The White Sox will send Chris Sale to the mound today in hopes of avoiding the brooms at Tampa. It's not often Sale is priced so low by MLB odds makers; is that enough to entice us into a play on Chicago?
Sox-Rays Sunday Betting Odds
As of early Sunday morning the best price we could find on Chicago and lefty Chris Sale was the -130 offered at 5Dimes, while Heritage was offering Tampa and Nathan Karns at +127. And most of the MLB betting odds market was listing the total on today's game at 6.5 runs.
Tampa has taken the first two games of this series, winning Friday 7-5 and Saturday 5-4. The Rays led 3-2 Saturday into the eighth inning, coughed up that lead, then scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to win it.
Earlier this week Tampa dropped two of three games to the Angels, which snapped a three-series winning streak. The Rays are 10-4 over their last 14 games, and at 34-29 overall are now tied for first place in the AL East with New York.
Earlier this week the Sox showed some life by sweeping three games from AL West-leading Houston, breaking a two-series losing streak. But at 28-32 Chicago sits in last place in the AL Central, 6.5 games behind first-place Kansas City.
This is the first series matching these teams this season. Last year Chicago took five of seven games from Tampa, with the totals going 4-2-1.
Sunday's Starting Pitchers
Karns (3-3, 3.86) is just three-for-12 on quality starts this season, but some of that can be attributed to a short leash. However, Tuesday he gave up four earned runs through 5 2/3 innings against the Angels, and just before, also against the Angels, he gave up four runs in five innings. For the season Karns has held opponents to fewer hits, 54, than innings pitched, 67 2/3, and struck out 60, although the nine homers and 29 walks haven't helped. Tampa is 5-7 in Karns' starts, with the totals leaning OVER 7-5.
In his only career start against Chicago, last September, Karns got nicked for six runs in five innings of a 10-5 Rays loss.
Sale (6-2, 3.04) is nine-for-11 on quality starts this season, working on a string of six in a row. Monday he held Houston to one run through eight innings, with 14 strikeouts, and over his last six outings he's allowed just seven earned runs through 46 2/3 innings, with 67 strikeouts. On the season Sale has given up just 58 hits through 74 innings; Chicago is 8-3 in Sale's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER 5-6.
Sale missed Tampa last season; in 2013 he started twice against the Rays, allowing four ER through 14 innings; the Sox split those two games.
Sunday's Batting Splits
Chicago ranks 20th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .309 team OBP.
Tampa ranks 20th against left-handed pitching with a .310 OBP.
Totals Betting Trends
These two teams are a combined 69-51 on the UNDERS this season (58 percent).
Sox-Rays Free Picks
We're not afraid of betting against aces, but in this case we just can't recommend it; Sale is just too tough, and running hot at the moment. Also, runs might be hard to come by today, so we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: Chicago -130 and UNDER 6.5 runs at 5Dimes