MLB Picks: Handicapping Friday's Starting Pitchers

Doug Upstone

Friday, April 17, 2015 3:53 PM GMT

For those constructing MLB picks based on starting pitchers, there are more aces going today than what you will find at a casino poker table. Many are good sized favorites in the betting odds.

Nonetheless, maybe their ways to implement them and their teams into sports picks versus the MLB Odds and we will examine the possibilities.

 

Rockies vs. Dodgers: Studs to Consider
Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer will both take the mound for their respective teams and each has been an elite hurler for at least two seasons, which is why they are paid the big coin. With success are they not only paid a lot of money, but sportsbooks slap a heavy price tag on them against the betting odds.

The Dodgers left-hander has not looked like himself and has a 5.84 ERA after two starts. As a -260 favorite against a team playing as well as Colorado, taking the underdog would appear a possibility, but Kershaw has a 1.38 ERA in 11 starts at Dodger Stadium against Colorado. Let’s rule out a money line play on Kershaw and look at the run line which is -1.5 (-115). This could be a good choice but what worries me is the betting odds at 6.5 on the total. As brilliant as Kershaw was season ago, he was just 10-8 on the run line (no exact date available, but one can assume close to two units or more to the negative) on totals of 6.5 or less. Probably best to pass the way the Rockies are playing.

Scherzer on the other hand is -240 on the ML with a RL number of -110. With the total at 7 and Philadelphia scoring 2.4 runs per contest, as 5-2 or 5-3 outcome would not be a surprise in Washington’s favor.

Grade – Kershaw – Pass, Scherzer - B

 

White Sox vs. Tigers: Pitching Mismatch
Of course a pitcher form can change from start to start, but Jeff Samardijza vs. David Price has the look of mismatch when heading to the window for sports picks. The White Sox are tallying a mere three runs a game and Price has only surrendered seven total runs in four home starts against the Pale Hose. Samardijza has started like the same struggling pitcher he was for a good chunk of his Chicago Cubs career with a 6.23 ERA and faces a powerful Tigers lineup which is averaging six runs a contest. The -175 price tag is hefty, but as a MLB baseball handicapper I see this as one-way action.

Grade – B (lowered because of higher ML)

 

Reds vs. Cardinals: Pitcher in Trouble
Though Cleveland and Minnesota have similar records, the Indians are a rising favorite. Cleveland was sent out as -140 road favorites in the Twin Cities and despite not having a couple of regulars in the batting order due to injury, they are up to -170 favorites. No question Corey Kluber taking the ball for the Tribe is a factor, but an even large one in my opinion is Mike Pelfrey the Minnesota starting pitcher. It’s been years since Pelfrey was even an average big league pitcher and he seldom lasts five innings, whether he allows two runs or five. The price of a MLB Pick on the money line has gotten a bit high, thus I downgraded.

Grade – B (Play Against)

 

Braves vs. Blue Jays: Hurler with Upset Potential
Atlanta has began the season better than expected at 6-3, but when looking over the starting pitchers and everyday lineup, being under .500 is in their future. However, about every five days the Braves chances to win will improve thanks to Julio Teheran (2-0, 1.50 ERA). At +135, Atlanta should be worth a look with Teheran able to control Toronto’s feast or famine offense. If the Braves can post early runs, they are a live underdog on the road with their ace on the mound.

Grade – B