Thursday, August 11, 2022

A trio of underdog picks to take you into the holiday weekend, plus other best bets for Friday

It’s the Friday before a holiday weekend, so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Before you head out to wherever you’re going this weekend, catch up on what’s happening in the wide world of sports.

All right, tonight we’re only betting underdogs because the United States was an underdog when it first declared its independence from England. Well, OK, that’s not why we’re doing it, but let’s pretend it is.

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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


The Hot Ticket

Yankees at Guardians, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Cleveland Guardians +192

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  • Key Trend: Cleveland is 11-5 in its last 16 games against a right-handed starter.
  • The Pick: Guardians (+192)

The Guardians are so hot right now. They took three of five in a massive series against Minnesota to cut the Twins‘ lead in the AL Central to one game. That includes walk-off home runs to win games the last two days.

Cleveland faces a stiffer test in the Yankees, who bring the best record in baseball to town. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for New York, and, as is often the case when a true ace is pitching, the market overcorrects. No, the Guardians are not the Yankees, but Cleveland’s overall run production is solid, and this is a team that puts the ball in play. No team has struck out at a lower clip than Cleveland’s 18.5%, which will come in handy against Cole tonight.

The Guardians also feature one of the best defenses in baseball, ranking fifth in Outs Above Average. We also shouldn’t overlook that the Yankees were in Houston yesterday and made the trip north. All these factors matter, and while the Yankees are more likely to win than not, Cleveland has too much value to pass up on it tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: While it isn’t an A-graded play, the Projection Model likes what I’m selling.


The Picks

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USATSI

MLB

Marlins at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. | TV: ESPN+

Latest Odds: Miami Marlins +110

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The Pick: Marlins (+115) — I wouldn’t call this an auto-fade, but it’s something of an auto-fade. The Washington Nationals are 29-49. They rank 25th in MLB in run rate, 29th in ERA and are dead last in outs above average. So they’re a team that can’t hit, pitch or catch, which are three fundamental parts of the sport (the other two are beer and hot dogs).

And they’re favored against a Miami team that might not be great, but is much better than they are. You’re not going to catch me betting the Nats as a favorite. While Washington starter Josiah Gray has better overall numbers than Miami’s Trevor Rogers, it’s not as if he’s some kind of shutdown starter. His walk rate is 23% higher than league average, and he allows home runs at a rate 64% above the norm. If this game becomes a battle of mediocre bullpens — and it very well could — I’ll take Miami’s over Washington’s.

Key Trend: The Marlins have won eight of the last nine meetings.

White Sox at Giants, 10:15 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Chicago White Sox +130

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The Pick: White Sox (+130) — This is not the first time I’ve told you to bet on the White Sox, and I don’t think we’ve won a single one… so we’re due! While the Giants are faring much better, its pitching has dropped off a bit, but not drastically. The problem is this team ranks 29th in outs above average. That’s why the Giants are only 40-34, despite having the third-highest run rate in baseball.

For the White Sox, the pitching has been fine, but the offense is non-existent. The White Sox are hoping Lance Lynn can keep the Giants offense in check tonight. Lynn has an ERA of 6.19 through three starts, but part of that is on his manager leaving him in too long as he works his way back from an injury suffered this spring. Lynn is also backed by a well-rested bullpen. I’d take Chicago anywhere better than +120.

Key Trend: The White Sox are 14-4 in their last 18 games against National League teams.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has shared all his favorite picks for this weekend’s UFC 276.


Dinger Party

We hit on two of our three home run props yesterday, let’s see if we can do even better today.

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