MLB Pitching Preview: Sharp Shooters Worth Backing with Picks

Doug Upstone

Friday, August 7, 2015 2:36 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 2:36 PM UTC

If you prefer watching talented pitchers who can dazzle opposing hitters, today we be a very good opportunity to take a hard look at the betting odds being delivered by the sportsbooks.

With six big guns facing off against each other, for baseball handicappers and those putting together sports picks alike, perusing the MLB odds creates a lot of mixed emotions on which way to turn. With my recent 32-21 record over the 18 days, I will try and sort through these and arrive at quality answers.


Dodgers vs. Pirates: Kershaw & Cole, a Dick Enberg "Oh My!"
Clayton Kershaw (9-6, 2.37 ERA) is back to being who he's been in the past, a thoroughly dominating hurler who can be untouchable. After seeing teammate Zack Greinke put up 45 2/3 scoreless innings just a couple weeks ago, Kershaw is at 37 and could surpass him with a complete shutout.

It is hard to imagine Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole (2.29) would have second billing to any pitcher, leading the majors in victories (14-5), yet that where right-hander finds himself tonight. Cole has made 21 start this season and has lasted at least six innings in 17 of them. The oddity is all four he came short of that figure were against Cincinnati and the Pirates are 15-2 with Cole in games not against the Reds and his ERA is 1.68.

Kershaw and the Dodgers are around -135 road favorites at Heritage or most other books, which makes it 100 CONSECUTIVE times the lefty has been a favorite. (not a misprint) Kershaw is 2-1 with 2.39 ERA against the Pirates in eight starts and Cole is 2-0 with 4.50 ERA versus the Dodgers. Though Kershaw is my favorite pitcher to watch in baseball, Pittsburgh is 36-18 at PNC Park and 18-3 on Friday's in the same yard and it seems like too much value to pass up for MLB picks.

Slight Advantage - Cole and Pittsburgh


Astros vs. Athletics: All Aces In Oak-Town
On most nights this would be the featured pitching matchup of the day with Dallas Keuchel (13-5, 2.35 ERA) facing Sonny Gray (11-4, 2.12). But this is not an ordinary day and despite pitching for the same teams the past few years, this will be their first duel.

In today's game, Keuchel is the Robert Downey Jr. of pitchers (Iron Man) with 33 straight starts of at least six innings. The left-hander is 2-2 lifetime against Oakland, but has not allowed an earned run against the A's in 16 innings this season over two starts and helped contribute to Oakland's dreary 9-20 mark versus port-siders.

The Athletics have won six of the past seven of Gray's starts, including three in a row, in which he tossed 25 innings, allowing 19 hits and only three runs. Gray is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros and he and his team are +105 home underdogs. In truth, this is about an impossible choice and will only lean with Houston because they have the better team.

Slight Advantage - Keuchel and Houston

Must Read: Stellar Picks for Friday to Improve 100-54 Record

Mets vs. Rays: Pay Attention to Pitching Matchup in West Florida
The first place New York Mets have won six straight and nine of 11 and venture over to an AL city to take on Tampa Bay. All-Star Jacob deGrom (10-6, 2.09) has numbers approaching Kershaw's recent streak, with a 1.22 ERA over his last six outings, which includes three road wins. He and his fellow New York starters have a an incredible 1.44 ERA during this win streak and have seen the offense generate 5.8 runs per game.

Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi's (6-6, 2.86) numbers might not be the same as the other five studs mentioned here, but don't sell him short. The 25-year old righty has a 1.41 ERA in seven starts at Tropicana Field and would have a better record with more run support.

The Mets are -120 away faves and deGrom and his pals are 10-2 on the road when the money line is +125 to -125 the last two seasons. Though the Mets are truly amazing these days, I cannot overlook their 10-27 record in night games which tempers my enthusiasm for New York.

Slight Advantage - deGrom and New York

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