Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello own a combined ERA this season of over 12. How many runs will the Tigers and Red Sox score Friday night at Fenway? Hopefully, just enough for an OVER.
Tigers-Red Sox Friday Betting Odds
As of Friday morning the best price we could find on Boston and former Tiger Rick Porcello was the -133 at GT Bets, while Detroit and Justin Verlander were getting +125 at JustBet. And every book on our MLB odds board listed a total on tonight's game of nine runs.
Boston began the “second half” with some hope, after going 9-4 into the All-Star break, but has fallen flat on its face, losing its first seven games post-break. The Sox just got swept three games at Houston, losing Thursday 5-4 on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth, and just before that they got swept four games out in Anaheim.
At 42-54 Boston owns the worst record in the American League, and sits 9.5 games from the second AL wild-card slot.
Detroit hasn't fared all that much better as of late, losing seven of its last 10 games. The Tigers just split four games at home with Seattle, losing Thursday 3-2 in 12 innings, and just before that they lost two of three at home to Baltimore.
At 47-48 lethargic Detroit trails Minnesota by four games in the battle for that second American League wild-card spot.
This is the first meeting between these teams this season; last season the Tigers took five of six games from the Sox.
Friday's Pitching Match-Up
Porcello (5-10, 5.79), by our strict standards, is just six-for-18 on quality starts this season, and just one for his last seven. Last Saturday he allowed three runs – two earned – through just five innings against the Angels, and over his last seven starts he owns a 7.32 ERA (29 ER through 35 2/3 innings). On the season Porcello has permitted 123 hits, including 18 homers, through 106 innings, although his strikeouts/walks ratio is decent, at 84/26.
Boston is 8-10 in Porcello's starts, with the totals going 8-9.
This will be Porcello's first-ever start against his former team, and while we sometimes believe that can give a pitcher an advantage, in this case we'll make an exception.
Verlander (0-3, 6.62) is two-for-six on quality starts, basically alternating good/bad starts since beginning his season six weeks ago. In his first start he gave up two runs; then he gave up six; since then he's allowed three, seven, one and seven runs. Last Sunday Baltimore got him for a touchdown in less than four innings of a 9-3 Detroit defeat. For his limited season Verlander has allowed 39 hits, including eight dingers, through 34 innings, walked 12 and struck out 22.
Detroit is a perfect 0-6 in Verlander's starts, and the OVERS are also perfect at 6-0.
Verlander last faced the Sox back in 2013, when over two starts, one in the playoffs, he gave up five runs through 13 innings.
Friday's Batting Splits
Detroit leads the Majors this season against right-handed pitching in both team batting average at .279 and in team on-base percentage at .333. And neither of those figures has been affected much by the absence of Miguel Cabrera, who's on the DL with a pulled calf.
Boston, meanwhile, ranks ninth against righties with both a .261 average and a .323 OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Fenway Park this season are 23-20 on the UNDERS, even though they're averaging 9.4 runs per, fourth-most among all ML ballparks. Obviously, odds makers have been posting some large totals on Sox home games.
Tigers-Sox Friday Free Picks
We have no idea who's going to win this game, and wouldn't bet either team right now with your money. But with these two starting pitchers and these two bullpens, which both rank in the bottom third in the Bigs, we're thinking this game should go OVER.
MLB Pick: OVER nine runs (-105) at 5Dimes