Thursday was not a good day for statistical underdogs, as only three out of ten games were won by teams that were the underdog. Our column did okay yesterday, going 3 for 6 in the games we picked. We were down one dollar on the day, so in our eight days of the underdog column, we are 20 for 44 and are up $100.75 over that eight day period (with all 44 bets being $50).
There are a lot of underdogs that are good plays today, so this column has increased its number of daily picks from six to seven. Here are seven non-favorites that you can bet with confidence on Friday.
Oakland Athletics (+135) @ Los Angeles Angels, 10:07 PM EST Start
Very quietly, the Angels have won four games in a row, and have clawed to within 3.5 games of the Texas Rangers and the second AL Wild Card spot. They look to extend that streak to five games tonight, when they meet the Oakland A’s for the second game of a four game set. The problem for them is that they are facing the buzz-saw known as Mike Fiers.
Mike Fiers garnered national attention on May 7 when he threw a no hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. That game was part of a pitching stretch in which Mike Fiers has been phenomenal. Over his last eleven starts, Fiers has given up three runs or less in all eleven starts, and has gone 5-1 in those 11 starts. His ERA during the stretch has been an impressive 2.73.
In addition, two of Fiers’ seven wins on the season have come against the Angels. He has given up three runs in twelve innings of work this season vs. the Angels. The Angels will counter by starting Noe Ramirez, and then probably turning the game over to Felix Pena. Ramirez has been great against the A’s, giving up no runs in three outings (total of 6 and 1/3 innings). Pena has not been great against the A’s, as he has given up 11 runs in just over five innings of work.
The A’s have won six of Mike Fiers’ last seven starts, and look for them to continue that streak tonight in Los Angeles.
Cincinnati Reds (+115) vs. Chicago Cubs, 7:10 PM EST Start
Will the real Cincinnati Reds please stand up? Will the real Chicago Cubs please stand up? Both Cubs and Reds fans have found themselves frustrated and confused with their ball-clubs in June. Let’s start by taking a look at the Cubs.
The Cubs were playing good baseball to start the month of June. They went 6-3 in their first nine games of the month, and defended their home field well by sweeping the Cardinals and taking two out of three against the Rockies. Since then, however, they have faltered. They went 2-5 on a seven game road trip against the Rockies and Dodgers. They then returned home for a 10 game home-stand against the White Sox, Mets, and Braves, and only went 5-5. They did call up Craig Kimbrel yesterday, and Wrigley Field went into a frenzy when he came out for his first save opportunity.
The Reds started June by going 1-5 in their first six games. They then went 8-3 in their next 11 games, including a sweep of the Houston Astros. Now, they have lost their last four games. Reds fans have been frustrated because they see that no one is going to run away with the National League Central Division title. They are in last place in the division, and yet they still have the second best run differential (behind the Cubs).
Friday’s pitching match-up pits Cole Hamels against Sonny Gray. Cole Hamels has been a bright spot for the Cubs in June, giving up four runs in 36 innings of work(1.00 ERA). However, the Cubs have only won three of his last six starts. Sonny Gray has given up 12 runs over 20 innings of work in June (5.40 ERA). The Reds have won six of his last seven starts.
The Cubs will probably have some uncertainty on Friday night if they need to use the bullpen. Will the Cubs pitch Kimbrel back to back days after he threw 20 pitches yesterday? Is Pedro Strop available after throwing a scoreless inning on Wednesday and Thursday? Is Brandon Kintzler available after throwing a scoreless inning on Wednesday and Thursday?
The Reds also activated Scooter Gennett from the 60 day IL this morning. Look for this activation to provide a spark for the Reds. The Cubs have the third worst road record in the National League (15-21). For these reasons and with the uncertainty of the Cubs bullpen tonight, look for the Reds to win game one of the series.
Texas Rangers (+120) @ Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 PM EST Start
This match-up pits two teams with inverted records in their last 10 games. The Rangers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and are winners of five straight games. The Rays are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and are coming off a long 18-inning win against the Twins on Thursday.
Tonight’s pitching match-up has Lance Lynn for the Rangers squaring off against Yonny Chirinos of the Rays. Lynn is 9-4 on the season, with a 4.32 ERA. Chirinos is 7-3 on the season, with a 3.00 ERA. Lynn has been very consistent in June, giving up exactly six hits in all five of his starts. Chirinos has been very good in June as well, giving up 11 runs over his five starts in June.
Chirinos has not been given good run support by the Rays in June. They have scored two runs or less in four of his last five starts. With the Rangers coming in hot, the Rays struggling as of late, and the Rays having to play an 18 inning game on Thursday, look for the Rangers to win game one of this series.
