Projected Scoring Makes 'Over' Alluring Bet Between Yankees and Orioles

Rainman M.

Friday, April 6, 2018 11:36 AM UTC

Friday, Apr. 6, 2018 11:36 AM UTC

The Yankees and Orioles play game No. 2 of their four-game series in New York tonight at 7:05 ET on the MLB Network. Can we find solid betting value in the total set at 9.5 runs?

Baltimore Orioles (2-5, 1-6 O/U) at New York Yankees (4-3, 3-4 O/U)Free MLB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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In order to get an early start on upping the bankroll, a wise capping move before the season is to gather one's list of pitchers who are worth fading in the opening month because they typically need extra time to gain a consistent foothold in the new season. Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is one of those pitchers with a career 6.43 ERA in March/April. In his first start vs. Minnesota, he didn't make it to the fifth inning, giving up six earned runs and three home runs in the process.

Gausman's history against active Yankee batters doesn't offer much hope for improvement this month. In 119 career at-bats against Gausman, the Yanks are hitting .319 with five home runs. AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge leads the team with three homers against him -- he hit one Thursday and is primed to hit another tonight. Gausman's main problem is with control. If a pitcher can't locate his pitches, then he doesn't have a chance. Last season, Gausman's BB/9 rate was a career-high 3.42 despite achieving his second-highest first-pitch strike rate ever. His walk rate currently sits at 4.50.

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Yankee Stadium is a notoriously strong hitters' park, especially for power. So Gausman is at a stylistic disadvantage by being a pitcher who induces a high proportion of fly balls -- more of them are likely to turn into home runs. Last season, his ERA was 11.57 in two starts at Yankee Stadium, giving up three home runs. O's starter Andrew Cashner allowed just one run to the Yanks on Thursday, but his 4.96 FIP indicates that he was very lucky to do so. Gausman won't have the same luck tonight.

CC Sabathia (1-0, 1.80 ERA) starts for NYY. The O's hitters have seen much of Sabathia and they have enjoyed consistent success against the southpaw. Last season, Sabathia allowed a 7.41 ERA in three starts against the O's. His struggles against them continued even while, otherwise, he was improving his ERA in the second half of the season. Baltimore's best hitters have led the attack against him. Manny Machado is due to become a free agent at the end of the season, and he is extra motivated to earn a huge contract. He is hitting .353 in 51 at-bats with six doubles and three home runs in his career vs Sabathia. Adam Jones, who is likewise is slated for free agency, is also above .300 vs Sabathia. Jonathan Schoop is building off his breakout year last season, batting .308 on the season. He hit .300 against lefties last season. As a whole, the Orioles' OPS (on-base plus slugging; average is about .720) is a solid .856 against southpaws so far.

The Yanks/Orioles matchup is a consistent 'over' play. In 10 of their last 11 meetings, the 'over' hit, as it did in five of their last six in Yankee Stadium. Both bullpens have been struggling this season, each one ranking in the bottom 10 in terms of ERA, and that will help out our case. Giancarlo Stanton has displayed some jitters in his new uniform. He will surely turn things around. But even without his production, we can expect another 'over' in our MLB Picks.

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