The Run Line Value On The Tribe, As Indians Face Astros On Early Game

Cleveland Indians Player Celebrates HR

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 8, 2016 12:59 PM GMT

With a chance to gain a split in the 4-game series, Cleveland is favored on the baseball odds when the Indians take on the Houston Astros in Thursday's only afternoon matchup.

Don't expect the masses to get too excited about this afternoon's game in Cleveland between the Indians and Houston Astros. After all, they aren't exactly marquee MLB teams and the contest is being played in Cleveland.

Still, with both clubs in the thick of the American League playoff hunt, the Indians holding a 5½-game lead over Detroit in the Central Division and the Astros just two games back in the chase for the second wild-card slot, it's a huge matchup for both clubs. The only matinee on a light baseball card, action begins at 12:10 PM (ET) with Trevor Bauer on the hill for Cleveland and Houston sending David Paulino out for his major league debut.

The early morning line at 5Dimes has the Tribe -146, the take-back on Houston at +141 and an 8½ run total shading the 'under.'

Houston took the first two games of the set by scores of 6-2 and 4-3, winning Game 2 as a pronounced +180 underdog on the MLB odds while both matches stayed 'under' the totals. The Indians came back to win last night's affair, using a big 4-run fifth inning to score a 6-5 triumph that skipped past the 8½ run scoreboard barrier. The Astros are up 4-2 in the season series, totals running 2-5 O/U between the clubs the past two seasons on this diamond.

 

Can Bauer Continue His Mastery Against Astros?
Injuries have thinned Houston's rotation in recent weeks, the latest setback being shoulder soreness that is keeping reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel out of action for at least a few starts. Manager AJ Hinch essentially used his bullpen for all of the second game of this set, and today's tilt isn't much different with Paulino not expected to be in there for more than 70 pitches.

Originally part of the Tigers organization, Paulino is a tall, gangly right-hander who can reach the upper 90s with his fastball. He split his time between three minor-league levels this year, pitching to a 2.00 ERA combined in the stops and whiffing 106 against just 19 walks in 90 innings.

Bauer has been on a pretty good run since early-August, the Tribe winning five of his last six outings while he recorded a 2.61 RA in the stretch. He was outstanding in Houston about four months ago, tossing the first seven frames of a 4-0 Cleveland win and allowing only three hits while striking out seven. That victory left Bauer a perfect 4-0 in as many career starts vs. the Astros, the former UCLA star owning a microscopic 0.67 ERA along with 36 Ks in 27 innings.

 

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Crew chief Jim Joyce finishes off one full turn through the umpire rotation for this series, bringing a recent trend to the 'over' on the baseball odds into the game despite a season-long lean to the 'under.' The Toledo native has called three 'over' winners in his last four plate assignments, yet stands 7-14-1 O/U/P in 2016. Home teams have fared very well, winning 14 times in 22 tries, home chalk up to -160 running 9-2. It's his first game in Cleveland this year, though he did call a Bauer start in Boston back in May that pushed a 10 run total.

There is potential for rain in Cleveland this afternoon, chances of a thunderstorm interrupting the contest increasing as the day wears on. Temps should remain in the mid-80s for most of the game, with a solid 15-20 mph blow out of the SW-WSW (out to center/right-center).

That wind first had me thinking 'over' for my free baseball pick, and that still might be the case. But I'm going to the window with a run line play on the Tribe instead.

 

Season: 42-36 (+8.40)

 

Free MLB pick: Indians -1½ (+140) 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
 

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