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MLB Best Bets for June 15: Yankees vs Red Sox and Love for Nathan Eovaldi

Publish Date: 06/15/2024
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

The slate on Saturday in Major League Baseball may feature a wealth of fun contests during the afternoon, but there's plenty of money to be made on the night games.

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

I'm targeting the total yet again in Yankees vs Red Sox with two solid pitchers matching up in the second game of that series, and I'll be discussing why I believe in Nathan Eovaldi to deliver us another win on a total in Seattle before expressing some doubt about an American League Cy Young cotender.

Let's dive further into the slate and give out our MLB Best Bets for Saturday, June 15.

MLB Betting Resources:

MLB BEST BET FOR NEW YORK YANKEES VS BOSTON RED SOX

I just can't seem to quit Cooper Criswell. The right-hander fits the mold of pitchers I like to bet on, featuring a very unattractive arsenal due to his low fastball velocity which scares plenty of bettors away.

He can roll up ground balls like nobody's business, however, and that's a trait that's very underappreciated as many look to target the high strikeout arms around the league.

Yes, the Yankees are hitting over .300 against ground-ball pitchers this year, but Friday was a good example of how this offense is pretty capped when it's not leaving the yard.

They were quiet for most of Brayan Bello's outing around a two-run shot in the first inning by the vengeful Alex Verdugo, and if not for three walks the young right-hander likely would have put up a much better line.

Criswell features a fantastic changeup which has led to his ground ball prowess, and that's a pitch the Yankees have not hit well, down towards the bottom of run value against the pitch.

  • I think he can suppress the powerful Yankees enough given his solid expected numbers and a Red Sox defense that's quietly gotten a bit better in June.
  • On the flip side, the Red Sox are below-average in wRC+ to left-hander pitchers with a strikeout rate pushing 29% which should create a friendly matchup for Carlos Rodon.

The southpaw's seen a huge spike in whiffs since April and his strikeouts are beginning to follow suit as well. He might be susceptible to some home runs due to all the fly balls he gives up, but power is not the strength of Boston, and with that I think we'll get the Under for a second straight night.

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Best Bet: Under 8.5 (+106 at FanDuel)

Looking to bet this one as the action unfolds? Check out our MLB Live Betting Guide.

MLB BEST BET FOR TEXAS RANGERS VS SEATTLE MARINERS

Nathan Eovaldi looks to be the Nathan Eovaldi of old, posting his best strikeout rate since the pandemic year at 25.3% with some steady whiff rates across the first three months of the season.

  • He's continued to find success in rolling up ground balls as well, keeping his rate of contact on the ground above 50% for a second straight year, and he's managed to avoid the occasional loud batted ball to get his Expected Batting Average and Expected Slugging Percentage down 14 and 71 points, respectively.

Pitching in front of one of the strongest defenses in the game, it's no surprise he's yet another Rangers arm who has out-performed his Expected ERA by over half a run, and against a Seattle team which sells out for power and struggles at its unfriendly home park as a result, he should be in an excellent spot on Saturday.

  • The Mariners continue to lead the league in strikeouts per plate appearance, and with Eovaldi's strong showing in that area the Mariners should once again find themselves in a close game.
  • On the other side, while I'd like to hop back on the Rangers at this number and continue buying the dip, George Kirby can't be reasonably expected to have a bad showing.

The Rangers have been abysmal at the dish of late, and while they haven't struck out much they've been a firmly fly ball-oriented team in 2024 which has struggled mightily against the fastball and sinker, the two primary deliveries of Kirby.

The righty has been one of the lone Mariners pitchers to roll up ground balls at a somewhat decent rate, pitching more to contact than strikeouts, and that should make for a good outing against a Texas team which loves to swing the bat and doesn't wait around to work walks.

This is a stunningly-low number, but it's still the play.

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Best Bet: Under 6.5 Runs (-105 at DraftKings)

Not sure where to place your bet? Be sure to check out our ballislifebets section. 

BEST BET FOR KANSAS CITY ROYALS VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Seth Lugo has been indomitable in 2024, and while his Baseball Savant page may not offer much fun with some very middling expected numbers and ratios, he's pitched to a ton of contact and has let the fifth-best defense by Outs Above Average do the rest of the work for him.

The issue here is that the Dodgers own a .791 OPS against "finesse" pitchers such as Lugo, ranking fourth in baseball, and in a friendly park to hitters the right-handers inability to produce consistent ground balls could work against him -- even though the Dodgers may not be at the peak of their powers.

  • That's not to say they haven't been a good offense, either, with one of the best wRC+ marks in the game over the last two weeks -- that is just how special the top of the order is.
  • Yoshinobu Yamamoto, meanwhile, has found a way to pitch to consistent ground balls which has created a wonderful marriage with his high 28.3% strikeout rate which is bordering on elite territory.

He had a minor blip in the middle of May, but he's responded in a huge way this month with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings and will now work on a full week's worth of rest, making for a mouth-watering matchup against a mediocre Royals offense which was able to hop on one of L.A.'s weaker starters Friday before being shut down by its bullpen in what amounted to a 4-3 loss.

The home side is a deserving favorite here and with Lugo due for a poor outing here given his profile I think it should be able to run away with the proceedings as a result.

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Best Bet: Dodgers -1.5 Runs (+105 at BetMGM)

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