Starters to Hold Their Own Early in San Diego

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, April 9, 2017 4:31 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 9, 2017 4:31 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper has been following these starting pitchers closely, and thinks there is an opportunity to profit early in this game. Read on as he gives his 1st 5 inning pick between this NL West showdown.

San Francisco Giants vs San Diego Padres

In an early 2017 NL West series, the San Francisco Giants look to avoid a sweep against the pesky San Diego Padres who were not expected to be competitive in the division. San Francisco brings Johnny Cueto to the mound to stop the bleeding, while San Diego turns to Clayton Richard who is fresh off of shutting out the Los Angeles Dodgers. The odds makers have the visiting Giants as high as a -155 moneyline favorite over at Bovada, while the O/U total sits at both 7 and 7.5 runs depending on where you look.

In Richard’s last start I backed him as an almost even money run line underdog against the NL West favorite Los Angeles Dodgers. One of my reasons for thinking he could keep the score close was his tendency to limit home runs. He did that in spades against Los Angeles, picking up a strong 80% ground ball rate in that 4-0 Padres shutout of the Dodgers. Here he gets a turn at home where the ballpark has even less risk for home runs, and San Francisco bullpen has been taxed in the first two games of the series.

Starting for the San Francisco Giants is Johnny Cueto, who did not limit home runs in his first start. Cueto gave up 2 home runs and 5 earned runs over five innings against Arizona, even though he picked up the win in an 8-4 game. If you look at Cueto’s career numbers though, he is an ace across the board regardless of the rock performance last week. Last year, Cueto put up a 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and .236 batting average allowed.

San Francisco has started their season just 1-4 in the win column as favorites in each game. Not exactly a team we are looking to back here on the moneyline as a steep favorite. On the other hand, they have cashed the Over in all 5 games played in 2017, They are rewarded here with the lowest O/U total of the season being posted by sportsbooks. That is sure to bait uninformed bettors to jump all over the Over, as they back the early season trend started by the Giants.

I’m not taking that bait though. Clayton Richard just shut out the best offense in his division, and Johnny Cueto has shown over years that he is an absolute ace. Both of their presence in Petco Field in April should only increase their value here. I like the value presented by the Under, but just for the starting pitchers. For that reason I am taking Under 4 runs in the first 5 innings -115 at Pinnacle as one of my Sunday MLB Picks.

Free MLB Pick: Under 4 1HBest Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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