New York Mets F5 -0.5 +104 (Fan Duel):
The New York Metropolitans have been hanging in there despite a plethora of injuries to key members. With a slight lead in the NL East division, New York is finding ways to win ball games. That also includes their 26-21 first five record on the year.
Although the Mets don’t exemplify the status or image of an elite team at the moment, they’ve been good enough to stay ahead of the 8 ball thanks to a small handful of individuals. One of those players is Taijuan Walker. Walker has found his groove in New York after flaming out of Seattle, Arizona, and even Toronto. Because he’s been a solid starter, he’s a great candidate to back for a strong performance against the bottom feeding Orioles on Wednesday night. At 7-2-1 on the year, Walker has been a top 10 first five pitcher that is worth a vote of confidence. The tepid offense of the Mets makes this play a little dicey, but the opposing pitcher is one that is a near fade every time he takes the mound.
Matt Harvey has fallen a long way from grace since being dubbed “The Dark Knight” back in 2013 when he was the new “IT” guy of New York. In 2021, he sits at 3-6 with a 6.62 ERA and 1.61 WHIP- I completely understand why bettors ride the ‘fade Harvey wave.’ Better yet, he has been unable to cross the 5 innings pitched threshold in an outing since May 1st at the Oakland Athletics, which makes it SIX straight starts of less than 5 innings. By the way, in the last 6 outings, Harvey has given up an average of almost 5 runs per. If this trend proceeds, NYM should have zero issue winning the first five innings by at least 1 run.
Given all of this information, it’s moronic to not at least entertain the idea of backing the Mets on PLUS money in the first half of this ball game. With great odds and highly favorable trends, New York looks like a strong play to fall into the winning side of this wager.
Chicago White Sox First 5 -0.5 -110 (FanDuel):
We touched on the Chicago White Sox F5 last night, and just got edged out by a single run (but of course they poured in 6 runs in the 8th inning). While it stings, it has not been too common of a theme. The still very profitable first half betting for the South Side of the Windy City squad remains well intact. Can’t win them all.
If you read yesterday’s write up on the CWS pick, you’ll remember I mentioned the Blue Jays were a tough opponent that can strike fear into opposing pitchers’ hearts. While Carlos Rodon submitted a respectable 5 inning 1 run outing last night, he was thwarted by Toronto’s renaissance man Robbie Ray, responsible for 6.1 shutout innings where he compiled 13 punch outs! The Diamondbacks are definitely sick about this turn of events. Anyway, the noteworthy nugget of Wednesday is the glaring fact that the best first five pitcher in the MLB is towing the rubber this evening for Chicago, Lance Lynn. Lynn totes an undefeated 8-0-2 record in the first half of ball games in 2021 with a league best 0.81 ERA (as of 6/1). Translation- he’s pretty good and a near automatic lock each time he toes the rubber.
On the flip side, the Jays are sending out 23-year-old rookie Alek Manoah to neutralize one of the best teams in baseball. The issue is Manoah has only logged 9.1 innings this season, which leaves a sample size entirely too microscopic to give a fair analysis. Like most young pitchers, Manoah struggles with control (5 walks thus far), but he also possesses high level punch out ability (12 K’s). The bottom line is that inexperience is more than enough of a reason to fade Manoah in his toughest test of his young career.
Singing a little bit of a different tune on Wednesday. As opposed to the First Five Money line straight up, I’ve decided to finesse the situation a bit. The stipulation is Chicago needs to cover the first half of the game by at least 1 run. Given the dominant status of Lynn, question marks of Manoah, and a major difference in odds, laying $110 to win $100 for this line makes it much more digestible as opposed to laying $180 for the straight line on Fan Duel.
Boston Red Sox First 5 -0.5 -104 (FanDuel):
Noticing a trend today? Rounding out the slate of Wednesday plays, we close with our 3rd First 5 -0.5 pick. Tailing the surprisingly successful Boston Red Sox, they, like the Mets, are a slightly profitable F5 team at 28-23-9 thus far. Even against a vicious Astros lineup, the odds are too good to pass up.
The primary reason I find it appealing to back the BoSox this evening is not only because of their dangerous lineup and +48 run differential. Yet again, we find ourselves in the advantageous position of following another one of the league’s most successful first half hurlers, Nate Eovaldi. Sitting on a dominant 8-2-2 in 2021, Nate the Great is the 5th most profitable F5 starter in the entire MLB. While he has been respectable overall in ’21, he certainly has not been dominant with his 3.78 ERA. When it comes to the first half of the game however, Eovaldi has been one of the best, simply stated.
Residing on the bump of the opposition is former Minnesota Twin, Jake Odorizzi. With another small season sample size, it’s not truly justifiable to say his 7.16 ERA across 16.1 innings is entirely accurate. Of course, this does indicate some struggles on his part. Factoring in the inconsistency of Odorizzi with the glaring elephant in the room that the Red Sox offense is top 5, if not top 10, in most major offensive categories makes this a worthwhile opportunity to bring in a little dough to those bank accounts.
Like the other plays on this slate, the odds are too favorable to not give an opportunity on. The Red Sox, averaging almost 5 runs per contest, coming out on fire tonight against a lackluster pitcher should be standard operating procedure- same thing goes for rock solid Nate the Great.