Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. This is really a decent time to wager on baseball because there will naturally be some over and under-reactions to what so many starting pitchers did in their first start of the year. For instance, Trevor Williams (RHP) of the Pirates threw six innings of no-run ball against the Tigers in his season debut while Luis Castillo (RHP) of the Reds was tagged for six runs in five frames versus the Nationals. The Reds are a deflated -118 (at the time of this writing) as a result, which is a real bargain. However, since we prefer the take-back on 1½-runs, we’ll play it that way.
What the pitching line does not tell you about Trevor Williams is that his swing and miss rate was 2% in his first start. In other words, the Tigers were hitting everything but the balls were hit right at people. In those six shutout innings against the Tigers, Williams walked five and struck out one. His ERA was 0.00 but his xERA was 6.39. This former 2nd rounder got his first full MLB stint last season when he threw 150 frames over 25 starts and six relief appearances. The takeaway? Blah. There is nothing here to suggest his prior upside is lurking, as skills were average across the board. Even his sub-indicators showed few glimmers of hope. He did out up a consistent 1st/2nd half ERA of 4.50 but his xERA was 4.85. Of course, simply ignoring him also works. Dude is a groundball pitcher that will always be at the mercy of BABIP (Batted Ball in Play) or variance.
Luis Castillo is the straight goods. He went 3-7 with a 3.12 ERA in 89 frames for the Reds after being called up mid-summer. Castillo utilized a 98 mph fastball, hard slider, sinker and vastly improved change-up (23% swing and miss rate, 59% groundballs) to great success in 2017. His ability to marry an extreme groundball rate with lots of strikeouts and respectable control is immensely appealing and gives him the potential for 200 K’s and an ERA around 3.00. In 11 frames versus Pittsburgh in 2017, Castillo struck out 14 Pirates and allowed three earned runs on six hits. He should be better this time around in colder weather against a lesser Pirates’ squad.
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Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Cincinnati -1½ +134 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.68)