For my total play in major league baseball tonight, I am looking at probably the most unappealing game of the day when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the Philadelphia Phillies. There are so many exciting pitching matchups today on the board, and a couple years ago this would have been one of them. With the combination of these underrated veteran pitchers against two weak offenses I will be backing under the total in this game.
Usually I don't like to pay juice on games when I can avoid it, but in this game I think there is still some value even if you have to give up paying a little bit on the line. MLB odds makers have opened up the total for this game at 8.5 with about -120 juice across the board. The best odds I have found are -119 at Pinnacle, but on a second glance while writing this that jumped to -125. The way the line is moving now it will most likely go down to 8 before the first pitch and this should reduce the juice. That number is out there right now at Heritage Sports, where the line is 8 at -105. So for me today I will back under the total of 8 at lower juice, but if you can get this game at 8.5 with a little higher juice I think that is still okay value.
For the Milwaukee Brewers Matt Garza comes in with a 5.52 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. The nine-year veteran is much better than those numbers and has shown flashes of his former self at times this season and his career ERA is 3.92. He is just coming off a rough stretch against the Royals, at Colorado, and against the Twins. It's always understandable to have a tough day at Colorado, but in his last outing against the Minnesota Twins he pitched well but simply gave up two home runs for his final line of four earned runs off of just five hits in six innings. To me that last game showed some positive signs despite the two home runs, and I look for Garza to have a very good outing against arguably the worst hitting team in the league in the Phillies. Chad Billingsley is just coming back from the DL for the Phillies and comes in with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP, but that was in only three starts this season. He has battled some injuries the past couple years but his numbers don't lie. In eight years he has a 3.69 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP with a record of 81-63. Like Garza for the Brewers, look for Billingsley to have success against a subpar offensive team in Milwaukee.
Or lack thereof should be the phrase in front of the title "hitting." In fact, I will keep the offensive summary of these two teams short and sweet. The Brewers rank 24th in runs scored per game and the Phillies rank dead last in the major leagues. And that is the theme of these two teams, they rank in the bottom part of the league in every major offensive category. Milwaukee ranks 25th in on base plus slugging percentage and Philadelphia 29th. There is not much further I can go, or any positive thing I can say about these two teams at the plate.
Garza and Billingsley have 17 years of major league experience between them. Although they have struggled recently, both on the hill and with injuries, they are still good pitchers. Look for both of them to remind us of that fact tonight.
MLB Pick: Under 8.5 at The Greek