Welcome back to Friday Night Lines, your weekly home for casual baseball bettors or even baseball fans who 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 have an extra-full night of 16 games in store for us.
After going 3-0 the previous week, we stumbled a bit with a 1-2 week (thanks to the Brewers only winning by one instead of two, which was a gut punch). Still, we've got some good vibes going here and I finally have realized betting on the Yankees this year is a fool's errand. You won't see them mentioned again below.
Season record: 18-18 (1-2 last week) ... +632 (8-2 in last 10 moneyline picks)
All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.
And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends.
Brewers at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET
This one seems so easy that I'm hearing my dad screaming in my ears, 'if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.' For some reason, the Brewers are only a -115 favorite (that is, you can bet $115 to win $100). It's not even close to be an overwhelming favorite. For example, here are the bigger favorites on Friday: Phillies over Padres (-121), Dodgers over Nationals (-121), Yankees over Mets (-153 and I'm sorry I had to mention them again), Blue Jays over Rays (-121), Astros over Cleveland (-177), Reds over Cubs (-153), White Sox over Tigers (-145), Angels over Orioles (-177) and Giants over Diamondbacks (-140).
Should all those teams really be heavier favorite than the Brewers facing the Pirates?
It's a head-scratcher.
The Brewers have won nine in a row and 11 of their last 12. They are 23-15 on the road. They are 5-2 this year against the Pirates. The Pirates have lost four straight, five of six and are 16-22 at home this year.
Not seeing any reason to not pick the Brewers yet.
Maybe it's Houser? He's allowed nine runs in 11 innings in his last two starts. Of course, before that he gave up just two runs in 5 2/3 innings in a Brewers win over, yes, the Pirates. Overall, Houser is a mediocre starter, not a bad one.
Brubaker, meanwhile, has been pretty good. He just doesn't get much help. The Pirates are 4-10 in his starts, having dropped his last four. Back in the middle of April, Brubaker got the win against the Brewers, giving up just one run on four hits in six innings while striking out eight.
I suspect that's why the odds are so good for a Brewers pick. It's not enough to sway me. The Brewers win their 10th-straight game.
Pick: Brewers on the moneyline (-115)
Pitching matchup: Eduardo Rodríguez (6-4, 5.83 ERA) vs. Frankie Montas (7-7, 4.72 ERA)
The Red Sox are the hot hand here, having won seven in a row. The A's have actually lost eight of their last 12, including taking a series loss at home to the last-place Rangers these last three days. Should we ride the hot hand or see if things will even out?
Rodríguez threw the ball well against the Yankees (dammit, again I had to mention them) last time out, but he still has a 7.29 ERA in his last nine starts. He's also been more than a run worse on the road (6.24 ERA in 10 starts) than at home (5.16 ERA in five starts) this season.
Montas had a dreadful outing on June 21, giving up eight runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, but it looks like an outlier. In his 10 previous starts, he pitched to a 3.39 ERA and he rebounded last time out to give up two runs on two hits in five innings to a very-good Giants offense.
Also, the Red Sox played a game Thursday and then had to fly from Boston to Oakland. That's a long one. Let's go with the home team.
Pick: A's on the moneyline (+105)
Giants at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET
The Giants are favored here but it isn't overly heavy. The hunch is that the name recognition Gallen carries here is what prevented the odds from growing steeper. And he is plenty capable of throwing well. He's only given up three runs in 9 2/3 innings in his last two starts and both were against good teams (Brewers and Padres). Of course, the Diamondbacks lost both of those games because that's what they do. Gallen was also roughed up by these Giants on June 17 (2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER).
The Giants have hit a rough patch with a season-high four-game losing streak. They lost to the D-Backs last night.
For me, that's all the more reason to pick the Giants here. The Diamondbacks haven't won two straight games since May 10-11. Since the beginning of May they are 9-48. I just can't see the D-Backs beating the Giants two straight nights and we get some suppressed odds here.
Also, we're riding a two-week winning streak in picking the Giants, so we're going to stick with what works.
The -1.5 run line (meaning the Giants have to win by at least two) is +105 and that could work. I'll just take the W, though.
Pick: Giants on the moneyline (-140)
Pitching matchup: Johan Oviedo (0-4, 5.23) vs. Chi Chi González (2-5, 5.81)
Another line that is out of whack and I think it's due to enough people out there seeing the names 'Cardinals' and 'Rockies' and just assuming the Cardinals are better and the correct pick here. On the whole, the Cardinals are better, but not under this circumstance.
The Rockies are 29-16 at home. To put that in helpful perspective, they play like a 104-win team in Coors Field.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are 17-24 on the road. And get this, since May 19, if we take out the Cardinals' 6-0 record against the miserable Diamondbacks, they are 9-24 overall.
St. Louis starter Oviedo has lost back-to-back starts while being knocked around by the Tigers and Pirates. The Cardinals are 2-8 in his starts this year. He's much worse on the road and he's never pitched in Coors Field. He's likely in for a rough night.
González isn't reliable, but he earlier this season shut down the Reds at home and has also beaten the Padres there. The moneyline at -105 works, but I like a multiple-run Rox victory.
Pick: Rockies on the run line -1.5 (+160)