Free MLB Picks and Parlays – Thursday, August 23rd, 2018
MLB Picks and Parlays
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San Diego's Hunter Renfroe has been hot of late, and he's destroyed lefties over his young career
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Thursday, August 23rd. Unfortunately for us, the normally-steady Carlos Carrasco got tagged for five earned runs in Boston on Wednesday, leading to a 10-4 Red Sox win and a loss for us in our picks column.
We’re going to try to bounce back by betting against a familiar face on Thursday. We’ve been fading Colorado’s Kyle Freeland for a while now, and while it hasn't been great so far, the odds have never been better after his run of recent success. Let’s get right into it.
San Diego Padres (Lucchesi) at Colorado Rockies (Freeland)
Colorado starter Kyle Freeland is testing our patience. We’re certain that the bookmakers have been overrating his talent for over a month now, and we’ve bet against him in six of his last seven starts. Unfortunately, that has coincided with one of the best string of performances in his young career, and we’ve gone 1-5 in those bets.
While some would start to shy away, we’re doubling down - the value in betting against Freeland has only gotten better in our eyes. His preposterously good 2.96 ERA over 25 starts is making Freeland look like a ace, but a glance at the peripheral stats suggests otherwise - he’s only made marginal improvements to his mediocre strikeout and walk rates.
It’s abundantly clear to us that Freeland has just gotten lucky this season. His left-on-base percentage is in the top 10 of qualified starters, despite having the second-lowest K% of the group. He’s allowing only .83 home runs per nine innings, a rate that is already unsustainable before considering that he plays half his games at Coors Field.
While he’s not making headlines in the playoff race like Freeland, we think the other 25 year-old lefty taking the mound on Thursday is the far better bet moving forward.
The Padres’ Joey Lucchesi made his debut this season, and he has performed very well over his first 19 career big-league starts. His strikeout rate is about 5% higher than Freeland’s while maintaining a nearly-identical walk rate. His main issue has been the dingers - he’s allowing over twice the rate of homers per fly ball than Freeland is, despite often pitching in homer-suppressing Petco Park.
We predict that Lucchesi starts allowing fewer homers, and Freeland starts allowing a lot more. We're betting that begins in Colorado on Thursday.
Neither of these teams are offensive juggernauts, and that’s what makes the moneyline being offered so appealing. The Padres are known for having a weak offense, but they actually rank one spot higher than the Rockies in wRC+ (26th to Colorado’s 27th). The Rockies do perform better against lefties, but so do the Padres, and the separation is still not very significant.
San Diego’s Hunter Renfroe is finally delivering on the potential that made him the #13 overall pick in the 2013 draft- his performance at the plate was part of the impetus for moving Wil Myers to third base. He also has drastically better numbers against lefties over his career - his career 149 wRC+ against southpaws is identical to Freddie Freeman’s overall figure this season, and Freeman is an MVP candidate. Look for Renfroe to do some damage against the lefty Freeland on Wednesday.
Given how much more we like Lucchesi than Freeland, the odds being offered on Thursday’s matchup wouldn’t even make sense even if the Rockies had the best offense in baseball. The fact that they’re among the league’s worst makes it an absolute steal: San Diego +145 at BetOnline is one of our favorite lines of the season, and we’re making it our free pick of the day.
That’ll do it for Thursday. If you’re like us, you’ll be participating in a few fantasy football drafts in the next couple weeks - be sure to check out our Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet to help you find the most accurate rankings on the web.
If you’re looking for a new place to bet on sports, we strongly recommend checking out our approved sportsbooks list before you make your first deposit.
Best of luck out there, and let’s get the win!
Bet the Padres +145
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