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Clay Buchholz has had a decent start to his 2018 campaign, but his track record is spotty to say the least
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Saturday, August 4th. The Pirates’ Chris Archer didn’t fare quite as we thought we would on Friday, but he narrowly out-pitched the Cardinals’ John Gant in a 7-6 Pirates win. We picked up a fourth straight win in the process - nothing else to do now but keep it rolling.
We’ve bet on five Diamondbacks-Giants games so far this season, and we’ve taken Arizona each time (for a 3-2 record), but we’re ready to mix it up. Even with the Giants taking 8 out of 14from the D’Backs so far, Arizona’s being overrated by the books on Saturday. Let’s get into the reasons why.
San Francisco Giants (Suarez) at Arizona Diamondbacks (Buchholz)
Arizona starter Clay Buchholz has had a strange career - he’s seen very high moments, like throwing a no-hitter in his second career big-league start for the Red Sox, or his very solid seasons for the Sox in 2010, 2013, and 2015. However, it’s been a long career for Buchholz at this point, and he’s been more bad than good of late.
He’s started nine times this year, and eight of those outings were good ones - but it seems like the sportsbooks and the general public might be overrating him based on that small sample size. His xFIP of 4.03 is much less impressive, and his left-on-base rate is unsustainably high at over 80 percent. He’s never had an exceptionally high strikeout rate in the majors - any decline from his current rate would start to mean trouble for Buchholz. In 2016, his last full season, his ERA was 4.78 - that's the kind of pitcher we expect to see going forward.
While the Giants’ Andrew Suarez hasn’t been making headlines, the rookie lefty has been quietly effective in his first 18 big league starts. His 4.11 ERA has probably kept him under the radar from the average fan, but his 3.51 xFIP makes him an intriguing pitcher. He’s got very similar stats to the 2018 version of Buchholz, without the same type of luck - or statistical baggage - that Buchholz has.
The oddsmakers clearly believe Buchholz is the better pitcher right now - we do not. We’re going to trust the larger sample size of his career, and trust that the rookie Suarez won’t fall off all of the sudden.
As for the offensive matchup, the Giants have been the better team by wRC+, although neither has been great. The Giants are currently missing Brandon Belt, but McCutchen, Posey and Longoria still form a strong trio at the top of the order. The Diamondbacks do have the best hitter in the matchup in Paul Goldschmidt, and A.J. Pollock and David Peralta are solid sidekicks, but they don’t have much else that scares you - their deadline acquisition of Eduardo Escobar was a move out of need, rather than luxury - he doesn’t figure to be a high-impact bat going forward.
Take it from a guy who bet on the Diamondbacks to win the NL West - which still has a chance of happening, by the way - the offense has been more of a problem than a solution for the Snakes this season.
With a sneakily-large advantage in the pitching matchup, the Giants as a +125 underdog at BetOnline is going to be our free MLB pick of the day. In what is a pretty even offensive matchup, we love that value considering Buchholz’ spotty history.
That’ll do it for Saturday - enjoy your weekend folks. If you’re looking for a new sportsbook to bet with, look no further - we’ve got a list of the best online sportsbooks for US customers, approved and rated by none other than ourselves here at LazyBets.
We’ll be back tomorrow - see you there. Until then, let’s get a win!
Bet the Giants +125
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