We picked up another win last night when we backed the Oakland Athletics as small home underdogs against the Cleveland Indians. The A’s have been red-hot and are failing to get the credit they deserve right now in the betting market. Despite the fact that the A’s are buried in third place in the uber-competitive, AL West, they have a stellar record. If the A’s played in the same division as yesterday’s opponent, the Cleveland Indians, in the AL Central? Oakland would be in first place. I’m not saying the A’s need to be valued like a first place team, but I am for sure saying they need to be valued higher than a third place team right now.
The game last night wasn’t all that dramatic as Oakland took the lead in the sixth inning and played add on late and walked away with an easy 7-2 win. I know many of your eyeballs are telling you that Cleveland is the better team in this series, but the records tell me its Oakland. That misconception has opened up a lot of value in backing the A’s in this series. For today’s pick, I will look at the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Minnesota Twins.
The Minnesota Twins are in Chicago Saturday for game three of a three-game series with the Cubs. The Cubs have taken the first two games of this series and are looking for the sweep in the series finale today. The Cubs offense has really been swinging the bat in this series and has scored a combined twenty-four runs in the first two games of the series.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Jon Lester (10-2 2.18 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Lance Lynn (5-6 4.81 ERA). The Cubs are -173 home favorites. The game total over-under is twelve runs. First pitch is scheduled for 11:20 AM PST from Wrigley Field in Chicago.
This series has been one where there have been a lot of fireworks. Both teams are crushing the ball right now, and those recent results have pushed this game total over-under to a number normally reserved for just Coors Field in Colorado, at twelve runs. I have a feeling that those fireworks are about to turn off as both of today’s starting pitchers have been very good recently.
For the Cubs, they turn to veteran lefty Jon Lester. Lester is likely enjoying the best year of his storied career this season. Lester is amongst the league leaders in wins and ERA and had an almost unbelievably good month of June. In June, Lester made five starts and went 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA. Lester has allowed just two earned runs or fewer in eleven out of his last twelve starts.
And the one place where he has been even better? At home in Wrigley Field. In Lester’s seven home starts this year he is 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA. Opposing hitters are hitting just .196 against Lester in Chicago. The Cubs have won six of the seven starts from Lester at home and the one loss? A 1-0 hard-luck loss to the Cleveland Indians where Lester pitched seven innings and gave up just one run. This guy is on another world this season when he pitches at home.
Lance Lynn did not enjoy the start of his American League career. After spending his first seven seasons in the National League, he was not welcomed in the American League. In his first month in the AL, Lynn was 0-3 with an 8.37 ERA, and the Twins were 0-5 in games where he started. Since then he has really settled down. Lynn has been very solid in June as he finished the month 2-2 with a 2.38 ERA.
Look, everyone loves a high scoring and exciting baseball game. And the first two games of this series definitely provided plenty of action. But this game total is a bad one. Jon Lester is going to mow through this Twins team today. Lester is unhittable at home, and this Twins team isn’t known for its ability to hit the ball hard, despite the fact they have scored some runs in this series. The Twins are the twenty-third best offense in the land entering play tonight. This line is amongst the biggest overreaction lines I have seen all season long.
If this was game one of the series, and we didn’t get to see both of these teams beat the cover off the ball all week long, this number would have been eight and a half or nine runs max. Yet here we are at twelve! It is so very rare to see a game total that high and if you do it’s almost always in the rarified air of Coors Field. To see the books hang a twelve in this game where Lester could easily give us seven or eight shutout innings is laughable.
I am not just going to bet the under, I am going to pound it today. There is just too much hype in this line to take it seriously, and I am going to take the under and feel like I am stealing. Give me the under twelve runs today in game three of the series in Chicago!