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MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day: May 31, Pirates vs Dodgers

Mitch Keller delivers a pitch in 2022 MLB action
May 25, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Mitch Keller (23) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day

Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Mitch Keller (1-5, 6.05 ERA) vs. Julio Urias (3-4, 2.49 ERA)

Julio Urias off to a strong 2022 MLB season

Well, well, well. Look who is back on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitching staff.

It was a troublesome beginning for Mitch Keller, who entered the season with basically as much potential and hope as any other starting pitcher out there after a productively extensive offseason that saw Keller refine his repertoire. He also added a few ticks on his average fastball velocity.

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Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to results, at least early on, and Keller was abruptly removed from the rotation for a bit. Now he’s back, however, and this could provide bettors a fine opportunity.

Games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium are rarely as high as 8.5. Yet because of Keller’s presence, the linesmakers have opted for this particular over/under tag. If Keller can just come close to scratching the surface of his potential, he’ll never draw an inflated total in LA again opposite an upper-echelon starter like Julio Urias.

For the time being, that means we can capitalize on the extra breathing room, as Keller may be potentially getting his confidence back after a couple of solid relief appearances during his brief stint in the bullpen. Though the two outings only consisted of six innings collectively, Keller still showcased optimism with six strikeouts while not allowing the long ball.

Besides, the former second-round draft pick wasn’t even as horrid as his 6.05 ERA suggests. Keller has registered a much more respectable 4.48 FIP and 4.49 xFIP, helping also account for the poor luck he’s dealt with since last year. In 2021, Keller endured an absurd .388 batting average on balls put in play against him, and while this year he’s saddled with a .339 BABIP, there’s no way that luck can be sustained.

I see a calmer, cooler version of Keller from hereon out. The hard-throwing right-hander already experienced rock bottom when he was shifted to the pen, and perhaps a second life in a year that was just oozing so much promise can provide Keller the lift he needs to settling in now.

No matter what, this bet is likely going to be led by his counterpart this evening, Urias, in helping attain a low final score.

Fortunately for us, the Mexico native is garnering a lineup that struggles against left-handed pitching. Entering today’s action, the Pirates rank 24th in the Majors in both team OPS (.644) and batting average (.218) with a southpaw on the mound. The Bucs resided in the bottom third in these categories last year, too.

Even without the extra edge of a favorable matchup, Urias has looked notably good in front of all comers, hence why he carries that shiny 2.49 ERA. Urias is exhibiting consistency as well, having yielded more than two runs only twice in his nine starts. The lefty’s lifetime 2.52 ERA across his meetings with the Pirates lends belief he’ll be able to continue that.

Keller surviving the Dodgers is what will ultimately determine this bet. Since they didn’t see him for an earlier series in Pittsburgh, that can assist Keller in keeping that potent lineup on their toes, at least early on, and set a tone for pitching to emerge. Luckily with this relatively high over/under, Keller will have room for error.

Pick:

2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “26-21-5,” +2.05 units

Yesterday’s Result: Braves-Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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