Arizona Diamondbacks (-105) @ San Francisco Giants, 10:15 PM EST start
It is statistically wrong to classify the Arizona Diamondbacks as the underdog in this game, but since this game has two teams that are both listed at -105, this game makes our column as there is no statistical favorite.
Tonight’s Diamondbacks/Giants game will provide a pitching re-match from June 23. Merrill Kelly of the DBacks and Shaun Anderson of the Giants squared off on June 23 and they will do so again tonight. That game ended in a 3-2 victory for the Diamondbacks.
Kelly has given up two runs or less in four of his five starts in the month of June. Anderson has given up three runs or less in all five of his June starts. Both pitchers also faced their opposing teams during the month of May as well. Kelly beat the Giants in his match-up on May 17, giving up no runs in 5 and 1/3 innings of work. Anderson lost his game on May 26, giving up six runs in five innings of work.
The road teams have done shockingly well in this series. This will be the 11th match-up of the year between these two teams, and the road team has a record of 8-2 over the first ten games. The Diamondbacks are 4-0 in San Francisco this year, and look for that trend to continue on Friday night. Bet Arizona with confidence.
Pittsburgh Pirates(+145) @ Milwaukee Brewers, 8:10 PM EST Start
On Friday night, the current second and fourth place teams in the National League Central will open up a three game series at Miller Park. This is another case of teams with inverted records over their last ten games playing each other. The Pirates are 7-3 in their last 10 games, while the Brewers are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
The Pirates have proven this year that they do not mind playing on the road. They are currently 21-22 away from PNC Park this season, which is the fourth best road record in the National League. They are also coming off of winning two out of three games at Houston, a series in which they outscored the Astros 25 to 7. Friday’s pitching match-up looks like it could lead to another high scoring game.
The Pirates will send Chris Archer to the mound on Friday night. Archer is 3-6 on the year with a 5.56 ERA, and has given up 24 runs in his last four road starts. On the bright side, he has given up one run in two of his last four starts. Jhoulys Chacin goes to the mound for the Brewers. He is 3-8 on the season with a 5.88 ERA. In his last start against the Pirates, he gave up seven runs in 2 and 2/3 innings of work.
Look for the Pirates to continue swinging their hot bats and out-slug the Brewers to a victory on Friday night.
Atlanta Braves (+125) vs. New York Mets, 7:10 PM EST Start
The New York Mets return home after an 11-game road trip and after a deflating series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets went 3-8 on the road trip and were swept this week by the Phillies. Being swept is disheartening enough, but the Mets had multi-run leads in all four games against the Phillies, and the bullpen blew all four of those games.
Friday’s pitching match-up pits two high-profile pitchers that have different stories this season. Mike Soroka is a potential Rookie of the Year candidate, and has gone 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA this season. June has not been his best month, as he has given up 13 runs in 27 and 2/3 innings(4.23 ERA). The Braves, however, have won all five games Soroka has started in June, scoring 41 runs in those five games.
Jacob DeGrom is the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, and he has been pitching very well again this season. DeGrom has given up two runs or less in 12 starts this season. Yet, his record is only 4-6. Last year, his run support was terrible. This year, the Mets Bullpen is more to blame. His bullpen has given up three or more runs in half of his starts this season.
No matter how well DeGrom pitches on Friday night, there isn’t a bullpen behind him that is ready to finish off his games. This game may end up having more runs than it initially looks like it should, and that is not good for Mets fans. The Braves have the best record in baseball during the month of June (18-7), and you should expect them to improve that record to 19-7 in tonight’s game.
Kansas City Royals (+110) vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 7:10 PM EST Start
In a battle of under 30 win teams, Kansas City travels to Toronto to open a three game set against the Blue Jays. The Royals are 5-5 in their last ten games, and are coming off of losing two out of three in Cleveland. The Blue Jays return home after being swept by the Yankees. They were in all three games and had leads in two of those games, but were unable to hold those leads.
Friday’s pitching match-up is still uncertain, as the Blue Jays haven’t officially named a starter. It looks like Sean Reid-Foley may be the opener for the game, but that has not been set in stone. Whoever Toronto sends out there, look for Kansas City’s offense to flourish, as Toronto has given up five or more runs in six of their last eight games.
Danny Duffy will go to the mound for the Rays after pitching eight innings against the Twins in his last outing. He gave up three solo home runs in that outing, and got a no decision in that game. Look for Duffy to build off of that last start, and lead the Royals to a win tonight in Toronto.
For today’s OTH Odds article, go to https://overtimeheroics.net/index.php/2019/06/28/oth-daily-odds-6-28-19/