When you are evaluating a game, you always want to make sure that you are digging at least a couple of levels deeper than the average handicapper, if you expect to win more money than your average sports bettor. That is exactly what we did yesterday when we broke down the action between the Houston Astros and the Oakland Athletics.
On the surface, it seemed like a fairly evenly matched game, but when we peeled the onion back just a little bit, a very telling trend emerged for both teams, that allowed us to make a high value bet with a lot of confidence. The Oakland Athletics have been one of the best home teams in the game, particularly when they were home favorites as they were yesterday, with a 14-6 record. On the flip side, the Astros have been awful on the road this year, with a stunningly bad 1-7 record on the road when underdogs.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 8, 2020
When I saw that I could back the A’s, that never lose at home when favorites, against the Astros, that don’t ever win on the road when dogs, it made the bet an easy decision. I backed the A’s and expected both of these strong trends to hold up. And that is exactly what happened.
The A’s took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back, eventually coasting to a 6-0 victory. It was one of those spots where we got to pick up an easy win and pat ourselves on the back for doing our homework and making an informed wager. For today’s daily betting pick, we will continue on our quest for value as we break down the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota Twins (26-17) at St. Louis Cardinals (17-16)
The St. Louis Cardinals host the Minnesota Twins in game one of a quick two-game doubleheader series today, with both teams looking to make a playoff push. The Cardinals are coming off of a five-game series with the Chicago Cubs, that saw St. Louis win three of the five games, and the Cardinals are now just two and a half games back of the Cubs for first place in the National League Central Division.
For Minnesota, the Twins are in a dog fight in their division, the American League Central, as they are just a game back of both the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians in a three-team race for division supremacy. After struggling to finish out the month of August, the Twins are red-hot here in September as they have won six out of seven games.
Starting today for the Cardinals is Carlos Martinez (0-1 14.73 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Jose Berrios (3-3 4.29 ERA). The game total over/under is set at six and a half runs. The Twins are -125 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 12:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Don’t look now, but the Minnesota Twins are heating back up. The Twins had the lead in the American League Central for the first several weeks of the season, but hit a rough patch in August that saw them lose six straight game. Those struggles allowed the Indians and White Sox to catch up to them, but here in September, the Twins have won six out of seven games, all coming against divisional opponents, and are now back on track to compete for the division title.
One guy that is leading the charge here late in the season is outfielder Eddi Rosario. Rosario is batting in the cleanup spot, and in September has been steaming hot. After hitting just .232 with a slugging of .434 in August, Rosario is hammering the ball this month.
In his last 25 at-bats, Rosario is hitting .320 with a slugging of .600. He has accounted for nine total runs in his six games played, with 7 RBI and 2 runs scored. Rosario had 32 homers and 107 RBI last year, and getting him hitting the ball hard again is going to be a major key to the Twin’s success the rest of the way out.
Jose Berrios (3-3 4.29 ERA)
Jose Berrios had some inconsistent results through his first five starts of the season. He had some solid outings, and some not so solid ones as well. But he seems to have figured things out here lately, as in his last three starts he has been sharp. In starts against Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Chicago, Berrios has pitched a combined 17.2 innings and has allowed just four earned runs on only eleven hits.
Berrios leads this greatly improved starting rotation for Minnesota, and we have seen that if Minnesota can hold teams to three runs or fewer, they nearly always win. The Twins record when they hold a team to three runs or fewer is staggering good at 23-3. If Berrios can slow the Cardinals down today, they are going to win this game.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are finally catching up with the rest of the league in terms of games played, after missing a big chunk of the season to a COVID-19 outbreak, and they are playing some decent baseball. But the workload has been extreme, as the Cardinals have played 28 games in their last 24 days. That includes only one day off and a bunch of doubleheaders.
They play a doubleheader today, another one against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, and two more double dips are on the books against Milwaukee next week. How much longer can the Cardinals stay competitive with a workload that is unprecedented in Major League history?
Carlos Martinez (0-1 14.73 ERA)
Carlos Martinez has struggled to stay healthy for the St. Louis Cardinals, and after looking like a potential Cy Young Award candidate in 2017, when he was an All-Star and struck out 217 hitters, he was sent to the bullpen to help manage his workload. Martinez worked exclusively out of the bullpen last season and served as the Cardinals closer and posted strong results.
This season, Martinez has just one appearance, as he was wrapped up in the Cardinals COVID-19 outbreak and has been on the IL for over a month. In his lone start of the season, he got rocked, as he gave up six runs, all earned, in just 3.2 innings worked against these very same Minnesota Twins. If Martinez can get back to his former All-Star level on the mound, the Cardinals are going to be a sleeper candidate in the National League.
Who Do I Like?
Carlos Martinez scares me. He has electric stuff, but he has always been prone to a blow-up start. He has just one start, and that lasted less than four innings, since last season, and he is going to be rusty. The Cardinals brought along all of their other starters very slow when they came back from the long layoff, and I would expect that Martinez pitches maybe just two or three innings in this one.
In a spot where I can back a streaking Twins team, with their ace on the mound, against a guy that has one start, going back all of the way to 2018, and I am only getting charged a dollar and a quarter juice, it seems like a very nice spot. The Cardinals bullpen has been very good this year, but they are being overworked, and they are going to start to show the fatigue sooner rather than later.
I am going to lay a little wood in this one, and back the Twins. I think Berrios will be decent, as he has been pitching well. And Carlos Martinez won’t be long for this game, meaning that the Cardinals bullpen that hasn’t had a day off in ages, is going to have to eat up a lot of innings.
These teams played a two-game series in July, and the Twins won both games with a combined score of 9-3. I would expect another Twins victory today, and if Martinez struggles, the Cardinals could get blown out. Give me the Minnesota Twins laying -125 today in game one of two from Busch Stadium!