MLB Betting Guide for Wednesday 5/31/23: 3 Totals Worth a Second Look
Betting on baseball can be a grind that reaps an enormous reward.
Day-to-day outlooks can be vastly different due to starting pitchers, and a wealth of advanced stats can let us know an individual pitcher, a bullpen, or a team is due to positive -- or negative -- regression.
Which MLB lines from FanDuel Sportsbook are most appealing today?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All stats come from FanGraphs unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.
Over 9.0 (+100)
We know Wrigley Field is sensitive to wind, so the crosswind with warm temperatures will have to suffice as a stalemate for today's conditions. I still think these surprise 2023 offenses can get after today's starters -- both of whom are pretty solid.
Of course, Tampa Bay's offensive onslaught has really only paused once they hit Chicago. They've scored one run in two games. However, this is still a bunch in a growing sample with the best wRC+ in baseball against lefties. Southpaw Justin Steele isn't a slouch, but an elevated 4.06 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) concerns me a bit. He's also been tremendously fortunate to amass just a 3.1% HR/FB ratio.
As for the Cubs, I'm not expecting them to carry the offensive load, but a 100 wRC+ against righties isn't awful set to face Zach Eflin. However, Eflin has had some issues with the long ball (1.33 HR/9 allowed), and I'm thinking bigger picture with the Rays' pitching staff today. Their bullpen is dreadful, amassing the second-highest xFIP (4.79) in baseball to this point.
There's enough volatility here to take a modest number for two of the best offenses -- Tampa being the best -- in the league thus far.
Under 8.0 (-104)
I continue to try to attack what's an unknown narrative. The Astros just aren't hitting righties like they did last year.
Houston has a .699 OPS in the split, which is the ninth-worst in baseball. Today, they'll be tasked to deal with Minnesota's Louie Varland in what has become a bit of a breakout campaign for the sophomore. Varland's 3.80 SIERA is much better than his ERA (4.24) would indicate, and he's generating a ton of whiffs (12.3% swinging-strike rate). That's top-of-the-rotation stuff.
However, the 'Stros will counter with a solid one in their own right. Rookie Hunter Brown has lived up to his billing with a 3.12 ERA and 3.34 SIERA, and to this point, he's amassed a higher rate of punchouts than Louie (28.1%). His matchup with the Twins (.732 OPS versus righties) is a bit tougher, but their OPS has dropped to .661 in this split on the road this year.
With two solid pitchers facing struggling offenses in these exact splits, I think we can turn to this contrarian under. Just 37% of tickets are trusting the youngsters.
Over 10.0 (-104)
No, I didn't get the team names backward. This isn't at Coors Field. It's still well worth the double-digit total it has. We could see some ugly pitching in Arizona tonight.
The Diamondbacks will send Tommy Henry to the mound, and he's arguably their weakest starter. Henry's 4.50 ERA is fibbing, per a 5.87 SIERA, and he's got a minuscule strikeout rate (12.8%) with an elevated number of free passes (9.8% walk rate). A 48.1% flyball rate is also playing with fire.
As for the Rockies, it'll be the return of Dinelson Lamet, but he's badly tailed off since a 2020 bid at the Cy Young Award. Lamet's 12.66 ERA isn't exactly debunked by a 5.83 SIERA, and he had an astoundingly high 21.3% walk rate before exiting the rotation with an injury. Plus, Colorado's bullpen xFIP (4.45; eighth-worst in MLB) is fading quickly as Coors Field takes its season-long toll.
Just one of these poor hurlers would need to get shelled to begin flirting with this lofty total at one of baseball's better parks for hitters.