MLB Odds, Trends, Best Bets: April 9, 2019
Cleveland Indians @ Detroit Tigers 1:10PM/EST
Corey Kluber vs. Jordan Zimmermann
Moneyline: Indians -160/Tigers +135
Spread: Indians -1.5 (+105)/Tigers +1.5 (-125)
Total Runs: Over 7.5 (-115)/Under 7.5 (-105)
The Cleveland Indians are coming off a 4-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to their superior pitching performances, allowing just 6 runs in 4 games. The 6-3 Indians have been the beneficiary of a weak schedule early on with their offense scuffling. Their offensive production ranks ahead of only two American League teams (Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers). Cleveland is still getting healthy, and that makes the under seem like a no-brainer.
Jordan Zimmermann comes in to this matchup red hot, having won his two starts on the road against the Blue Jays and Yankees. He has allowed just 1 run in his 13.2 innings. I’m not saying that Zimmermann is by any means back from the dead, but baseball can be a streaky sport. The Tigers are 7-3 with the worst offensive production in the American League.
Corey Kluber starts 2019 with an 0-2 record. The 2-time Cy Young Award winner struggled with command in his last outing, inflating his pitch count and exiting early. He was a bad luck recipient in his first outing with no run support. I’d find it hard to bet against Kluber in this one. He has made over 90 starts since the last time he lost 3 in a row. It’s hard to keep a good man down.
Toronto Blue Jays @ Boston Red Sox 2:05PM/EST
Matt Shoemaker vs. Chris Sale
Moneyline: Blue Jays +205/Red Sox -255
Spread: Blue Jays +1.5 (-105)/Red Sox -1.5 (-115)
Total Runs: Over 7.5 (-115)/Under 7.5 (-105)
The defending world series champion Boston Red Sox are slumping all around in the early goings of 2019. The offense is performing far under their capabilities and the pitching staff is struggling as a whole. They have a team ERA of 6.28 (second worst in the AL) and the offense is inconsistent. It’s early, and there should be no long-term worries for this team.
Chris Sale is 0-2 to start 2019. The dominant ace’s most recent start was a 1-0 loss to the Oakland A’s. Sale was a big fan of day games last season. In his 9 daytime starts, he went 5-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. The Boston offense could start clicking any time, and even if they don’t today, they likely won’t need much. Look for Sale to dominate the second worst offense in the AL.
It’s nice to see Matt Shoemaker healthy and throwing well. He is 2-0 to start 2019 after losing the majority of his 2017 and 2018 seasons to injuries. He tossed 7 shut out in his two starts this season, both against awful offenses (Detroit and Baltimore). Surprisingly, Shoemaker has solid career numbers against J.D. Martinez (2 for 13) and Mookie Betts (1 for 5). The under seems valid given Boston’s slow warming offense.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Chicago White Sox 2:10PM/EST
Charlie Morton vs. Ervin Santana
Moneyline: Rays -165/White Sox +140
Spread: Rays -1.5 (+100)/White Sox +1.5 (-120)
Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-110)/Under 8.5 (-110)
Ervin Santana will make his first start as a member of the White Sox. His 2018 season was cut very short as he dealt with a lingering finger injury that required surgery. He threw quite well for the Twins in 2016 and 2017, making 30+ starts with his highest ERA being 3.38. Of course, this all came after he was suspended for half of 2015 due to performance enhancing drugs. There’s no telling what Chicago will get from Santana this season, but I’d be surprised if he performed well immediately after making just 5 starts in all of 2018.
The Chicago offense is booming right now, ranking 6th in the AL in runs. Yoan Moncada may be finding his stride, hitting .316 with 11 RBI early on. Tim Anderson is hitting .517, and Jose Abreu continues to provide a middle of the order presence. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez is off to a slow start, and yet the offense is thriving. The over is a must in this matchup.
The late blooming Charlie Morton is coming off his best two seasons as a pro, his only two in Houston. He now finds himself in Tampa Bay, and he’s off to a stellar start going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his two outings. The White Sox lineup has very limited at-bats against Morton, and that could give the pitcher an edge. The Rays look to continue their early success after an 8-3 start.
Washington Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies 7:05PM/EST
Stephen Strasburg vs. Aaron Nola
Moneyline: Nationals +115/Phillies -135
Spread: Nationals +1.5 (-190)/Phillies -1.5 (+160)
Total Runs: Over 7.5 (-105)/Under 7.5 (-115)
If you love pitching duels, then this is by far the most intriguing match of the day. The division rivals are getting a heavy dose of each other to start 2019. Stephen Strasburg and Aaron Nola are ace pitchers, there’s no doubt. Fans will get their money’s worth in this one.
Stephen Strasburg struggled in his first start of 2019 by allowing 4 runs in 6 innings, but bounced back in his second start and threw 6.2 shut out. He ended his 2018 campaign with the worst ERA of his career. That number is 3.74, which is still good. It goes to show just how consistent his 7+ years have been. The Phillies knocked Strasburg around last season. He went 2-0 in his 3 starts, but had an ERA of 4.24. The Phillies have since added Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto who have career averages of .375 and .346 respectively, against Strasburg.
