Free Baseball Picks: Indians Scalp Angels Yet Again

Cleveland Indians

Sunday, August 14, 2016 1:44 PM GMT

On the season for those betting baseball, you're always friendly MLB handicapper has been doing his job for readers at 31-14, +13.35 units. On Sunday, we go after another winner being televised on TBS.

After playing better than average baseball since the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beginning August 4th started losing and have been taking a real beating sense. Cleveland on the other hand has been mostly a .500 club since the break and has seen Detroit make a run at them in the AL Central, only to fall back in recent days.

For the Angels, this will conclude another harrowing road trip, which even has Mickey Mouse looking away. What should you be on for MLB picks, let's find out.

Pitching Matchup - Weaver vs. Bauer
If you have been a fan of watching Jered Weaver (8-9, 5.19 ERA and 1.47 WHIP) like this handicapper, this is not easy on the eyes. Weaver was never a hard thrower, but early in career owned low 90's fastball and a quality variety of breaking pitches, along with plus-plus changeup (scouts talk). Those days are in the rearview mirror and today he barely manages to get by on guile and pitching knowledge. Weaver has only struck-out 67 batters in 128 1/3 innings, while permitting 154 hits, 25 which have cleared the fence.

Trevor Bauer (8-5, 3.88, 1.32) will never be the ace of a staff, but with each passing season, the still just 25-year old is making annual improvements. Surrounded by an excellent supporting cast of starting pitchers, Bauer has been reducing his walks, trusting his fastball more and is on pace for career-lows in on-base percentage allowed and slugging percentage surrendered. Under the guidance of manager Terry Francona, he's just learning to pitch and allow batters to make outs.

Offensive Numbers
Seeing Cleveland in spring training, you knew the pitching was in place, but where was the offense going to come from? To the Indians credit, it has been a team effort. Cleveland averages 5.1 runs per game on the season, thanks to a plethora of continual base-runners. Jose Ramirez, Tyler Naquin, Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnes and even Lonnie Chisenhall have OBP's percentages at or north of .350, with Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana being the big boppers. This has all been accomplished without Michael Brantley, their best bat coming into the season.

Outside of Mike Trout and a resurgent Albert Pujols, the Halos 4.6 runs a game is rather hallow. The Angels do have moments where everyone comes together, but the lineup card is too full of pedestrian hitters, who could be hid on a better squad, but stick out on a team that is in last place. Given current state, not much to like here.

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The opening MLB odds at 5Dimes had Cleveland as -190 favorites with total of 9. In the last three seasons, Cleveland is 7-2 at Progressive Field (as of 8/13) when the Angels pay a visit, with the OVER 6-3. The Tribe also have the edge when it comes to bullpens ranked sixth in ERA, compared to L.A. at 11th.

Game Outcome
This is a big money line to back Cleveland, but sometimes in the second half of the season you might have to take bigger risks to find winners. Given Weaver's struggles anymore, a pretty good case could be made for taking the Indians on the run line, which reduces risk, but creates added pressure on what has been a hot Tribe offense of late. As long as we are below -200, betting Cleveland on the money line is my preferred choice.

Free MLB Play: Cleveland Wins
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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