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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

Games to Watch - Friday

Diamondbacks at Padres Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 9:10 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network

Diamondbacks at Padres Odds

  • Arizona Diamondbacks (+110)
  • San Diego Padres (-121)
  • Run Total 8.5 (Over -110, Under -110)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Luke Weaver RHP (0-2, 12.73 ERA)
  • Zach Davies RHP (1-1, 4.50 ERA)

This Friday is the opening game in a three-game series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. Both teams are in the NL West meaning they are going to play 10 of their 60 games against each other this shortened season. In the first series of games between these two clubs in July, San Diego won the series 2-1. In general, both teams are evenly matched, so you must approach each game carefully. For Friday’s game, I think the Diamondbacks will take advantage of San Diego’s pitching and that is why I am backing the Diamondbacks moneyline at +110 odds.

For Friday’s game, San Diego is using Zach Davies whose talents are widely misevaluated. In 2019, Davies had the lowest ERA of his career at 3.55. However, this is misleading as he also had the highest FIP (4.56) and xFIP (5.20) of his career. ERA is a widely used baseball metric because it is simple, it measures only how many runs a pitcher gives up on average per nine innings.

But my preferred metrics for measuring how many runs a pitcher should have given up based on his performance are FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching). Davies got lucky in his starts last year and he should have given up more runs. The only thing in Davies favor this year is that San Diego’s home stadium Petco Park is the third most pitcher friendly stadium in the league. However, the Zach Davies balloon is eventually going to pop this season and I am going to keep fading him.

Besides Petco Park being a favorable pitching environment for Davies, the only other thing that the Davies has going for him is that the Diamondbacks lineup this season is struggling.

Out of 30 MLB teams, the Diamondbacks rank 24th in team runs per game as they only score 3.69 runs per game. However, in their last three games the D-backs have averaged seven runs a game. I believe that the Diamondbacks run production is somewhere between their season average and their average over their last three games. My model projects the Diamondbacks lineup to score 4.64 runs per game on average in games played in Petco Park.

When you factor in Davies pitching, I believe that the Diamondbacks score at least five runs. That is why I am betting on the Diamondbacks as +110 moneyline underdogs.

Diamondbacks at Padres
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Arizona Diamondbacks Moneyline +110

Final Score Prediction:
Arizona Diamondbacks 5, San Diego Padres 4

Angels at Rangers Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 9:05 p.m. ET

Angels at Rangers Odds

  • Los Angeles Angels (-157)
  • Texas Rangers (+147)
  • Run Total 9.5 (Over +100, Under -120)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Griffin Canning RHP (0-1, 3.38 ERA)
  • Jordan Lyles RHP (0-1, 6.00 ERA)

The reason why fewer than 9.5 runs will be scored when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Texas Rangers is because of the Rangers new ballfield.

This season, the Rangers moved into Globe Life Field which cost 1.1 billion dollars to construct. The new stadium which cost more to build than the annual revenues of 63 countries features a roof, shopping mall, and other amenities. More importantly for baseball handicappers, the ballpark has a significantly different impact on the game than its predecessor across the street Globe Life Park.

The new ballpark Globe Life Field so far has been a pitcher’s paradise and that is the main reason why I am betting that under 9.5 runs will be scored.

There are several metrics that are not well known for evaluating the effect that a ballpark has on run production. Baseball is a sport like no other American sport in that the dimensions and physics of their stadiums are different. The Knicks are going to score the same amount of points in Madison Square Garden as they do in the Boston Garden. But the Rangers are going to score significantly fewer runs in Globe Life Field than they would at Coors Field.

So far very few baseball games have been played this season, but we do have park factor statistics for most of the MLB ballparks. Currently Globe Life Park has a ballpark factor of 0.570 and the average MLB ballpark has a ballpark factor of 1.000. This is the third lowest ballpark factor of any MLB ballpark. The way ballpark factor works is that the league average factor is always 1.000 and the number of runs scored in each ballpark is weighed against the league average.

While we do not know exactly how pitcher friendly Globe Life Park, what we do know is that it is a pitcher’s paradise unlike its predecessor which was last year had the second-highest ballpark factor in the league.

Another reason to take the under for Friday’s game is that the Texas Rangers lineup averages the second fewest runs per game out of all teams. Despite having a lineup that contains Joey Gallo, the Rangers only average 3.27 runs per game. The Angels lineup is much better as they average 5.08 runs per game. However, despite the Angels being a strong team when you combine both teams together, they only average 8.35 runs per game which is more than a full run lower than the run total for the game. When you factor in both teams’ lineups and the ballpark, the most obvious bet for Friday’s game is that under 9.5 runs will be scored at -120 juice.

Los Angeles at Texas MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Under 9.5 Runs (-120)

Final Score Prediction:
Los Angeles Angels 3, Texas Rangers 2

Best Bets Tracker

Arizona Diamondbacks Moneyline +110
Angels/Rangers Under 9.5 Runs -120

How do I handicap my MLB Best Bets?

My MLB handicapping model is based on the baseball pythagorean theorem where you can predict a team's winning percentage based on how many runs they score and allow over the course of the season.

I make projections on how many runs each player scores or allows for how that team's projected roster for that day would do over the course of a full season.

Once I have a projected winning percentage for both teams, I have a formula I use to determine each team's probability of winning. For example, I calculate what percentage of games a .500 team wins against a .400 win team.

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