Aaron Nola lasted just 3 innings and allowed 6 runs on 3 homers last week against Washington. It was Nola’s worst start in his short career and one he will likely remember for a while. He dominated the Nationals in 2018 in 5 starts, going 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA. He was phenomenal in 2018 and finished 3rd in Cy Young Award voting. All signs point to the Phillies in this one. I’ll enjoy watching Bryce Harper face Stephen Strasburg for the first time in a game.
Los Angeles Dodgers @ St. Louis Cardinals 7:45PM/EST
Ross Stripling vs. Dakota Hudson
Moneyline: Dodgers -135/Cardinals +115
Spread: Dodgers -1.5 (+120)/Cardinals +1.5 (-140)
Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-110)/Under 8.5 (-110)
Dakota Hudson appeared in 26 games out of the St. Louis bullpen in 2018, and he did very well. In his only 2019 start he lasted 4.1 innings in Milwaukee and allowed 3 solo home runs. Things are especially grim for Hudson in this one, as he draws the hottest offense in the NL. Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers are scoring runs at will right now and they could potentially cover the over on their own.
The Dodgers had to pull Hyun-Jin Ryu from his start last night in the 3rd inning due to an apparent groin strain. Even with Kershaw out, the Dodgers are winning a ton to start the season. Ross Stripling has had great control in his two starts in 2019, posting a 2.31 in 11.2 innings. His 3.01 ERA last season was impressive, making 21 starts and making 12 appearances from the bullpen. The Paul Goldschmidt experience in St. Louis has been everything they wanted so far, but the Dodgers should take this one.
New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 8:10PM/EST
Jonathan Loaisiga vs. Gerrit Cole
Moneyline: Yankees +155/Astros -185
Spread: Yankees +1.5 (-130)/Astros -1.5 (+110)
Total Runs: Over 8 (-110)/Under 8 (-110)
The young Jonathan Loaisiga will make his second start of 2019. He seems to be the fill-in for the injured Luis Severino. He struggled in his 24.2 innings in 2018, walking 12 and posting a 5.11 ERA. Command was an issue in start number one this year, as he walked 3 in his 4 innings. The Yankees have a rock solid bullpen and Loaisiga just needs to give them 4 or 5 innings. This almost seems like a sacrificial lamb moment going against someone as good as Gerrit Cole. The New York offense has picked things up lately, so Cole will still have to earn this one.
The full force of the Houston offense has yet to arrive, but they’re still playing decent baseball. Gerrit Cole is fresh off a masterful 2018 season, logging 200.1 innings, 276 strike outs and a 2.88 ERA. He went 15-5 for the Astros. He has a 3.0 ERA in 2019 and is 0-2. The run support hasn’t been there for him yet, but this offense might have a nice day against a pitcher that probably shouldn’t be starting in the bigs right now. Cole has to be a big favorite in this one regardless of his previous 2019 outcomes.
San Diego Padres @ San Francisco Giants 9:45PM/EST
Joey Lucchesi vs. Derek Holland
Moneyline: Padres -125/Giants +105
Spread: Padres -1.5 (+145)/Giants +1.5 (-170)
Total Runs: Over 7.5 (+100)/Under 7.5 (-120)
Joey Lucchesi had a solid rookie season in 2018 for the Padres, throwing 130 innings while accumulating a 4.08 ERA. He faced the Giants twice and went 1-0 in 11 innings with a 3.27 ERA. He has yet to allow a run in 10.1 innings in 2019 and one of his starts was against San Francisco. The San Francisco offense currently ranks in the bottom 2 of the NL. Suddenly, Lucchesi seems like an ace in this matchup.
The San Francisco pitching staff has done a great job so far in 2019, producing numbers that no one would imagine at this point. Derek Holland doesn’t have much to do with that. He has made 2 starts this season and logged just 9 innings total with 5 runs allowed. He’s walking a lot of batters and might allow San Diego to get out to an early lead. Holland was brilliant for the Giants last season, but he will be hard to trust until his command comes back.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Los Angeles Angels 10:07PM/EST
Freddy Peralta vs. Matt Harvey
Moneyline: Brewers -130/Angels +110
Spread: Brewers -1.5 (+125)/Angels +1.5 (-145)
Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-120)/Under 8.5 (+100)
The young Freddy Peralta will get the start for Milwaukee in this one. He had intriguing moments in 2018, and some growing pains as well. He struck out a whopping 96 batters in 78.1 innings, but also walked 40. Peralta has cut the walks down in his 2019 starts though, going 1-0 in 2 outings with a 3.27 ERA and 3 walks in 11 innings. He didn’t face the Angels last season, but he should be fine as long as he doesn’t walk batters in front of Mike Trout who is scorching at the plate right now.
Matt Harvey looks to bounce back from his shaky last start against Texas where he allowed 8 runs in 4 innings. The Brewers racked up the runs against Harvey in 2018, netting a ridiculous 16 runs in 20 innings off of him. This has the makings of a blow out with the Milwaukee offense being so complete and having such a history with Harvey. Over and out for the Brewers.
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