I got burned yet again in my MLB picks, as the Chicago Cubs rode a 1-1 tie into the 8th inning before falling to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs were offering nice value at -110 as a straight up winner and I pounced on it. It didn’t convert, though, dropping my season MLB picks record to 3-6.
This isn’t how I wanted to get the new year rolling, but I’ve taken on a few ambitious bets along the way and understood the risk. Tonight I’m just looking for value that calls out to me and I think you’ll find it in Seattle when the Mariners host the Detroit Tigers.
Which betting angle should you take in this game? Let’s dig a little deeper into tonight’s MLB showdown to find out:
Detroit Tigers (+1.5, -135) @ Seattle Mariners (-1.5, +115) Total: 8 (-105/-115)
The Tigers jump off the page as appealing underdogs (+154 at Bovada), largely because the Mariners are down two very key bats. Robinson Cano got hurt recently and then got handed an 80-game suspension, while masher Nelson Cruz (foot) is listed as day-to-day.
That certainly drops Seattle’s offense down a bit, so I get if bettors are a little excited to chase after that +154 price.
The only problem is the Tigers as a whole don’t do a great job of closing things out on the road (7-13 away from home). I think this is a fine spot for them to give it a solid go, but this is still not a very reliable team in general and they’re looking to take down a superior team on the road.
While I’m not vouching for the Tigers here, I do think they can do enough offensively to contribute to the Over in this spot.
Even with the Mariners being down two very key offensive weapons, they are still quite dangerous. Mitch Haniger, Ryon Healy, Mike Zunino and Jean Segura all hit southpaws very well, while guys like Kyle Seager, Dee Gordon and Guillermo Heredia round out a still underrated offense.
If you don’t buy the under-manned Mariners fully, I don’t exactly blame you. However, they’re at home against Matthew Boyd, who gives up a ton of contact and has done his worst work (0-2, 4.58 ERA) on the road in 2018.
Boyd can make bats miss at times, but the Mariners as a whole rank 2nd in the majors at connecting against left-handed pitching (5th in runs scored versus lefties).
This looks like a solid matchup for this offense on paper, while Boyd’s contact issues have had him giving up 3+ runs in three of his last four starts. On the road in a less than ideal matchup, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make it four of five.
On the other side is Marco Gonzalez, who has been even worse when it comes to run prevention. Gonzalez isn’t in a much better spot despite facing a would-be inferior lineup, as the Tigers are largely right-handed and he has had some serious issues against that side of the plate.
Detroit is best equipped to take advantage of southpaws, which makes tonight’s matchup one to exploit. Nicholas Castellanos, James McCann and John Hicks all mash lefties, while this is also a favorable matchup by the numbers for Mikie Mahtook and Niko Goodrum. Detroit is still operating without top masher Miguel Cabrera, but appear to have enough bats on deck to give Gonzalez some problems.
More importantly, Gonzalez just isn’t very good. The 26-year old lefty has always had issues with contact and the power he gives up is especially problematic. Gonzalez has already rewarded his opponents with five long balls in just eight starts this year, while he’s allowed 3+ runs in six of his eight trips to the mound.
To me, this is all a collective effort. The offenses are good enough to do some damage on their own, but the pitching just isn’t scary at all. Add that all up and a Total of 8 feels quite low. I’d be even more excited about the Over here if we had these talented bats (Cano, Cruz and Cabrera) in the lineups, but that just tells you how shaky this pitching truly is.
The Over is a fine play tonight and if you’re feeling extra saucy, consider targeting the Tigers as an elite underdog play at +154 over at Bovada.