the road, where they own a .268 average with a .453 slugging percentage and a .782 OPS. They have also been significantly worse against right-handed pitching, although they still boast a .261/.444/.764 line against righties on the season. Chicago is also expected to use six right-handed batters tonight, giving the edge to Civale once again.
Since the start of September, the Chicago and Cleveland bullpens have been polar opposites, ranking fourth and 25th in the MLB in bullpen ERA. Their xFIPs suggest they’ve been closer than their ERAs show, though, as they rank ninth and 15th in the MLB in xFIP over that span.
One of the key factors in this game is the playoffs. Chicago clinched the playoffs a few games ago, losing their first series after clinching. Meanwhile, Cleveland has yet to clinch and is likely playing for a wildcard spot with Chicago and the Minnesota Twins taking the top two slots for the division. The White Sox certainly need to continue winning to outright win the division but the Indians are playing for significantly more at the moment.
Bet 1.15 units on Cleveland Indians ML (-115) to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 31-45 (-11.42 units)