Sometimes you just have to trust the data, follow a strong betting trend, and pick up the free money. That was the case yesterday when we backed the Oakland Athletics against the Houston Astros. The A’s have been one of the best home teams in the game this season, particularly when playing at home as favorites. And when you looked at the Astros, they have been atrocious on the road, and as road underdogs, were just 2-9 this season.
We found a spot where the home team never loses, against a road team that can never win, and we got to play both sides of that strong betting trend and barely got charged any juice to do it. And even when you broke down the game on its own merits, ignoring the strong trends on both teams, the A’s were the clear side to back.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 10, 2020
Oakland starter Sean Manaea struggled early in the year but had been pitching well the last month, and Houston was starting Jose Urquidy, a guy that had pitched just four innings since last season, after missing most of the year with an undisclosed injury. So, I fired hard on the A’s and expected an easy victory.
The A’s made us sweat this one out a bit, as this game was scoreless heading into the sixth inning. Oakland took the lead in the sixth, played add-on in the seventh, and the A’s bullpen continued their dominance in this series and slammed the door shut late, to cash our ticket. Sometimes when handicapping, you can’t overthink things too much, and you just have to pick the low hanging fruit and get paid. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to Minnesota, where the Twins host the Indians.
Cleveland Indians (26-18) at Minnesota Twins (27-18)
What a series we have in store for you this weekend! The Minnesota Twins host the Cleveland Indians tonight in game one of a blockbuster three-game series, with all sorts of playoff implications in the American League Central Division. The Twins are a game back of the first-place Chicago White Sox, and just a half of a game ahead of Cleveland, in the Central Division standings. The Twins are 7-2 in the month of September.
For Cleveland, the Indians lost the final three games of their last series against the lowly Kansas City Royals and are hoping to get back on track tonight in game one against Minnesota. Before dropping three straight, the Indians had won five of their six September games, and they need to turn things around quickly if they want to stay in the hunt for the division title.
Starting tonight for the Indians is Shane Bieber (7-0 1.25 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Kenta Maeda (4-1 2.77 ERA). The game total over/under is set at six and a half runs. This game is currently an even pick ’em with both teams laying -105. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Target Field in Minneapolis.
The Cleveland Indians hit this weekend’s series with Minnesota reeling, after getting blown out in the last three games of their last series with the Kansas City Royals. It was hard to see those losses coming, as the Indians were playing high-level baseball in September before hitting the road bump. And when you look at how the Indians lost the games, it is even more confusing.
The Indians have had one of the best bullpens in the game all season long. But against Kansas City, the Indians bullpen got hammered in all three games. All told, Cleveland relievers worked nine innings and got blasted for fourteen earned runs. When you look at how bad the Royals lineup has been this year, and how great the Indians bullpen has been, it felt very fluky, and couldn’t have come at a worse time for Cleveland’s division title hopes.
Shane Bieber (7-0 1.25 ERA)
We very rarely see a pitcher being considered to win the league MVP Award these days. It does happen occasionally, but it is exceedingly rare. Right now, Shane Bieber is the odds-on betting favorite to take home the American League MVP Award. He has the Cy Young Award all but locked up at this point, and Bieber can become the first pitcher to win the AL MVP Award since Justin Verlander did it for the Detroit Tigers in 2011.
His stats are mind-blowingly good right now. In nine starts this year, Bieber is 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA. The Indians are 8-1 in those nine starts, and the only game they lost, Bieber threw a six innings of shutout ball and allowed just one hit. The strikeout numbers are approaching legendary status as he has already racked up 94 Ks in just 57.2 innings pitched, and his K/9 ratio of nearly fifteen is currently the highest in MLB history for a starter.
It has been World Series or bust all season long for the Minnesota Twins, and as we approach the end of the regular season, the Twins look poised for a deep postseason run. They had a nasty skid to finish out the month of August, as they lost six straight games, but since the trade deadline, they are 7-2. Minnesota mostly stood pat at the deadline, and their recent success hasn’t been about acquiring new players. It has been about getting the ones they already had, back on the field.
Minnesota has activated Josh Donaldson, Jake Odorizzi, Zach Little, Rich Hill, Byron Buxton, and Michael Pineda in the last couple of weeks. The Twins are getting healthy at the right time, and it is showing on the field. The Twin’s next seven games all come against the Indians and the White Sox, and their season will be decided by how they play in the next week.
Kenta Maeda (4-1 2.77 ERA)
There wasn’t a ton of fanfare surrounding the addition of Kenta Maeda in the offseason, but Dodgers fans know that Minnesota picked up a quality arm when they were able to snatch Maeda as part of the Mookie Betts deal that sent Betts from Boston to LA. In his first season in Minnesota, Maeda has impressed and has quickly become the ace of this Twins pitching staff.
Maeda flirted with a no-hitter earlier this year when he took a no-no into the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. Being stingy on hits has become the norm for Maeda, as he leads the Major Leagues in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings. Maeda does a really good job of forcing ground balls and striking guys out, and it has been difficult for guys to barrel him up this year.
Who Do I Like?
What a great game, with a lot on the line for both teams. The Indians bad week against the Royals probably cost them their shot at the AL Central Division title. But they do still have this series against Minnesota, and a four-game set later in the month against the White Sox, to prove that they deserve to be division champs. And they have to feel good about their chances in this game with Shane Bieber on the mound.
Bieber has made two starts against the Twins this season and has worked a combined 14 innings and has allowed just two earned runs while striking out an absurd 23 batters. The Indians won both games by multiple runs.
We talked earlier about how great the Indians bullpen has been this year, and how bad they were this week. But you aren’t going to see much of them in this one tonight, as Bieber has pitched at least six innings in all but one of his starts and has pitched seven or more innings three times. He is fourth in the American League in innings pitched and is an absolute workhorse for the Indians.
I love what Kenta Maeda is doing for the Minnesota Twins this season, and I love how the Twins are getting healthy and playing well late in the season. They are a legit AL pennant contender. But I cannot pass up on backing Shane Bieber at even money right now, period. Neither of these teams lose very often with their ace on the mound, but Bieber knows his team needs to be picked up tonight, and I think he just might do something very special.
The last time that Bieber pitched in Minnesota, he pitched eight innings, didn’t allow a single run, and struck out thirteen. It is hard to ever expect a performance like that, as they just don’t happen very often, but in a spot where his team needs him, and his bullpen is in shambles, I think Bieber dazzles tonight.
Maeda will be solid as well, and this weak-hitting Cleveland lineup does scare me a little bit, but at the end of the day, I see Cleveland taking game one. It will be low scoring and tightly contested, and I see Cleveland sneaking out with a 3-2 type of victory. You are almost never going to get an opportunity to back a guy that is having a season like Shane Bieber is having right now, at even money, and I won’t pass up on that value tonight. Give me the Cleveland Indians in a tight one, at -105!