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We split our MLB picks Friday, though Matthew Boyd certainly proved us right with his horrid showing on the mound. Monday's pitching could be even worse. Here are our favorite bets to open the week.
Something might be wrong with Matz. He's been rocked in two straight outings following an electric first start, allowing a combined 15 hits and eight earned runs with just six strikeouts. He's also given up five homers this year, tied for fourth-most by any pitcher.
His velocity and walk rate are improved from last year, but just about everything else is worse - including a career-worst 42.2% hard-hit rate and 0% weak-contact rate. Every ball in play is a rocket, which is a problem when he's punching out fewer batters than he has since he posted an atrocious 6.08 ERA in 2017. It won't help that the Nationals rarely strike out, either.
Still, Matz hasn't been much worse than Corbin, whose ERA doesn't tell the whole story. Corbin has seen his fastball smoked to the tune of an .813 expected slugging percentage, and his sinker hasn't been much better. His go-to slider has been a strikeout machine, but he can't rely on it against a Mets lineup that ranks second-best against sliders, according to FanGraphs.
Neither offense is setting any records this year, but this total is lower than the league average despite two vulnerable pitchers on the mound. Take advantage of it.
Pick: Over 8.5 (-110)
Few opportunities are as enticing as the chance to bet against Ray in this one. The Diamondbacks pitcher has been a disaster in 2020, allowing a league-high six home runs behind an 8.74 FIP and batted-ball metrics hovering near or below the 10th percentile.
Ray is striking out an impressive 25.8% of opposing batters, but he's getting hit hard on more than half of his at-bats, and his 65.8% fly-ball rate is the worst of any starter with at least 10 innings pitched. Now imagine him at Coors Field, lobbing meatballs to a Rockies lineup that has the fifth-lowest strikeout rate (21%) and second-lowest soft-contact percentage (13.3%) in MLB.
Gray isn't an ace and he can't make bats miss, but he won't need to against the Diamondbacks. Arizona ranks bottom three in both wOBA (.275) and OPS (.619) and rarely elevates the ball with power. Ray's fly-ball tendencies are reason enough to fade him in Colorado, and the offensive gap between these two clubs is the icing on the cake.
Pick: Rockies (-135)
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.