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John Hyslop provides an early look into MLB pitching lineups for Monday night's slate. He's looking at Arizona Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly and Houston Astros' Framber Valdez.

Monday's Early MLB Looks: Watch Out for Merrill Kelly, Framber Valdez

Mondays aren't great. Everyone knows that. Everybody is coming off huge weekends doing whatever they wanted to do and now it's time to go back to work. It's not surprising that morale could be a little low. One thing I like to do to get me through a tough Monday is gamble. Not recklessly, but in a controlled setting. Think managed fire. From April to September, the 8:00am - 9:00am ET hour is spent sizing up the MLB slate for the day. Our work is literally cut out for us. Once we get that done we can get on with our lives. What I mean by "sizing up the MLB slate" is just figuring out who we're looking for when lineups come out later in the day. There are randos out there that strikeout like it's their job. When they play, we need to bet. It's that simple. Here are a couple of situations I found for tonight. Now, all we have to do is wait for the lineups.

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Merrill Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks

The haters are going to be all over this one. They are going to see the Dodgers and think "nope". But should they? First of all, Kelly's number isn't going to be high so he won't have to get a lot of these guys. At FanDuel I see 5+ at +128. That's not that crazy. He's done that in every game he's pitched so far this season. We're talking about a guy who struck out six Houston Astros in a 5.1 inning outing here people. We need to have some respect.

Last season, way back when pitchers had to earn their keep and hit too, Kelly whiffed 12 of these Dodgers in one game. Only one of them was a pitcher. The haters are going to talk about the time after that game when he only sat down one guy in 4.2 innings but I prefer to focus on the positives. The bad game was in September. Name one person in the entire Diamondbacks' organization that was thinking about baseball last September. You can even include fans. If we see Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, and Gavin Lux in the lineup tonight, it could mean we play Merrill 5+ Ks at some unsuspecting book.

Framber Valdez - Houston Astros

I know betting unders is not really a thing that over people do but I think it's worth a thought tonight. Even if we just end up smashing the over and hoping for the best. Especially when you consider Framber Valdez. His number is still 4.5 and juiced to the over at every book I've seen. Should it be? He hasn't struck out more than three guys in a game this season. One of those games was against the Los Angeles Angels who strike out versus lefties more than all but three teams in MLB. That's crazy.

Tonight he gets the Texas Rangers who are better against righties than lefties but still don't strike out much. In fact, only three teams have struck out less this season. On top of that, they are fifth-best in OPS against left-handers on the season. They could just knock Valdez out of the game. We have multiple ways out of this one if we want to go under at +124. What we need to look for is whether or not Jonah Heim is in the order. He caught Dane Dunning last time he pitched. Heim has only struck out twice in 25 at-bats this season and neither time came off the arm of a lefty. There's a chance Framber will only have a real shot of striking out three or four Rangers tonight.

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Article Author


John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it. His work has appeared on Rotogrinders and he has been a regular on sports talk radio stations across the country. Based in the US, John operates a blog & podcast, Sports Bets Beers, which covers betting angles in the NFL, NBA, MLB, & NHL.


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