Yesterday was fun.
By the top of the fifth inning in the Brewers-Nationals matchup, the two teams had already cashed the over 9.5. But my other over, Twins-Rangers, looked bleak as the two teams combined for just three runs in the first five innings. Uh, the total was 12, by the way.
Then Texas struck, and struck hard.
The Rangers racked up nine runs in the sixth inning alone while taking a 12-0 lead in route to an 18-4 victory over the Twins. Given how the game was progressing, it was an improbable win but those are the most fun, right? A LSU (+3) romp over Miami last night gave me a perfect 3-0 Sunday.
Now 38-18 in baseball and 6-1 in college football, here’s what I like on Labor Day…
951 St. Louis Cardinals at 952 Washington Nationals, 12:05 p.m. CT
Jack Flaherty has struck out batters at a 31% clip this season and has been tough on both left and right-handed hitters. Max Scherzer, meanwhile, owns a 34% strikeout rate and has limited soft contact (25%) all year. Even though the Cards have turned things around under Mike Shildt, their average strikeout rate is 22% against right-handed pitching. So we have two studs on the mound with elite strikeout rates pitching in a pitcher-friendly park. Sometimes the most obvious play isn’t the correct one in sports betting but then again, it’s often best not to overthink things.
Prediction: Under 7.5
953 Philadelphia Phillies at 954 Miami Marlins, 12:10 p.m. CT
The Phillies are in a deep offensive funk and they’re not going to be helped by Marlins Park, which is one of the best pitcher’s yards in baseball. Jose Urena usually isn’t a pitcher I target when it comes to taking the under but he’s actually pitched well at home this year (at least compared to on the road) and the Phillies strike out a ton (21%). The same goes for the Marlins, who strike out at a rate of 24% against right-handed pitching. Vince Velasquez has not been sharp in the second half and the 9.8% walk rate is concerning. That said, he’s striking out batters at a 26.2% clip so he should limit the damage against a light-hitting Miami lineup. One other note on this matchuo: Although 70% of the betting tickets are on the over, 85% of the money (as of Monday morning) is on the under and the total has shifted from 8 to 7.5. Looks like the sharps are also on the under.
Prediction: Under 7.5
965 Detroit Tigers at 966 Chicago White Sox, 1:10 p.m. CT
There’s one of two ways this game plays out: Either the two teams combine for about four runs or it’s a slugfest because we have two mediocre pitchers going against two mediocre offenses. That said, I’m willing to take the risk on the over because both Michael Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez have gotten hit hard this season and the total sits at only 8 runs at some sportsbooks. This is one of those games where the over will cash by the fifth inning or I’ll say, “Well of course the Tigers and White Sox didn’t hit today – neither team can hit.” Still, I’m rolling the dice.
Prediction: Over 8
971 Kansas City Royals at 972 Cleveland Indians, 3:10 p.m. CT
Jakob Junis has some talent but he gives up a ton of home runs, which doesn’t bode well today in a matchup against the Indians. Cleveland mashes, especially at home, and especially against right-handed pitching. Adam Plutko will start for the Tribe and he hasn’t pitched well in his nine starts this season. The Royals are a light-hitting team with limited talent but they did strike for nine runs on Sunday at home against the Orioles and Plutko is striking out batters at just an 18% rate. He’s also an extreme fly-ball pitcher that gives up plenty of hard contact.
Prediction: Over 9.5
219 Virginia Tech Hokies at 220 Florida State Seminoles, 7:00 p.m. CT
The final Week 1 matchup in college football should be a good one as ACC rivals Virginia Tech and Florida State battle in Tallahassee. Both of these teams lost a bunch of defensive talent to the NFL last year and the Seminoles have a brand new coaching staff led by Willie Taggart. Even though this is a conference matchup and the number feels a tad high, I don’t think Virginia Tech will be prepared to slow down Taggart’s up-tempo offense. If this game were played in the middle of the season when Bud Foster’s players settled into their roles on defense, then I’d gladly take the touchdown with the Hokies. But I could see VA Tech losing ground early and the Seminoles playing well in efforts to wash out what turned out to be a horrible 2017 campaign that started with so much promise.
Prediction: Florida State -7
MLB: 38-18 (68.0%)
College Football: 6-1 (86.0%)