On the Sunday docket, baseball handicappers and those making sports picks see three huge favorites and have to make a decision quite possibly about how to view their MLB odds.
Traditional baseball handicapping methods would be to pass on such a favorite or investigate the run line possibilities for them as MLB picks. You could also look at the other side and make a play on the underdogs, knowing full well this is a chancy proposition because sportbooks by the numbers are telling us these non-favorites have about a 40 percent or less chance to win.
What is the right way to play these chalky favorites, let's look into it.
Rockies vs. Nationals: Washington Needs Scherzer Big Time
It has not been a good week for Washington, having fallen out of first place, looking like a club that is going in reverse instead of headed to World Series as many projected. With yesterday's win over Colorado and the Mets defeat, the Nationals sit just one game behind New York in the loss column in the NL East and have a monstrous 10-game Western swing which begins tomorrow.
While Washington players are saying all the right things about how they expect to make the playoffs and come through, that is not a universal view. Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.31 ERA) and the Nationals have hefty -245 betting odds (Wagerweb.ag at -240) over Colorado as they look to take the series. While nobody is going to expect Washington to lose to the Rockies and Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.54), the Nats right-hander has not been nearly as dominant, as he was the first three months, with an ERA over 3.50 since July, compared 1.79 from April-June.
Though Colorado had a stunning victory in the series opener, they are still 4-28 as an underdog of +175 to +250 the last two seasons and Scherzer is 19-1 as a home favorite of -175 to -250 since 2013. (Team's Record)
Advantage - Scherzer and Washington
Mets vs. Rays Matchup: Archer Takes Shot at derailing the Mets Again
Tampa Bay ended New York's seven game win streak with 5-4 win last evening. Chris Archer (10-8, 2.54) got back on the beam in his last outing, a win over the White Sox, after a six start span in which he was 0-4 with a 3.96 ERA. In that time there was only one truly ugly start against Kansas City (nine runs allowed).
Archer and the Rays are -170 favorite over the first place Mets who will start Bartolo Colon (10-10, 4.72) His last start was his first victory in eight outings and he was given a big early cushion in New York's 12-1 romp at Miami on Monday. Otherwise, Colon has been alternating good and bad starts since the middle of June and by that reasoning is due for a poor showing.
The Mets are a super 24-10 in day games, but they are still 21-33 on the road and 14-36 as an underdog of +100 or higher this season. Archer and the Rays get the nod, just not in overwhelming fashion.
Slight Advantage - Archer and Tampa Bay
Phillies vs. Padres: Is Cashner and Padres a Trustworthy Favorite?
It has been a very challenging season for Andrew Cashner (4-11, 4.08) and San Diego, who were thought to be a possible contender to L.A. Dodgers in the NL West and a realistic wild card threat. But that has not and will not happen for the Padres who have lost five in a row to fall to 52-59 (-8.1 units).
Cashner has suffered from low run support all season, but he's not helped himself with an ERA over four and already allowing a career-high 15 long balls. In truth, a more realistic reason the San Diego is such a big -175 home favorite is they are facing the Phillies Jerome Williams (3-8, 6.09), who is 0-6 with an 8.02 ERA in nine road starts and 0-5 with a 7.17 ERA in his last nine overall.
However, do not dismiss Philadelphia and Williams completely since they are a major league-best 15-5 since the break, have taken the first two games of the series and are 29-10 at Petco Park and seeking their sixth sweep there in 12 years. In addition, Williams is 3-3 in seven outings versus San Diego with a 2.18 ERA, his best mark against any opponent.
Slight Disadvantage - Cashner and San Diego