It is with some sadness I settle in for my final three MLB columns of the season. Yes, it is the World Series, and a fantastic one at that, but at 30-13-1 ATS since over the last two months, I am rueful about putting the bats and balls in the garage for the winter…
That said, I am not wild about tonight’s line. I like Chicago. How could you NOT with Kyle Hendricks pitching at home against a significant drop-off from Cleveland with their third starter due to all the injuries, Josh Tomlin, who posted a 4.40 ERA in the regular season as opposed to Hendricks’ league leading 2.13 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
But -200?!? That is a steep price for any baseball game, especially one pitting the two best teams in the league head-to-head in a chilly late October high-stakes face off.
So what’s the play tonight, and where is the best value? Let’s break down Game Three for today’s free pick.
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WORLD SERIES – GAME THREE PICK
Cleveland Indians +190 at Chicago Cubs -200 (Total: 8)
Josh Tomlin vs. Kyle Hendricks
Based on regular season stats, this one is a pretty big mismatch. Kyle Hendricks, the potential Cy Young winner facing off against a guy with an ERA in the mid-fours who would likely not be getting the ball at all if Carrasco and Salazar were healthy. Advantage Cubs, right?
Hendricks has been spectacular in the postseason. He has an ERA of 1.65 with a WHIP of 0.80 in three postseason starts. His last outing was even more fantastic and dominant. However, Tomlin has been good in the postseason as well – far better than he was in the regular season. He enters tonight with an ERA of 2.53 and two good starts in the postseason. He has only lasted 10.2 innings, but frankly, WHO CARES? If he can hand Andrew Miller the ball in the sixth inning in a tied game or even down just a run, the Indians will feel pretty good about their chances. With Corey Kluber ready to roll tomorrow, tonight belongs to Miller if Tomlin can give them five decent innings.
I think he will.
I like the Cubs in a vacuum tonight. But the VALUE of Cleveland at +190 is hard to walk away from. If you can’t bring yourself to fade Hendricks, the UNDER 8 is also a nice potential play. I think Tomlin will be fine, and the Indians relief corps is ridiculously good. This could very easily be a 3-1 or 3-2 baseball game. That is my secondary play tonight. But I am also going to take a flyer on the crazy value of the Indians getting nearly two to one odds.
I think we are in store for a much closer and better game than the line and run total indicates. I think Vegas is underestimating the Indians overall talent level and the lights-out bullpen run they are on as well. Look for a good game, and a tense lower-scoring affair than projected.