Welcome back to Friday Night Lines, your weekly home for casual baseball bettors or even baseball fans just enjoy making picks for fun. Many of you have gone through a long week at work and now it’s time to kick back with some of America’s pastime on a Friday night with a beverage of your choosing.
After a rough start, I’ve gone 10-8 and we’re on the prowl here. As a good friend of mine noted to me via text last Friday night, we need to keep in mind here I’m mostly gambling underdog odds, too, which means the returns are much better than even. My SportsLine profile shows +330 for example. Let’s build on last week’s 2-1 showing and this time around we’ve got one that might look a bit crazy, until I explain why it’s not.
Full disclosure: I originally had the Red Sox over the Yankees at +105 on the moneyline, but backed off after seeing just how much the Yankees have owned the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium. Let’s hope that was a save instead of a “don’t back off of your gut feeling!” move.
Season record: 12-12 (2-1 last week)
All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.
And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends.
Pitching matchup: Julio Urías (7-2, 3.61 ERA) vs. Ian Anderson (4-2, 3.27 ERA)
Featured Game | Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s an NLCS rematch and that’s fun. What a series that was. The Braves win the first two. The Dodgers win Game 3 on the strength of an 11-run first. The Braves storm back to win Game 4 and take a commanding lead, only to have the Dodgers take the final three and win the series.
Neither team is in first right now, but the Dodgers are 10 games over .500, playing at a 95-win pace. The Braves, on the other hand, haven’t been over .500 all season and currently sit two games below.
The Dodgers had to fly across the country and lose three hours, but they also already did so and had Thursday off. The Braves played on the road Thursday before flying home. As such, I’m not worried about any travel disadvantage.
I like the Dodgers’ bullpen better than the Braves. The Dodgers have recently gotten back Cody Bellinger and the offense is swinging the bats well right now.
And though I’m a fan of Anderson, the pitching matchup favors the Dodgers as well.
In Game 2 of the NLCS, Anderson threw five scoreless against the Dodgers, but he walked five. In Game 7, the Dodgers got two runs on four hits and two walks in the last 1 1/3 innings they saw of him. He was removed after the third inning. This season, he’s been good, but not nearly as great as he was in 2020. He posted a 4.15 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in his last five starts. Those numbers are really boosted by six scoreless innings against the hapless Pirates, too.
Urias allowed just one run on three hits in eight innings against the Braves in the NLCS, including retiring all nine batters he faced to close down Game 7. He’s coming off a rough start, but he was at home and for some reason that’s been a problem this year. Away from Dodger Stadium this season, Urias is 4-1 with a 2.53 ERA, 0.66 WHIP and 41 strikeouts against two walks in 32 innings.
We get better odds here than we should due to the Dodgers being on the road (they have a better road record than the Braves’ home record) and surface-level stats being in favor of Anderson. Just look beneath them.
Pick: Dodgers moneyline (-130)
Pitching matchup: Frankie Montas (5-5, 4.45 ERA) vs. Jon Gray (4-5, 3.71 ERA)
Featured Game | Colorado Rockies vs. Oakland Athletics
You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!
I’ll tell you right now, I’m picking the Rockies.
I’m taking the fourth-place, 23-34 Rockies over the first-place, 33-25 A’s.
The Rockies are just a different team at home. They are an embarrassing 4-22 on the road, but that leaves 19-12 at home. They play like a 99-win team in Coors Field!
They send Gray to the hill and he is 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and 0.95 WHIP at home this season.
The A’s counter with Montas, who has lost three straight starts and was terrible in his only career start in Coors Field.
Yes, the A’s are much better on the road than at home this season, but Coors Field’s altitude messes with teams. Another reason I’m not intimidated here is that since the A’s 13-game winning streak — against mostly awful teams — they’ve been a pedestrian 19-18 with a negative run differential.
I love this action.
Pick: Rockies moneyline (+115)
Pitching matchup: Joey Lucchesi (1-3, 6.56 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (1-2, 5.55 ERA)
Featured Game | San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets
The Mets’ offense is showing signs of life, having hit .295/.350/.525 in the last five games and that includes having to deal with Yu Darvish on Thursday night. Francisco Lindor has gotten hot and Pete Alonso is back from the injured list. Those two difference-makers can change the entire complexion of an offense.
It might be bad timing for the Padres, as they send struggling lefty Snell to the hill. He’s given up 12 runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings in his last two outings. It’s possible the problem is on the road, however, as he has a 2.10 ERA in Petco Park and 9.70 on the road.
So we shift our focus to the Padres’ offense. It ranks second in the NL in runs and that’s with several key injuries and some others not hitting as well as they are capable.
They’ll get former teammate Lucchesi. His numbers look awful this year, though he’s pitched better than that. He’s been much better of late. Still, he hasn’t pitched deeper than four innings. Last time out, he needed 70 pitches to get through 3 2/3 against the Road Rockies. And in looking through his game logs, good teams (Home Rockies, Cubs, Cardinals, Rays) have roughed him up while his success has some against the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Road Rockies.
I don’t think we need to pick a team here. Let’s go for the scoreboard showing some crooked numbers.
Pick: Over 7 runs (-115)