Tuesday’s Results: The return of “FTBW” yielded a 2-2 night. The White Sox’ team total of over 5.5 was a total dud, as Chicago managed just a single run after scoring 12 in Baltimore the night before. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Cards and Brewers combined for only four runs in the first seven innings of play, which squashed any hope for the over (9). While it took an adventurous top of the ninth from Rockies’ pitching, my Nationals’ team total of over 5.5 did hit, as did the Yankees at -110 on the money line. All told, I went 2-2 for -0.05 units. It wasn’t the start I was hoping for but the night wasn’t a total disaster either.
On Wednesday night, I’m heading back to Baltimore for the White Sox-Orioles matchup and I like two more team totals in games that should produce some shoddy pitching.
967 Chicago White Sox at 968 Baltimore Orioles, 6:05 p.m. CT
The most challenging aspect of sports betting is staying disciplined. It’s human nature to want to chase losses because you become emotional. You see your bankroll dwindle, you want your money back and thus, you wind up playing games that you initially had no lean on one way or another.
The other big challenge is finding value on a nightly basis. Oddsmakers are incredibly accurate when it comes to setting lines and if you merely played only big money line favorites, you would eventually destroy your bank roll. Sure, you may win two out of every three games but if you’re laying -200 on every team, you would merely break even. Thus, finding value is crucial and that requires you to get out of your comfort zone at times.
How would I describe getting out of your comfort zone? Betting on the 9-16 Baltimore Orioles when you see an advantage qualifies. Chicago starter Ervin Santana was horrible through five starts last year and has been even worse in his two outings this season. He’s a low-strikeout (9.1% K-rate), high-walk (13.6% BB-rate) pitcher that can’t keep the ball out of the air (32.4% groundball rate) and allows plenty of hard contact (32.4% hard contact). The Orioles don’t have the most talented offense but as they proved last night, every major-league team can hit bad pitching. And when that team faces bad pitching in a hitter’s park, you get what you had last night, which was a 9-1 Baltimore romp.
While Santana should provide the Orioles with plenty of runs, young left-hander John Means should hold the White Sox offense in check. His 1.72 ERA isn’t sustainable when you consider he also owns a 3.74 SIERA, but he checked a lot of boxes through his first two starts. He’s striking out batters at a rate of 25.8%, he produced a ground-ball rate of 45.2% (which is important considering that again, Camden Yards is a hitter-friendly park) and he allowed hard contact at a rate of just 14.3%, which is excellent. Furthermore, he draws a strikeout-friendly matchup with a White Sox team that managed to score just a single run against the extremely hittable Andrew Cashner last night. I really like the Orioles tonight at their price point.
The Pick: Orioles -120 (1.20 units to win 1.0 unit)
959 Philadelphia Phillies at 960 New York Mets, 6:10 p.m. ET
We saw Jason Vargas last Friday in St. Louis and somehow, he held the Cardinals to only one run through four innings. I’m willing to bet that he won’t repeat that performance tonight against Philadelphia. The Mets do play in a pitcher’s park at Citi Field but Vargas is horrendous. He owns a 9.58 ERA, a 6.62 SIERA, a 10.9% strikeout rate, a 12.7% walk rate, a 35.0% ground-ball rate and a hard contact rate of 64.3%. If you don’t know what any of that means, that’s okay. Just understand that all of those numbers are horrible, unless you’re a hitter facing Vargas. The first five hitters in the Phillies’ lineup – Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco and J.T. Realmuto – mash right-handed pitching. As a team, Philadelphia owns an ISO of 0.192 against left-handed pitching, so even though Citi Field usually benefits pitchers, I love this matchup for Philly’s offense. Granted, the Phillies have scored a combined two runs in their last three games but their lineup is too talented not to mash Vargas and Co. tonight.
The Pick: Phillies Team Total OVER 4.5 Runs -120 (1.20 units to win 1.0 unit)
969 Detroit Tigers at 970 Boston Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. CT
I don’t know what’s going on with this Boston club but I do know the Red Sox’ offense has an excellent matchup tonight with Detroit starter Tyson Ross. Ross walks too many batters and doesn’t generate enough strikeouts. Making matters worse for him tonight, he’s pitching at a hitter-friendly park while giving up loads of hard contact in 27 combined starts over the past two years. The Tigers’ pen is also beatable, so even if the Red Sox only scratch across a few runs against Ross, Boston should be able to get over its team total of 5.5 runs later in the game. Here’s the final kicker: Alfonso Marquez is behind the dish tonight in Boston. While it’s a small sample size, the home team averaged 7.2 runs in the first five games he has called this season. Time to feast, Red Sox.
The Pick: Red Sox Team Total OVER 5.5 -115 (1.15 units to win 1.0 unit)
MLB: 2-2 (-0.05 Units)