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.
We got off to a rough start, going 2-4 through the first two weeks, then went 4-2 the next two weeks before a personal meltdown last week. Feel free to not believe me, but I actually initially had the Cardinals run line, the Nationals-Yankees over and Reds-Cleveland under. That was a 3-0 week. As I was typing it up, I changed to pick the Yankees and Cleveland, making two winners into losers. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I would say something like "live and learn," but I should've already known that. As I'm typing this, I'm looking down at my betting notebook and I am 100 percent committed to not changing these three picks midstream.
It remains a long season. We'll get back over .500 here this week and stay there the rest of the year.
Season record: 7-8 (1-2 last week)
All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.
And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends.
Through last Friday night, the Dodgers had lost 14 of their last 18 games. They were losing every which way and looked every bit that terrible. Still, this remains the team that started the season 13-2 and is mostly the team that won the World Series after a 43-17 regular season in 2020. It was worrisome when they nearly blew a 13-0 lead with Saturday's 14-11 win and then they lost, 2-1, on Sunday. They were all set to lose again Tuesday night, but a three-run Gavin Lux shot in the eighth inning paved the way to victory and then they had an easy win on Wednesday. My bet here is those two wins teamed with an off day where they could take a deep breath means the Dodgers will have their mojo back for Friday. They are about to start a hot streak. I'm feeling it.
Other than that, I don't have much to offer here. Sure, Kershaw has historically been better at home, but that's not really news. No, this is just the feeling that the Dodgers are about to rip off something like 10 of 12 and if I believe they'll win, of course I'll take them to win by multiple runs.
Pick: Dodgers on the -1.5 run line (+105)
The Blue Jays have won nine of their last 13 against a tough schedule (consisting of the Braves, A's and Astros). They are a very good team. The Phillies are good, too, on occasion, but they are also pretty inconsistent and the bullpen -- while not even close to last year's level -- is prone to meltdowns.
Phillies starter Velasquez has thrown the ball well his last two times out, but his walk rate, some peripherals and his track record make me feel like he's due to get crushed. He's facing a Blue Jays' offense that is averaging 6 1/2 runs per game in its last eight. Some of the Jays' bats that started slow are now warming up. Oh, and TD Ballpark in Dunedin has played as one of the most hitter-friendly yards in baseball this year. I like a lot of Blue Jays' offense here.
I'm actually tempted to take the over (9) here, but I need to stick to my guns instead of changing my pick. It should be noted for those wanting to take the over that several Phillies absolutely wear Matz out. Bryce Harper (.345/.441/.621 in 35 PA), Didi Gregorius (.438/.471/.625 in 17 PA) and Jean Segura (.533/.533/1.267 in 15 PA) being the ones that stick out.
We'll take the Jays winning a slugfest. And if you want to take the over, I don't blame you. I almost changed this pick to an over, but I learned my lesson last week. Hopefully.
Pick: Blue Jays on the -1.5 run line (+120)
On the other end of the spectrum comes this game. The first-place Giants beat the Pirates 3-1 Thursday night and we're expecting something similar here.
The Pirates' offense is one of the worst in baseball. In their last 10 games, they've scored two runs or fewer a ridiculous eight times. They get to face Gausman, who they haven't seen since for years. He's a different guy since the Giants got a hold of him, this season allowing one run or fewer in six of his seven starts. He's an All-Star and Cy Young candidate right now and he'll dice up this offense.
Though he doesn't have the name recognition of many others, Anderson is pretty tough. He's been good all year, but in his last five starts, he has a 2.32 ERA while holding opponents to a .152/.222/.200 slash. He's hard on both righties and lefties and has been better at home than on the road this season.
Everything lines up here for a low-scoring affair with both starters getting deep into the game.
Pick: Under 7.5 runs (-120)