We are officially on fire on MLB betting to start the season! After a little bit of a rocky first weekend, we are now 18-8 against the spread on MLB bets in our last twenty-four games, many of which were money line underdogs. Last night we picked up another baseball winner, betting on another underdog, as we backed the Philadelphia Phillies as road dogs against the Tampa Bay Rays.
I was shocked to see Jake Arrieta as an underdog against this Rays team that really struggles at the plate. Yes, I knew that Arrieta was going to be on a restricted pitch count and wasn’t likely to go deep into the game. And yes, I knew that the Rays were starting their ace, Chris Archer.
But as I mentioned in my pick yesterday, I think that Archer is only an ace in name and its Tampa’s lack of starting pitching that has made him their top line pitcher, not really his ability.
Well, I don’t think I could have nailed this one any better. Archer got absolutely blasted and gave up seven earned runs in just four innings of work. And even on a tight pitch count, Arrieta was solid. The former Cy Young Award winner went six and two thirds, giving up just two earned runs. It seems that every day I can find a game where I see an underdog that should be a favorite.
Today is the same story as I will look at another spot where I am surprised to see which team is favored as I break down the matchup between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics.
The Oakland Athletics are in Seattle Sunday for game three of a three-game series with the Mariners. The A’s have gotten pounded so far in this series, to the tune of seventeen runs allowed in the first two games. The A’s will send their best starting pitcher, Sean Manaea (1-2 1.74 ERA) to the mound and the Mariners will counter with the King of Seattle, Felix Hernandez (2-1 6.60 ERA).
The Mariners will be looking for the sweep today and are -105 home underdogs. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST from Safeco Field in Seattle.
Sometimes when you see a number, you just scratch your head and say, huh? That is what happened today when I saw that the Athletics were road favorites in this game. Oakland has gotten rocked in the first two games of this series, and the Mariners bats have been red-hot.
Oakland has lost six of its last eight games whereas the Mariners have won four in a row. I know that Sean Manaea is a solid starting pitcher and that Felix Hernandez isn’t what he used to be, but if I get to back Hernandez at home, getting dog money, I am going to take it every time.
Sean Manaea has been a hard-luck loser in two of his three starts this year. He has pitched very well in all three starts yet has just a 1-2 record to show for it. That is what happens when you have a good pitcher on a bad team. The last time I checked, Manaea doesn’t get to hit or play defense, and he can’t control what the bullpen does after he leaves the game, so while starting pitching is always important to look at when evaluating a game, this isn’t a guy that is going to win you a game all by himself. Manaea is very good at giving his team a shot to win games, but he isn’t going to go out there and completely shut anyone down.
At this point in his Hall of Fame level career, I am not sure Felix Hernandez is a shutdown guy either. He stared down Cory Kluber and a hard-hitting Indians team on Opening Day and took home the win, but Hernandez isn’t the overpowering guy he once was. But that doesn’t mean he is to be ignored in a matchup, especially in Seattle.
The fans in Seattle adore Felix, and there will be no lack of energy from the crowd as the M’s look for the three-game sweep today.
The real story here in this one for Seattle though is the return of Nelson Cruz. Crus is the elite of the elite when it comes to hitting for power and missed a couple of games after he rolled his ankle coming down the dugout stairs after blasting a home run. Cruz returned to the Mariners lineup last night, and they exploded for ten runs. Now, Cruz only had one hit in the game, but his value in this lineup cannot be denied. A team has to game plan for a guy this good, and other hitters get better pitches because of it.
I like Sean Manaea, but I like what his Mariners offense is doing right now just a little bit more. After last night’s explosion, this Mariners team is now ranked in the top five in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. And even if Manaea can hold them back, I expect that the M’s will hit the bullpen hard after he exits the game.
Seattle has torched this A’s bullpen so far in this series, and I see no reason to think that won’t continue today. And now that brings us to King Felix. I know he won’t ever win another Cy Young Award, but this guy is just different at home. We saw that on Opening Day, and while he struggled in his next two road starts, there is something special about Felix pitching in front of his King’s Court in Seattle.
All this adds up to me loving the Mariners tonight as home underdogs. Give me the Seattle Mariners -105 today at home as they go for the sweep!