Our strong September continued last night as we picked up another winner when we backed the Milwaukee Brewers against the Miami Marlins. This line was one of the bigger public overreactions in recent memory as the Brewers were just -133 favorites against the worst team in the National League. The public was overreacting to the loss of Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, who broke his kneecap earlier in this series and will be out for the rest of the year.
And while losing Yelich certainly hurts the Brewers World Series chances, I am not sure it hurt their chances to beat up on the Marlins all that much. The first two games of this series, the Brewers were favored on average at -215. So, to see that number drop nearly one hundred points, based almost exclusively on one guy not being able to play is a gross overreaction. The public does this all the time, and it is our jobs as sharp bettors to make sure we don’t fall for the trap.
So, we backed the Brewers and felt like we were getting a huge discount. In the end, the game was fairly competitive. The Brewers jumped out to an early 3-1 lead and eventually held on, winning 3-2. Gio Gonzalez pitched just four innings as expected, and the Brewers bullpen did the rest as they pitched a combined five shutout innings, to seal the victory.
With the win, the Brewers have now won seven straight games, and nine out of their last eleven. With the recent surge, the Brewers are now tied with the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card in the National League, just two games ahead of both the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, with the Arizona Diamondbacks lurking three and a half back. It is going to be another photo finish this year in the NL, so buckle up your seat belts! For today’s pick, we will head to the American League and check in on another tight race, as the Cleveland Indians host the Minnesota Twins.
The Cleveland Indians have been on fire as of late, winning seven out of their last ten games. They have done a great job of closing the gap between themselves and the Twins for first place, and entering this series are just three and a half games back on Minnesota for the AL Central Division crown. They host the Twins tonight in game one of a three-game series, and they are hoping they can all but eliminate that lead with a strong series this weekend.
For Minnesota, they have been racked by injuries lately as impact guys like Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, and Marwin Gonzalez have missed time this week. As they have struggled to stay healthy, the wins and runs have slowed down considerably. After leading the majors in runs scored and home runs for most of the season, the Twins find themselves towards the bottom of both of those stats here in September. And the struggles at the plate have led to the Twins losing five out of their last eight games, opening the door for the Indians to catch them for first place in the season’s last couple of weeks.
Starting tonight for the Twins is Jake Odorizzi (14-6 3.60 ERA), and for the Indians it is rookie sensation Aaron Civale (3-3 1.93 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Indians are slight -107 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
How good has Aaron Civale been in his short stint with the Indians? Really good. Civale has yet to give up more than two earned runs in any of his eight starts this season. His ERA of 1.93 is one of the best totals of any starter in the game during that time span. And he hasn’t been racking up great stats against bad teams in mop-up duty. This kid was thrust right into the thick of a pennant race and has made starts against hard-hitting teams like the Twins, Yankees, and Mets.
Surprisingly enough this will already be the third time that Civale has faced the Twins this season, and he has been nearly unhittable against Minnesota. Civale has pitched eleven innings against Minnesota this season and has allowed just two earned runs on only seven hits. Civale reminds me a lot of Walker Buehler last year for the Dodgers. A rookie that comes on super strong late in the season to carry his team deep into the playoffs. With the absence of guys like Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, and Trevor Bauer, Civale has done a remarkable job of carrying this team to the postseason.
Jake Odorizzi has been very solid for the Twins this season. He was named to the AL All-Star team and has done a great job of winning games. His fourteen wins are good for tied for sixth in the American League. His 3.60 ERA is seventh in the American League amongst qualified starters. While Justin Verlander is going to walk away with the Cy Young Award this season, don’t be surprised if Odorizzi finds a way to get a couple of votes as well.
And against Cleveland this year Odorizzi has been even better. In four starts against Cleveland, including his last start, he is 2-0 with a blink, and you will miss it, ERA of just 1.61. The Indians are hitting just .177 against Odorizzi this year.
We had basically this exact same matchup last week, and in that one, I took the under nine and a half runs, and the game came in under at eight total runs scored. Both Civale and Odorizzi pitched well, and the game glided to the under with ease. And I expect the same thing tonight. Both of these starters have shown that they can shut down the other teams, and with so much on the line, I expect a playoff-type atmosphere.
Playoff baseball is always lower scoring as they fight for each and every run. And not surprisingly, most of the public seems to be pounding the over in this one, so the under nine and a half is actually getting some dog money. When you see action coming in like this, you have two choices. Take the under now at nine and a half at +101, or you can assume the action will continue to come in on the over and wait for the books to adjust up to ten runs at -110.
Both plays have pros and cons, and in a game like this that I expect to come in well under, I will take the number where it stands now and try and get the bigger payout. But if you want the better number at the lower price, you can always wait it out a couple of hours and see how the books adjust to the action. For now, we will lock this bet in getting some dog money on the under. Give me the under nine and a half runs tonight in game one from Cleveland!