Free MLB Picks – July 28, 2018

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The Mariners' Felix Hernandez isn't the King any longer, but he'll be the better starting pitcher in his matchup against the Angels on Saturday.

Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Saturday, July 28th.  The Angels’ Kohl Calhoun walked it off against the Mariners on Friday night, giving the Angels their second straight victory against the Mariners and our second straight win betting on the Halos.  We said recently that we thought Calhoun had more in the tank than he’s shown so far in 2018 - we’re glad he waited for us to bet on him before crossing the Mendoza line.  

For Saturday’s pick, we’re doing something that we haven’t done all season, and probably won’t again - we’re taking opposite teams in back to back games of a series.   Our opinions don't typically fluctuate with the oddsmakers’ this much, but as much as we loved the value in betting on the Angels the last two days, we can’t resist taking the value in betting against them on Saturday.  Let’s get into it.

Seattle Mariners (Hernandez) at Los Angeles Angels (Barria)

Game Time: 9:07 PM EST

Where to Watch:  MLB.tv

Run Line: Mariners +1.5 (-180)

Moneyline: Mariners +120

Bet the Mariners +120

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Mariners Angels Pick

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Felix Hernandez is not the pitcher he used to be.  Having said that, his 5.14 ERA in 2018 is misleading - he’s not totally out of gas at the age of 32.  He’s a mediocre pitcher with a fastball averaging under 90 mph, but he’s decent enough in each individual category to post an ERA closer to his current FIP (4.42).  

If he can get a little luckier with guys on base and keep the ball in the ballpark a little more often (as the projections say he should), he should be able to post some quality innings for a team that sorely needs it - the rest of the rotation has been overachieving, James Paxton remains on the DL, and the A’s are challenging their spot in the postseason.  

Anyway, the artist previously known as King Felix is not the reason we’re betting on the Mariners on Saturday.  We’ve been betting on the Angels frequently of late, but we’ve been  avoiding the games where Jaime Barria pitches for a reason - we feel that the odds being offered at our top rated sportsbooks are severely overrating his first 14 starts in the majors.  

When looking at his peripheral stats, Barria’s 3.80 ERA seems very likely to blow up in the near future.  While Hernandez is a shell of his former flame-throwing self, he still averages nearly a full strikeout more per nine innings than Barria.  Barria is far more prone to the long ball as well - Steamer projects his already-high 1.52 HR/9 to keep getting higher.  

It doesn’t stop there for Barria - his left-on-base percentage is over 10% higher than it’s projected to be, and that’s out of whack with his relatively low ground ball rate.  Barria is only 22 years old and may be able to correct some of these issues in the future, but the chickens are going to come home to roost in his rookie season, and we’re betting it happens soon.

We’re not going to walk back our comments from yesterday on the offensive matchup - we think the Angels are the superior offensive club, despite the two teams having nearly-even production thus far.  However, it's not nearly wide enough of a gap in talent to explain the line being offered on Saturday.

With such a huge advantage in the pitching matchup, there’s no way the Mariners should be a +120 underdog at BetOnline.    That’s value if we’ve ever seen it, so we’re grabbing it and reversing course on our recent string of bets on the Angels.  Jaime Barria is a prime target for regression, and we’re hoping it starts on Saturday.

That’ll do it for today folks, we hope you enjoy your weekend.  If you’re looking for a new place to place some bets, we recommend checking out our Approved Sportsbook List - there are plenty of options with a variety of bonuses that are well worth your time.

We’ll see you back here tomorrow - good luck to all you degenerates out there.  Let’s get a win.

Bet the Mariners +120

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