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The Rockies' Kyle Freeland has been fortunate to have a 3.13 ERA in 2018
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Wednesday, August 1st. Tuesday was ideal: Charlie Morton and the Astros shut down the Mariners for a 5-2 win, and better yet, we crushed the closing line (-156) with the overnight line we grabbed (-132).
With the way we’re beating closers right now, you might want to check out our picks as early as possible - these will generally be posted shortly after the previous night’s games end, at the latest. Just a heads up.
As for Wednesday, we absolutely love the line being offered in the Rockies-Cardinals matchup. We’ve been watching it all day, and we’re actually shocked that it hasn’t moved much from the opening line… so far. Let’s get right into it.
Colorado Rockies (Freeland) at St. Louis Cardinals (Weaver)
We bet against Rockies starter Kyle Freeland twice in July, and we’ll be continuing to do so as long as the lines are this favorable. Freeland is the perfect target to fade, because he’s been out-performing his actual talent since his big-league debut in 2017.
A pitcher’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is a good indicator of a pitcher’s true ability, and Freeland’s is not good. Despite significant improvements to both his strikeout and walk rate from his 2017 marks, he still only ranks 59th in K/BB% amongst the 79 qualified starting pitchers this year. This is why his career xFIP of 4.56 is so mediocre - pitchers who can’t get swings-and-misses are not expected to have a lot of big league success.
Freeland’s career ERA of 3.66 tells a different story, and that’s because he’s getting lucky in many of the areas a pitcher can’t fully control. His career left-on-base percentage of 77.7% is unsustainably high - rates like that are typically reserved for only the most elite pitchers in the game. All of the projection systems see that number coming down to 70% or so, which would result in far more runs crossing the plate against Freeland. He’s also expected to see his homer rate and BABIP increase - there are a lot of red flags here.
A huge correction to Freeland’s career ERA could be happening soon, and the general public’s opinion of the young Colorado lefty will sour as a result. We want to make sure to profit off of the skewed lines before that happens.
Cardinals righty Luke Weaver has had the opposite kind of luck in his short career so far. Weaver’s sporting a solid 3.71 xFIP for his career to go along with a very promising 3.14 K/BB ratio, but his career ERA has been jacked up to 4.64 due to some bad luck. While Freeland is exactly the type of pitcher we like to bet against, Weaver is exactly the kind of pitcher we like to bet on - he should see improved results going forward.
For Wednesday’s lines to make any sense, the Rockies would have to be sporting a far superior lineup, and that’s not the case. The Cardinals have been dead-average offensively this season (15th in wRC+), but Colorado has been among the least productive offenses in baseball (25th in wRC+). St. Louis even hits better against lefties like Freeland, where they rank 10th overall. Marcell Ozuna has had a rough debut season for the Cards (93 wRC+ in 430 PAs), but he’s faring much better against lefties (122 wRC+). Look for him to do damage against Freeland on Wednesday.
The moneylines being offered across our top rated sportsbooks represent an absolute steal when considering the advantage the Luke Weaver and the Cardinals hold in their matchup with Freeland and the Rockies. St. Louis -125 at Bovada is one of our favorite lines we’ve seen of late, so we’re grabbing it as our pick of the day for Wednesday.
That'll do it for today, folks. If you're unsure about Bovada, the sportsbook we featured in today's pick, be sure to check out our review before heading over there.
Good luck everybody, and let's get a win!
Bet the Cardinals -125
Bovada has the BEST ODDS on this matchup! Deposit Bonus: 50% up to $250