It’s been a good week in MLB, at least as far as games with a ton of drama. It seems like at least two or three games every night have either gone to extra innings of ended in comeback or dramatic fashion. With that thought in mind, I’m starting the week off focusing on a few longer odds upset picks. I’m looking for matchups with an underdog with a solid starter on the mound, especially if they are facing a good team that is coming home after a road trip. It feels a little counter-intuitive, but teams returning home after a six game or more road trip see their odds of winning that first game dip about 3% over the last season and a half…
Let’s dig into a few matchups and start the week off with a few bold underdog winners.
(Oh, and the “we will have a Manu Ginobili sighting” line to close my NBA column yesterday is my favorite prediction of the year so far. I thought he’d surface – I didn’t know he’d be 2004 Argentina Olympics Manu’…)
OK, back to baseball…
Chicago Cubs +181 at St. Louis Cardinals -191 (Total: 7.5)
Travis Wood (5-5, 2.65 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (7-4, 2.21 ERA)
The Cardinals are the best team in baseball. You’ll get no argument from me on that point; however, in baseball the best teams occasionally lose to the worst teams. Like yesterday, when the Marlins hammered St. Louis all over the yard. Even the best teams in MLB history lose 30% of their games. The best team each year loses around 40% of their games. That is why HUGE baseball favorite can be a good opportunity to go against the grain, as long as you are managing your bankroll and don’t expect to hit EVERY time.
I’m going with the Cubbies at +181 today for two big reasons; one, they are returning home after a rough road trip and find a really good starting pitcher waiting for them. Travis Wood, like Jeff Samardzjia, deserves better than his .500 record. His WHIP is an even 1.00, and in his last three outings he has posted a 2.37 ERA. Shelby Miller has been fantastic as well, with a 2.24 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP, and I don’t expect the Cubs to hammer him – but I do think they will find runs tough to come by on their own end.
The second big reason I’m taking a flyer on Chicago; the Cardinals offense is ridiculously efficient. They hit better with runners in scoring position thought 70 games than any team in the history of major league baseball. However, their league-leading team batting average of .271 falls all the way to just .228 against lefties.
Free Picks: Chicago Cubs to WIN +181 & Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5