Today marks opening night of the NFL football season! And as is the case every year, when the start of football season rolls around, baseball tends to take a backseat until the playoffs. But I would ask that you don’t take your eyes off of baseball just yet, as September baseball is some of the most profitable time of the year to bet.
This late in the season, we have a very good idea of just who each team is and what can be expected out of them. That allows us to handicap with an edge that we didn’t have early in the season. I know we all love football, but make sure that you are still following baseball closely as well as the season finally winds to a close. For today’s pick, we will head to Baltimore where the Orioles host the Rangers.
The Texas Rangers are in Baltimore Thursday for game one of a four-game series with the Orioles. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Rangers were very much in the playoff picture in the American League. But as other teams stocked up on talent at the All-Star break, the Rangers didn’t, and it has shown in their August results.
After winning the first four games of the month, the Rangers finished the month an abysmal 9-16. They now find themselves completely out of contention and building towards next year. Texas comes into this game 1-2 on their current road trip as they lost two out of three games in the Bronx against the New York Yankees.
For Baltimore, they have spent most of the year as baseball’s worst team. The Detroit Tigers haven’t managed to win a game in seemingly forever, so the Tigers now have the worst record in baseball, but the Orioles aren’t far back for the title of worst team in the game. The Orioles are locks to lose over 100-games and are an astounding forty-five games back of the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East Division race.
Starting tonight for the Orioles is All-Star John Means (10-9 3.55 ERA), and for the Rangers it is the recently acquired Kolby Allard (3-0 4.33 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Orioles are -114 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Camden Yard in Baltimore.
This could be a really short pick. The Orioles shouldn’t be favored against anybody. Done. End of article. The worst team in baseball just shouldn’t be laying wood against another major league level team, period. But for the sake of argument, we will still break this one down.
John Means made his first-ever All-Star team earlier this year, but it was more because the rules say the Orioles must get someone on the team, rather than him really deserving the spot. And that isn’t meant to disrespect this guy at all, he is decent, but he is certainly not an All-Star level player yet in his career. Means started his year pitching out of the Baltimore bullpen and was quickly promoted to the starting rotation.
And he did post some solid results for his first couple of starts, and that is how he managed to sneak onto the AL All-Star team. But since the All-Star break, he has been very mediocre. He had an ERA of just 2.50 in eighteen appearances before the break, but since then, his ERA has more than doubled. His ERA post-All-Star break is 5.62 in eight starts. After allowing just nine home runs before the break, he has already allowed nine long balls in his eight starts since the break.
He started the month of August out by getting absolutely blasted in his first three starts to the tune of thirteen runs in just twelve and two-thirds of an inning. He has settled down a lot in his last two outings though as he tossed seven innings in each game and allowed just three earned runs. But those starts came against the weak-hitting Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals. It will be interesting to see how Means looks tonight against a Rangers team that was one of the better hitting teams most of the season before seeing their run production nosedive late in the season.
Kolby Allard was a first-round draft pick back in 2015 and was traded from Atlanta to Texas earlier this season. He had a cup of coffee with the Braves last year, making three late-season appearances and now that he is with Texas, has been added to their rotation and has made five starts. The kid is still just twenty-two years old and is a blue-chip prospect and has shown flashes of that potential already with Texas.
He tossed six and a third shutout innings against the Chicago White Sox two starts ago, and in his last start was solid as well as he threw five and two-thirds of two-run ball against the Seattle Mariners. Allard has yet to lose a start in his short stint with the Rangers this season, and I like his chances to keep that streak intact tonight against an Orioles team that has been one of the worst hitting teams in the game all season long.
Just as I said at the start of this article, the Baltimore Orioles shouldn’t be favored against anybody right now. I know the Orioles are at home, but they are awful at home as they are just 22-46 at Camden Yard this season. And while John Means is the best the Orioles have, that doesn’t make him an ace. To me, this is another classic coin flip situation. And when I see a spot where I can flip a coin and get dog money, I am going to take it every time.
While I am certainly not a huge fan of backing the Rangers on the road, as they have not been good this year away from Arlington, I just can’t pass up on getting dog money betting against a team as bad as the Orioles. So, I will back the Texas Rangers tonight in game one at +104 from Camden Yard in Baltimore!