This Saturday, we have a full slate of MLB games with all 30 teams in action, and with such a full schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to find value betting First Five Inning lines. Gerrit Cole takes the mound in the Bronx, and there’s some potential for offensive fireworks in Houston, as well as in a clash between two NL division leaders, so let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks.
Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees: under 4.5 Runs (-154)
We’ll start things off with one that should be a slam dunk, a Yankees under. Things have been pretty abysmal for the Bronx Bombers of late, and they’ve been seemingly donating season-best starts to everyone they’ve faced, from aces to minor league call-ups. Yes, things have been rough for Brady Singer of late, but he’d be far from the worst pitcher to shut down this iteration of the Yanks offense.
A big part of the value here is that there’s a pretty good chance that the Yankees would have to hit this over almost entirely on their own, because their starting pitcher for the day will be Gerrit Cole. The lifelong Yankee fan is having his best season in the Bronx thus far, and has gotten his ERA down to 2.78 after his most recent start.
He’s facing a 29th-ranked Royals offense in terms of runs per game, so it’s safe to say that he should be in line for a strong outing, particularly through the first five innings. I like the value here after Friday’s game was a bit higher-scoring, perhaps swinging perception heading into Saturday
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers: Rangers ML (+114)
Due to the Dodgers’ overall track record and general brand recognition, we are given a great chance to bet plus odds on a hot team with a starting pitching advantage in their home ballpark. That would be the Texas Rangers, who are starting Dane Dunning, who is in the midst of an excellent season with an ERA of 2.82 and a really strong walk rate. The team overall is in great shape as they sit atop the AL West with an increasingly comfortable lead, and have the game’s best offense.
They’ll be going up against Bobby Miller, a 6’5 rookie righty who came on strong in May but has faltered a bit as the season has gone on. He’s shown a lot of promise, with a fastball that routinely goes into triple digits, but he hasn’t quite put it all together to limit opponents consistently. This definitely isn’t an indictment on Miller, who I believe could be a great contributor going forward, but this is a really tough spot for him. He could also throw very well and LA would still have a fair chance of losing if Dunning turns in a gem, so I’m backing Texas in the portion of the game that should feature these two arms..
San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals: under 4.5 Runs (-113)
A matchup between a team in the heat of a division race and one that has been out for months might not seem like a must-watch showdown on the surface, but I see some really strong value in this one. 4.5 runs is not a huge number, but with two great arms on the mound without a truly elite offense on either side (San Francisco is 13th in runs per game while Washington is 23rd), this is a great under opportunity.
For the Nationals, it’s newly-minted All Star Josiah Gray, who has been really impressive this year, especially in terms of limiting quality of contact. The Giants are tossing master of control Logan Webb, who is turning in another truly great season; he’s tossing an ERA just over 3.00 and a WHIP just over 1.000 despite the biggest workload in the majors.
Both guys are really strong in innings 1-3 with ERAs under 3.00, while Webb is still great in 4-6 but Gray falters a bit. I think both have a great chance to have a great start on Saturday and keep this one low-scoring early on.
Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers: over 5.5 Runs (+100)
This matchup between the two teams that have occupied Milwaukee, which is fittingly taking place in Milwaukee, has the chance to feature quite a few runs, creating a great opportunity for both entertainment and overs betting. The Brewers are starting Adrian Houser on the mound, and he’s had a good year, but has been really rough in innings 1-3 with an ERA of 6.00.
Even without taking Houser’s track record into consideration, he’s facing one of the best lineups in the game- the second-best in the sport in terms of runs scored per game. On the other side of things, the Braves have not actually listed a starter yet, so they could be scrambling to figure out arms for this matchup against a Milwaukee offense that has been best early in games. Suffice it to say, it’s fair to imagine that there could be some runs in the first five innings of this one.