Sports handicapper Ian Cameron provides an MLB betting preview of a pair of marquee series taking place this weekend from Thursday, April 21 to Sunday, April 24 in Major League Baseball.
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
I think we might see a high scoring series between two teams hoping and expecting to make some noise in the American League this season. The Red Sox and Astros both have starting rotations that have not gotten out of the gate very well. Boston has a 5.08 ERA from their starting rotation and Houston's isn't much better at 4.97 here in April. Both bullpens especially Houston's have also been vulnerable to allowing runs in the first month of the season. Boston's pen has a middle of the pack ERA and Houston has a bullpen ERA which puts them as one of the 5 worst bullpens in MLB so far this season. David Price is still trying to get comfortable with the Red Sox while the trio of Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly continue to pitch very erratic.
Nobody has stepped up and pitched well for Houston in their rotation outside of ace Dallas Keuchel. Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman and Doug Fister have not pitched well in the first month. Two capable lineups in this series should be able to take advantage of suspect pitching from both squads setting up the Over to provide some betting value for your MLB picks in games between the Red Sox and the Astros this weekend at Minute Maid Park.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals
The Baltimore Orioles who were a consensus choice to be in the basement in the AL East in 2016 have gotten off to a strong April start proving some naysayers wrong but sustaining this early success in the long-term is still the big question for Baltimore. They will be supremely tested here as they take a trip to Kansas City to face the defending World Series champions. The Royals have picked up where they left off from last season and have enjoyed a solid April including a fantastic 5-1 record in 6 home games this season at Kauffman Stadium. Baltimore has been carried by an offense that is capable of putting crooked numbers up on the scoreboard but their starting pitching has been better than anticipated although I do not believe in the depth of this rotation and think it could be a matter of time before they start to struggle.
Chris Tillman is not someone I trust, Yovani Gallardo is over the hill and not a top tier starter anymore especially based on how he has pitched in April and the same goes for Ubaldo Jimenez. There is not a lot of go-to reliable starters in this Orioles rotation and I think as the weather warms up and the lineups get stronger, we'll see the Orioles starting pitching concerns come back to haunt them. Kansas City doesn't have a dominant starting rotation but collectively their rotation has been solid and put their strong bullpen in favorable late game situations and combine that with a stellar team defense both along the infield and in the outfield, the Royals become a team that is very tough to beat when they are tied or hold a lead in the latter innings of a game.
Baltimore may enter this series priced higher as a result of a strong month of April but this is a major step up in class for the Orioles on the road against the World Series champs. I think there may be value to fade Baltimore in this series and I will be looking at spots and pitching matchups to support the Royals at decent prices on the MLB odds boards at Pinnacle over the weekend in this AL series.