Most of the time I am on the lookout for ways to back underdogs and get big payouts on MLB games. But once in a while, when I see a favorite where the number is just far too low I will take advantage of that as well. That was the case last night when the Dodgers were small favorites against the Colorado Rockies. Rockies starter Tyler Anderson had an ERA north of eleven runs in the month of August and had really been struggling recently, so it was shocking to see this number as such a tight one. So, I laid a little wood and backed the favorites.
The game went a lot like I thought it would as Anderson got blasted for four runs in just two and two-thirds of an inning worked. The Dodgers were able to build up an 8-1 lead by the sixth inning and coasted in for the easy victory. With the win, the Dodgers pulled within a half of a game of Colorado for first place in the National League West Division.
The key to sports betting is finding value in a game. Most of the time the most value can be found by backing the underdog, but if a number is bad, the number is bad, and you must take advantage of it. Today I will look at another game where I feel the favorite is greatly undervalued, as the Cleveland Indians play the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Cleveland Indians head to Tampa Bay Monday for game one of a three-game series with the Rays. The Indians are coasting at this point of the season as they have the biggest division lead in all of baseball, an insurmountable 15.5 game lead over the second place Minnesota Twins. Cleveland will have a major advantage that most teams won’t have heading into the playoffs in that they will have plenty of time to rest up their best players and set up their starting rotation.
The Rays, on the other hand, are the hottest team in all of baseball, having won eight out of their last nine and seventeen out of their last twenty games. However, it is looking like too little too late for the Rays to make the playoffs as the Oakland A’s are nearly as hot and hold an eight-game lead over the Rays for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Starting for the Indians is Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber (18-7 2.75 ERA), and for the Rays, they will go with their bullpen by committee starter with Diego Castillo (3-2 3.40 ERA) being the opener. The Indians are -143 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
It was close to impossible to predict what the Tampa Bay Rays have been doing in the last two months. At the July 31st trade deadline, they traded away essentially their entire starting rotation. The only true starter left on the team was Blake Snell. Yet since that day, they have been one of the best teams in baseball. They are using what they call an opener, a bullpen arm that just happens to be starting the game, and the results have been magnificent. You have to wonder if this trend will spread after seeing how much success the Rays have had using the technique.
Diego Castillo will be the opener today for the Rays. Castillo is very likely to pitch only one, two at the most, innings in this one. Castillo hasn’t allowed a run in ten out of his last eleven appearances. The Rays will need this committee to be really good today if they want any shot to beat Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians.
Kluber looks to be in line for another Cy Young Award this season. It looks like either him or the Red Sox Chris Sale will take home the honor. I am leaning towards Kluber though as Sale hasn’t pitched in over a month, and it will be hard for him to jump right back into the rotation and be as good as he would need to be to hold off Kluber. Both guys are more than deserving, but when you look at Kluber’s stats it’s hard to deny him.
Kluber leads all of baseball with eighteen wins and will look for number nineteen tonight in Tampa Bay. The Indians have won seven out of his last eight starts, and he is closing in on two hundred strikeouts on the season. He faced this Rays team just over a week ago and completely dominated them.
In that one, Kluber pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. Kluber has just one losing decision going back to mid-July. You would expect at some point that the Indians may start holding Kluber’s innings back some to rest him up for the playoffs, but that hasn’t started yet as Kluber has pitched into the seventh inning in seven out of his last eight starts.
This Rays team scares me. They just keep winning, and nobody can really figure out as to why. They have almost no starters and beat their bullpen to death every day. Their bats are very limited as they are 27th in the majors in home runs and just 19th in runs scored. Yet they find ways to win games. But seeing Corey Kluber as such a small favorite in this one is shocking.
Kluber is accustomed to being -200 or more in just about every start. Yeah, the Indians aren’t pounding the petal to the metal right now, but they are still winning a lot of games, and Kluber just almost never misses. We saw what Kluber can do against the weak Rays bats last week when he shut them completely down. I see that happening again tonight.
As I did with yesterday’s pick, I will back the favorite because I see the number as far too low. Even in a spot like his one where we are laying some substantial wood at -143, the number could easily be much, much higher. So, I will back Kluber and the Indians and expect an easy victory. I won’t touch the run line as this Rays committee starter has been tough to score on and this should be a low scoring game.
In a game where there aren’t going to be a lot of runs scored I try and stay away from the run line. So, instead, I will lay what is the biggest number I have all season long, and back the Indians. Give me the Cleveland Indians as road favorites at -143 tonight from Tampa Bay!