In Wednesday’s Pitcher Report we will examine three teams who are all below .500; (two on the road) yet are all favored by MLB odds today. Why, because who their aces pitching.
First and foremost when reviewing the betting odds to make MLB picks, the starting pitchers are the top criteria to use first and everything else follows. What are the chances of all three favorites to win playing on inferior clubs, time to find out.
Reds vs. Phillies: Hamels Goes for Philadelphia
In the not too distant future, the Phillies are expected to trade their top asset, Cole Hamels (5-4, 2.91 ERA) for prospects as Philadelphia continues the process of rebuilding. At least this evening Hamels will still wear a Phillies uniform and according to Wagerweb he and his team are -130 home favorites over Cincinnati.
As far as trade bait Hamels could hardly be more valuable, with a 4-1 mark and 1.69 ERA in his last five starts, striking out 38 in 37 1/3 innings over that stretch and walking only six. The left-hander has always had a low 90’s fastball, sweeping curve and knee-buckling change and when Cliff Lee was his teammate, he picked up the cutter to add to his already potent arsenal. There is plenty to like about Hamels tonight as a MLB baseball handicapper, since in 13 career starts against the Reds he is 10-0 with a marvelous 1.36 ERA.
The only real concern about backing Philadelphia is Philadelphia. The Phillies ended their seven-game losing streak last night mostly because they reached five runs, something they failed to do in previous seven tries. And while Reds starter Mike Leake has been horrific in his past three outings (12.86 ERA), the Phils only scored 3.1 runs a game, making them beatable on any occasion. With how this franchise has been falling, this explains why Hamels is 8-14 as a favorite of -125 to -175 the last three seasons. (Phillies Record)
Slight Advantage – Hamels and Philadelphia
White Sox vs. Rangers: Sale and Sox Bigger than Anticipated Favorites
After a bumpy stretch from his suspension, Chris Sale (4-2, 3.66) has gotten back in his usual groove with a 1.71 ERA and an uncanny 40 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings over his last four starts. The MLB betting odds have Chicago as a -130 away favorite, but think this through before betting blindly on stud lefty.
Texas is on an 11-2 roll and in their past 11 contests; the Rangers offense has run roughshod on opposing pitchers in scoring 7.5 RPG and taking 18 baseballs over the wall. Texas starter Nick Martinez (4-1, 2.03) is no flunky and has a team record of 16 consecutive starts allowing three or fewer earned runs. Also, Texas bats have not been easy on Sale, since his 4.62 ERA against them is the highest versus any AL foe. With Martinez and Texas 8-2 as an underdog of +100 or higher this season, using the Rangers for sports picks might be the smarter choice.
Disdvantage – Sale and Chicago
Indians vs. Royals: Cleveland Favored Again with Kluber
Does it feel a little odd that the Indians at 25-26 (-5.3 units) for a second night in a row are favored at Kansas City? The oddsmakers were correct in having Cleveland favored last night and with the way the Tribe is playing and the Royals slumping, the visitor is a -140 favorite.
After a nasty start, Corey Kluber (3-5, 3.52) has returned to his Cy Young form and since May 13th, his 1.41 ERA in the best in the big leagues with any pitcher throwing a minimum of 30 innings. The same cannot be said of K.C. starter Jason Vargas (3-2) who as an earned run average of 5.16. Kansas City’s offense has gone meat freezer cold in losing six of seven, scoring 2.1 RPG, while Cleveland has gotten terrific pitching and hitting on this torrid 11-3 period.
Kansas City is going to break out of this funk, but this does not appear to be the right situation and the Indians are 8-1 after scoring and allowing three runs or less this season.
Slight Advantage – Kluber and Cleveland