MLB Picks: Thursday's Pitcher Report Highlights Betting Edge

Doug Upstone

Thursday, April 23, 2015 2:22 PM GMT

Yesterday we has a number of marquee pitching matchups and while today’s may not be quite as exciting, they are no less interesting to those perusing the MLB odds based on who they are.

Here is breakdown of three key starting pitcher battle which will take place today; making your MLB picks a bit more challenging.

 

Scherzer Given Edge against Washington Nemesis
Some fans might think Max Scherzer (1-1) should be 3-0 to justify his 210 million contract and he could be with a few more timely hits from his teammates. However, the right-hander has done his job, allowing two earned runs while striking out 25 in 21 2/3 innings.Besides the 25 K’s, Scherzer has walked only four and likes where he is at the time. "I feel like I'm pounding the zone," Scherzer told MLB's official website. "As long as you pound the zone and don't allow any free passes, it's usually a good sign of what you're doing."

But the Nationals did not give him all that money to dominate the Phillies, which he’s done twice; they need him to be the difference in the big games. Washington has lost 13 of their past 16 games (including the postseason) to St. Louis and a victory would help them take the series. Beating the Cardinals in April is not going to make or break their season, but from a mental perspective, to finally earn an edge would and that is why they need Scherzer to have an outstanding outing.

Sportsbooks have the Nats as -135 favorites with the total at 6.5. Because this is 4:05 start in Washington, Scherzer and Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.35) will have the benefit of shadows from the stadium overhang which could make the pitchers harder to pick up. The Nationals deserve to be favored with their high-priced ace and are counting on to improve upon 27-5 mark as a home favorite of -110 or higher the last three seasons. (Team's record)

Grade – B (for Washington)

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No Discounting the Value of the White Sox Sale
The Chicago White Sox trail Kansas City by 4.5 games in the standings thanks to a 6-8 start and they can narrow the gap as they start a four-game home series with the Royals. The series opener should be fantastic with Yordano Ventura (2-1, 4.80) going for Kansas City and Chris Sale (2-0, 2.25) taking the ball for Chicago.

The White Sox like Washington has demons against certain teams and K.C. is who is spooking them these days. Chicago is 3-14 in recent meetings with the Royals and has lost 15 of 18 at home to them. This is precisely why the Pale Hose need a brilliantly pitched game from Sale, because the offense has only averaged 2.6 runs per game against all Kansas City pitchers in their last 17 outings.

Sale is 6-6 in 13 starts against the Royals, posting a 2.61 ERA and received an average 2.3 runs of support. Those working the MLB odds are using Sale and Chicago for their MLB picks and taken them from -140 to -150. As a MLB baseball handicapper that is a pretty hefty price to pay given how Kansas City is one of the best teams thus far, but Sale is the real deal and if you shop around or possibly wait, you could find a better price that would offer more value.

Grade – C (For Chicago, grade goes up at -140 or lower)

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Cash in with these MLB picks our experts selected for you

Clash in Clearwater
Tampa Bay got a much needed come from behind win against Boston last night with a 7-5 victory. Next up for the Rays is solving Clay Buchholz (1-2, 6.06), who has 23 consecutive scoreless innings on the road. As noted by Buchholz current ERA, he can be handled and if Rays hitters have early success to rattle him, as it has been proven, poor early innings almost always lead to poor results for the Red Sox righty.

Jake Odorizzi (2-1, 1.74) will be opposing pitcher and a huge key for him is throwing strikes since Boston leads the AL in walks. However, Odorizzi has been pounding the strike zone, giving up only five walks in 20 2/3 innings and when matched with how well he’s thrown, he has an AL-best 0.68 WHIP.

This contest is a Pick (-105) and while Odorizzi has been terrific, Buchholz and the BoSox are 9-0 in road games versus teams who strand 6.9 or less runners on base per game the last three seasons.

Grade – C (for Boston)