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New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins & More MLB Bets Bets and Expert Picks for Sunday, May 19

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This article is part of our MLB Picks series.

MLB Bets Today: Expert MLB Picks for 
Sunday, May 19

The New York Knicks play the Indiana Pacers today in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal. The New York Rangers have already advanced to their Eastern Conference championship, where they will face the Florida Panthers. I am officially ready to party like it’s 1994. Meanwhile we have a full baseball slate, including a slightly less intriguing New York vs. South Florida matchup with a betting play I like, so here we go!

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New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins

The mediocre Mets visit the absolutely awful Marlins and try to salvage a win in the series after a brutal loss yesterday. They invented fantasy sports and wagering just for games like this!

Sean Manaea takes the ball for New York and I had interest in him both as an offseason flier for the Mets and a later-round fantasy draft target. He ended 2023 pretty well for the Giants despite their rather bizarre usage patterns. Sometimes he would get a “normal” start, other times they gave him short outings with an opener in front, and then he had straight relief outings. His surface numbers look good on the Mets so far as Manaea has pitched to a 2-1 record with a 3.05 ERA through eight starts. On the other hand, he has a thoroughly mediocre 1.30 WHIP and ERA estimators xERA (4.02) and SIERA (4.67) look meh to bad. His walk rate has risen to a career-high 11.4 percent while his K rate of 21.1 percent marks his worst level since 2018. Manaea has a bit of a high-wire act going here, as he gives up a lot of fly balls, but thus far only six barrels and one home run. If he can pare the walks down that is not a terrible formula for pitching at Citi Field in general and at the Marlins specifically, as neither is a home run park.

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Further, the Marlins are just terrible this season vs. lefties. They carry a 64 wRC+ vs. southpaws, second worst in MLB. Vidal Brujan has a .315 wOBA vs. lefties this season and Bryan De La Cruz sits at .310. But beyond them, no one on the active roster with at least 30 PAs has a wOBA vs. lefties higher than .300. 

Miami will start Sixto Sanchez, the one-time uber-prospect who returns to a major-league mound this season for the first time since 2020. The former prize of the J.T. Realmuto trade is somehow still just 25 years old. Unfortunately, years of injuries have sapped his effectiveness. He came into the league with an average fastball velocity of 98.8 MPH, but now sits at 94.4 with a K rate of just 12.3 percent. The Marlins have stretched him out a bit over his four starts, but he has topped out at 4.2 innings. His overall ERA is 5.96, though an xERA of 4.13 and SIERA of 4.80 suggest he has not been that bad and, in fact, is almost identical to Manaea. He keeps the ball on the ground, but the ERA estimators might overstate the value of that as he pitches in front of a bad defense. The Mets post a league-average test, almost literally as they carry a 101 wRC+ vs. righties. 

The game may get to the bullpen early as Manaea lasts only 5.0 IP per start thanks to all the walks and Sanchez does not get a full starter’s workload. That favors New York overall. The Mets ‘pen has had its shaky moments lately, especially when Edwin Diaz comes in. The 2022 trumpets feel like a decade ago as he as blown two saves this week and that does not even count gagging up a 9-5 lead in the ninth yesterday since it did not qualify  Still, the ‘pen as a whole carries a 3.29 ERA that ranks second in MLB, while the Marlins sit near the bottom with a 4.62 ERA. 

The Pick

New York Mets -1.5, +115

The Marlins’ ineptitude vs. southpaw starters has translated to nice profits for anyone fading them. They have gone just 3-13 outright with an ROI of -64.9 percent as per VSiN. That is a tough trend to buck. Yes, the Mets had a disheartening loss yesterday, but I play for them to bounce back, almost certainly with Diaz absent from a high-leverage role for now.

Milwaukee Brewers at Houston Astros

Houston has gotten hot lately, but disappointed big time overall so far in 2024, mostly on account of some very rough pitching. The Astros will start Spencer Arrighetti today, a rookie with some promise but extremely mixed results. He has not pitched quite as badly as his 7.52 ERA would indicate. He has a nice 23.6 percent K rate, which could trend higher over time as his 13 percent SwStr% is quite good. The flip side is he needs to cut his 11.8 percent BB rate in a big way. And that will take some work as he had a very worrisome 16 percent BB rate over 72.1 innings of Triple-A ball in part of 2023 and early this season.

Milwaukee counters with Colin Rea, who has literally the diametric opposite profile of Arrighetti. Expect lots of balls in play every time he pitches as he carries just a 15.7 percent K rate and 6.8 percent BB rate. Credit to the Brewers for salvaging something useful yet again from a journeyman arm, but Rea has a 3.45 ERA that is backed by literally nothing. On top of not striking anyone out, he does not control contact particularly well with a 9.5 percent Barrel rate, 38.8 percent Hard-Hit rate and 41.4 percent GB rate. Milwaukee fields well, but all of his ERA estimators suggest the Regression Monster will arrive at some point. In fact, Arrighetti has a less unsightly xERA (5.25 to 5.46) and lower SIERA as well (4.31 to 4.58).

Good chance that both pitchers struggle as the Astros rake to a 127 wRC+ at home while the Brewers have surprisingly mixed and matched their way to 113 road wRC+. Kyle Tucker dominates everywhere, but has hit particularly well at Minute Maid with a .310/.463/.655 triple slash. The Brewers are down Rhys Hoskins, but have Christian Yelich back. None of it seems to matter as they get nice production up and down their ever-changing lineup. William Contreras and his .350/.426/.554 line stands out.

The Pick

Houston Astros ML -130

Expect lots of offense in H-Town. I trust the Astros offense a bit more as Rea really requires favorable batted ball results to succeed.

 

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