Major League Baseball has a full slate of games on tap today, as there are fifteen games on the schedule. As we hit the final month of the regular season, the division title races are tightening up, and today we will see several marquee matchups with division title implications. The Yankees and the Rays square off in the Bronx after clearing the benches last night late in the game.
— Justin Groc 🎥 (@jgroc) September 2, 2020
The White Sox and the Twins play in Minnesota, with first place in the American League Central on the line, and the Giants and the Rockies meet up at Coors Field after seeing the Giants wallop the Rockies for 23-runs last night, in a game between two surprising National League contenders. For our free daily betting pick, we will head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers host the Detroit Tigers, with both teams trying to stay in the playoff conversation in their respective divisions.
Detroit Tigers (17-16) at Milwaukee Brewers (16-19)
The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to avoid the sweep tonight at home in game two of a quick two-game series with the Tigers. The Brewers have been mostly treading water recently as they have gone 3-3 in their last six games and have lost eight out of their last thirteen. They haven’t lost a ton of ground in the National League Central, though, as the Reds, Cardinals, and Cubs are similarly struggling. Milwaukee trails the Cubs by five games for first place in the central and are two games back of the final NL wild card.
For Detroit, the Tigers have caught fire recently, and despite very limited expectations coming into the season, are just a half of a game back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the last wild card spot in the AL. The Tigers have won six in a row, and eight out of their last ten games. With the win last night in the series opener against Milwaukee, the Tigers are back above .500 on the year at 17-16.
Starting tonight for the Tigers is Spencer Turnbull (3-2 2.97 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Adrian Houser (1-3 4.36 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Brewers are -160 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:40 PM PST from Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Whether you believe in them or not, you have to respect what the Detroit Tigers are doing right now. This was never supposed to be a year where the Tigers were in contention, but here they are, right in the thick of the playoff race in the American League. The trade deadline didn’t do much to help the Tigers chances though, as they mostly stood pat, with the only movement being a trade of Cameron Maybin, a guy that only had 41 at-bats on the year and was hitting .244.
The Tigers had to sit back and watch the Toronto Blue Jays, the team they are likely competing against for the final American League wild-card spot, go out and add three impact starting pitchers in Tajuan Walker, Ross Stripling, and Robbie Ray, as well as position players Jonathan Villar and Dan Vogelbach. The Blue Jays loaded up, and to many people, that gives them the upper hand down the stretch, but if the Tigers keep playing like they have in the last two weeks, they are going to be tough to beat.
Spencer Turnbull (3-2 2.97 ERA)
Spencer Turnbull is finally figuring things out at the big league level. After being a second-round draft pick back in 2014, Turnbull really struggled in his first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he lost seventeen games and posted an ERA of nearly five runs. But this year, Turnbull has made six starts, and for the most part, has been solid.
He was great in his first three starts as he pitched a combined eighteen innings and allowed just three earned runs. After a couple of rough outings against the Chicago White Sox, who are hammering everyone right now, and the Cleveland Indians, Turnbull had it going again in his last start against the Chicago Cubs. Against the Cubs, Turnbull pitched 5.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits.
The Milwaukee Brewers have been home field favorites thirteen times already this season, in seventeen games. That is 76% of the time that the books have them favored when they play at Miller Park. But when you look at their results at home, they are just 6-7 as home field favorites and 7-10 at home overall. That weak home record is good for a winning percentage of just .411, and you have to wonder why the books and the public continue to back them so heavily in Milwaukee?
The issue for Milwaukee has been their lack of hitting. In ten of those seventeen home games, they have scored three runs or fewer. And those struggles haven’t been limited to just home games for the Brewers, as they are 26th in the majors in runs scored, 29th in batting average, and 25th in slugging. Last night in game one, they managed just one run, despite matching up against Michael Fulmer for Detroit, a guy that came into the game with an ERA of almost nine runs on the year.
Adrian Houser (1-3 4.36 ERA)
With the Brewers struggling to score runs, the only way they are managing to win games is by shutting the other team down. In his first two starts of the season, Adrian Houser was doing just that as he pitched a combined twelve innings and allowed just one earned run, and the Brewers won both games. But in his last four starts, that just hasn’t been the case as Houser has been shaky at best.
In those four starts, he has pitched 21 innings and has allowed 15 earned runs. He has gotten blasted for at least one home run in each start and has given up six home runs this season. Milwaukee has lost three out of those four games, with all three losses coming by multiple runs.
Who Do I Like?
When you are betting baseball, it is all about the price. Any team can win any game on a given day. In no sport is that more true than Major League Baseball, and when you are evaluating games, it’s not about if they will win or not, it is about whether or not they show value at the price. Right now, the betting market seems to be consistently overvaluing Adrian Houser after his hot start to the season.
In his last start, Houser was a -162 favorite against the Reds, in the start before that, he was -134 against the Pirates, three starts ago, he was laying -106 against the Cubs, and four starts ago, he was a -118 against the Minnesota Twins. He has gone 1-3 in those four starts. Despite the continued struggles, he is again a major favorite tonight against the streaking Tigers, laying -160.
When you look back at how Houser and the Brewers have performed against the betting market, it is fairly surprising to see the Brewers as big favorites again tonight. What is even more surprising is that the public has been firing hard on Milwaukee. This line opened at Milwaukee -145 and has steadily been moving towards the Brewers all morning long. And for the life of me, I just’ can’t figure out why.
We already talked about the Brewer’s poor results at home, particularly when home favorites. But what I didn’t mention, is that the Tigers have actually been one of the best road underdog teams in the game this season. The Tigers six wins on the road as underdogs are higher than all but six other teams, and all of those six teams have played far more games as road dogs than Detroit has this year.
This is one of those high variance plays that is high risk, high reward. If I got a chance to bet this game 100 times, I would show a huge rate of return. But unfortunately, we only get to bet this game once, and it could go either way. But the fact that I can back the red-hot Tigers against a struggling Brewers team and get a bunch of juice while doing it shows outrageous value. So, I will fire hard on the Tigers and hope the variance breaks our way. Give me the Detroit Tigers tonight on the road, getting +150!