The big USA holiday weekend kicks off today with quite a bit of activity for sports picks. Our focus will be on dissecting the MLB odds the sportsbooks have released.
Phillies vs. Nationals: Washington to Punish Philadelphia
It took longer than most baseball handicappers thought it would, but Washington is in first place in the NL East and I think everyone would agree they probably are unlikely to relinquish it anytime soon. It all started on April 28th, trailing 10-2 in Atlanta and really playing lousy baseball, the Nationals started to hit and finally believe and came back to win that contest 13-12. Starting that night, Washington is a major-league best 17-4. That win ignited the offense and since then they averaged a whopping 6.4 runs per game.
Though his record does not show it just yet, Max Scherzer (4-3, 1.75 ERA) has been of the best starters in the game averaging better than seven innings per outing with a 0.92 WHIP and 66 strikeouts, which both rank among the top five in baseball. Scherzer will oppose Sean O'Sullivan (1-2, 3.68) for a third time this season and the Phillies right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA. The MLB odds have Washington as -290 money line favorite and if that seems inflated, it is compared to the run line which has the Nationals at -125 (-1.5).
Given the way Scherzer is throwing, the Nats offensive prowess and the fact the Phils average 3.2 RPG, the RL is the best value play for MLB picks. You can also use this play with confidence since ‘Mad Max’ is 8-0 on the RL in home games against a club with a losing record the last seasons (Team's Record); winning by 3.9 runs a contest.
MLB Pick – Washington RL (-125)
Reds vs. Indians: Cleveland Beginning to Pick up the Pieces
It is not a foregone conclusion; more of a sign there is still hope. Last place Cleveland returns home after winning consecutive series for the first time (there only series win was opener versus Houston). The latter was particularly important being four games against division rival Chicago and is within six games of being .500 at 17-23 (-9.8 units).
The Indians will host state rival Cincinnati and will look to solve their conundrum at Progressive Field where they are only 6-12 this year. Carlos Carrasco (4-4, 4.98) will be entrusted to deliver a winning performance against Cincinnati’s Mike Leake (2-2, 3.62) and he’s not faced the Reds since 2011. This is not the same Reds outfit Carrasco saw the last time, since this group scores a mere 3.8 RPG and is on a five-game losing streak.
Places like Wagerweb.ag have Cleveland at what seems to be a bigger than expected number at -150, however, Cincy is 2-13 in last 15 interleague road games and is 8-26 as an away underdog of +125 to +150 the last three seasons.
MLB Pick – Cleveland -150
Twins vs. White Sox: Chicago Should be Motivated
For those of you reading my articles here, I generally stick with the numbers, facts and logical conclusions. I’m not always right, but can create a convincing argument for picks. However, this game I’m going off the grid of typical thinking.
Keep in mind when preparing your MLB picks that the Chicago White Sox after a horrific start got hot recently winning six in a row and 8 of 9, than the offense disappeared again in losing three in a row to Cleveland, which has to leave a sour taste in their collective mouths.
But I am not expecting the ChiSox to feel sorry for themselves with Minnesota coming to town. Chicago was at Target Field from Apr. 30th thru May 3rd and was swept in a four-game series and outscored by an embarrassing total of 31-8. While the Twins have been among the great surprises of the 2015 campaign at 23-17 (+9.6 units), we’re not talking about the New York Yankees with Derek Jeter and A-Rod in their prime.
The White Sox are a -130 home favorite in MLB betting odds and if they are not fired up to seek revenge, I would be shocked. There is no question a convincing argument could be made Minnesota is very good underdog play here, but with as quiet as the Sox bats have been, they are 7-0 after four straight games of seven or less hits and win this series opener.
MLB Pick – Chicago -130