By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 59-38-4 (61%) *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Houston Astros (1.5-run line: -230) at Detroit Tigers
HOU: Justin Verlander – R (6-1, 2.51 ERA/0.82 WHIP)
DET: Gregory Soto – L (0-1, 15.75 ERA/2.75 WHIP)
So, this is awkward. Justin Verlander will return to the only MLB city he called home before accepting a trade to Houston back in 2017.
Verlander has been absolutely phenomenal this season, allowing one run or fewer in six of his nine starts, while Detroit’s offense ranks near the bottom of MLB in nearly every advanced metric against right-handed pitching. Over the last 14 days, the Tigers have well below-average numbers in the same split.
This just isn’t going to end well for Detroit, losers of the first two games in this series by a combined score of 19-5. Houston’s offense is rocking and rolling over the last four games, with a total of 45 runs – the same amount as Miami has scored since April 21. Not to mention, the Astros’ offense ranks near the top of MLB in nearly every advanced metric, while owning absolutely gorgeous numbers against left-handed pitching over the last 14 days.
I talked about it yesterday, but it’s quite telling when you see a team with zaftig juice on the 1.5-run line. The Astros are listed at -230 in that regard, in comparison to the -350 moneyline odds. Also, the IRTs for both teams are unlike anything you’ll ever see, as the Astros are at 6.7 while the Tigers are at 3.5 – that type of differential is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing.
* Final Score Prediction: Houston Astros: 10 – Detroit Tigers: 2 *
[8:00 p.m. EST] Under 9.5 (-120) – Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals
TEX: Mike Minor – L (3-3, 2.68 ERA/1.04 WHIP)
KC: Jorge Lopez – R (0-4, 6.07 ERA/1.49 WHIP)
The highest SK Trend Confidence rating of the night in MLB is the under in this game, and that makes plenty of sense with Mike Minor on the mound for the Rangers. The made-over lefty has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts and even held his own against the hottest lineup in baseball during his last start against the Astros.
KC has not fared well against left-handed pitching this season, owning the fourth-worst weighted on-base average (wOBA: .281) in that split. Not to mention, things haven’t gotten any better over the last 14 days.
While Jorge Lopez has given up a decent number of runs, he has gone at least six innings in five of the last seven outings. The Rangers’ offense hasn’t been particularly great against right-handed pitching, with a combined .274 wOBA over the last 14 days.
Minor is clearly the better pitcher here, so I expect him to get the win. Lopez can at least hold his own for a while and not let this thing get out of hand.
* Final Score Prediction: Texas Rangers: 6 – Kansas City Royals: 2 *
[8:30 p.m. EST] Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks (-6.5, -115)
We’ve got some NBA action for the people tonight! The top SK Trend Confidence rating is on the Bucks with the 6.5-point spread, considering they have covered eight of their nine games during the playoffs. I typically don’t bet many NBA games prior to tip-off, opting for the live bets, but tonight is a special occasion.
The Bucks’ roster is miles ahead of the Raptors, who are coming off an emotionally-draining seven-games series against the 76ers. Just as we saw last night in the Trail Blazers-Warriors matchup, Portland wasn’t able to muster enough energy for its new opponent. There’s something to be said about carrying over the same intensity from one series to another – it’s remarkably tough and takes time to make the necessary adjustments.
When looking at Toronto’s roster, there’s not much there. Kawhi Leonard is basically all the Raptors have working for them, and that was evident towards the end of that last series. Sure, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are fine players, but it didn’t even look like they wanted to touch the ball down the stretch of Game 7 against Philly.
Look for the Bucks to neutralize Kawhi and make the other role-playing Raptors beat them. Bucks big! #FearTheDear
* Final Score Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks: 102 – Toronto Raptors: 82 *