Major League Baseball

From the Betting Window: High-Scoring Game in Houston? Pitcher’s Duel in L.A.?

Thursday night couldn’t have produced a better start to my college football picks, as I hit both Northwestern (+1) and Tulane (+6.5).

Unfortunately, those selections also coincided with my worst night in baseball since starting, “From The Betting Window.” I missed all three totals (Yankees-Tigers under 9, Cubs-Braves under 8.5, and Diamondbacks-Dodgers under 8) to drop my MLB record to 34-16 (68.0%).

Here’s hoping for a rebound night in baseball…

923 Los Angeles Angels at 924 Houston Astros, 7:10 p.m. CT

I’m a big fan of taking the over in games where the advanced metrics indicate that a pitcher is due for a regression. Tonight, the Angels are starting Jaime Barria, who owns a 3.67 ERA but a 4.58 FIP and 4.64 xFIP. In his 20 starts, he’s only striking out batters at an 18.4% clip and owns a hard-contract rate of 37.8%. Barria also struggles with right-handed batters, which is problematic tonight, as Houston is loaded with right-handed power.

On the other side is Framber Valdez, who will be making his second career major league start and only his third above the Double-A level. The Angels tend to strike out against right-handed pitching but much like all young pitchers, a blowup is potentially always around the corner.

Prediction: Over 9

909 Arizona Diamondbacks at 910 Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:10 p.m. CT

I whiffed on the over last night in the Diamondbacks-Dodgers game, as I was overly reliant on the eye-popping trends that suggested the matchup would be high-scoring. The two teams combined to score just four runs and I see tonight’s game also turning into a pitcher’s duel.

The Dodgers mash right-handed pitching but Zack Greinke is in the midst of another fine season, posting excellent strikeout (25.3%) and walk (5.0%) rates. He has been hit hard over his 27 starts this season (40.3% hard-contact rate) but this is a difficult matchup for L.A.’s offense.

The same can be said for the D-Backs, who take on Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers’ lefty has been solid this season, striking out batters at nearly a 30% clip and generating an excellent groundball rate of 51.3%. With two quality starters pitching in a pitcher-friendly park, I like the under in L.A. tonight.

Prediction: Under 7.5


148 Colorado Buffaloes vs. Colorado State Rams, 8:30 p.m. CT

Colorado State allowed 43 points at home last week to a Hawaii team that was a 17-point underdog at kickoff. The Rams defense looked as horrendous last week as it did in 2017 and there was reason to believe at the start of the season that their offense would regress (so what’s to like about this Colorado State team in 2018?).

Meanwhile, Mike MacIntyre’s Buffalos took a step back last season after a dream season in 2016. At least quarterback Steven Montez is back and while experience is a problem everyone else on this Colorado offense, athleticism is not. It might take the Buffs a quarter or two to get rolling offensively but eventually, they should pull away against that Rams defense.

Prediction: Colorado Buffaloes -7

Season Prediction Records

MLB: 34-16 (68.0%)

College Football: 2-0 (100.0%)

More: Mike Yeo Sees No Reason Blues Can’t Have a Top-10 Power Play This Season