Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Happily back Sandy Alcantara as an underdog, plus other best bets for Monday

The Texas Rangers spent over $500 million in the offseason to bring in free agents like Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and when a team spends like that, it does nothing but increase the expectations. Expectations the Rangers have failed to live up to, and now somebody is paying a different price for it.

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The Rangers became the fourth MLB team to fire their manager this season, letting Chris Woodward go. The Rangers are 51-63 and 9.5 games out of a playoff spot, including a 6-24 record in one-run games. When you’re losing that many close games, it provides plenty of fodder to question managerial decisions, and it will be third-base coach Tony Beasley making those decisions for the rest of the year.

Now let’s bet some baseball.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Padres at Marlins, 6:40 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Miami Marlins +122

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  • Key Trend: The Marlins are 14-9 in Sandy Alcantara starts
  • The Pick: Marlins (+118)

Yes, I will happily bet on Sandy Alcantara as an underdog. If you aren’t familiar with Alcantara, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he toils in obscurity playing for the Miami Marlins. Alcantara has a 2.01 ERA thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground and avoid the barrel of bats. His strikeout rate of 22.8% is just above league average, but he gets plenty of swinging strikes (11.8%), and his barrel rate of 5% is elite.

That should help against a Padres lineup with plenty of pop, even without the recently suspended Fernando Tatis Jr. The problem is the Padres have a pretty good pitcher going themselves, which is why they’re favored to win the game. Joe Musgrove has an ERA of 2.91, a higher strikeout rate than Alcantara and also avoids the barrel (5.8%). But he allows more flyball contact.

I don’t expect a lot of runs scored in tonight’s game — hence the low total of 6.5 — which means the Padres offensive advantage won’t be as strong as the price on them suggests. Alcantara will ensure that the Marlins are in this game all night, so Miami is an excellent value.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model has a B-graded play on the total, while SportsLine expert Allie O’Neill has a play in on the money line.


💰 The Picks

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⚾ MLB

Tigers at Guardians, 6:40 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Detroit Tigers +175

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The Pick: Tigers (+175) — This will be the second game of a doubleheader, featuring a Cleveland team that suddenly has a firm 2.5 game grip over the Twins and White Sox in the AL Central.

Playing the last place team in the division provides an opportunity to expand that lead, but the Tigers are a strong value tonight. Xzavion Curry makes his MLB debut for the Guardians, and the former seventh-round pick has been solid in the minors but not spectacular. The Tigers have one of the worst offenses in MLB, but it’s a better lineup than any Curry has faced in the minors, so it’s not insane to think he could have a rough night.

Key Trend: Cleveland has lost six straight second games of a doubleheader.

Cubs at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Washington Nationals +118

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

The Pick: Nationals (+118) — We’re fading the Cubs more than we’re backing the Nationals in this spot. The Cubs are 23-32 on the road this season, so it’s difficult to trust them as a favorite, particularly with Marcus Stroman starting. He does not miss nearly enough batsm allows too much hard contact to expect consistent results and is backed by a mediocre Cubs bullpen that had to pitch a lot of innings Sunday.

As for the Nats, Josiah Gray remains far more potential than production, but he’s been better than his 4.81 ERA indicates. He has a strong strikeout rate, and while he’s been prone to allowing the longball, some of that’s been bad luck. The primary concern is that Gray loses command frequently, and that could hurt him against a Cubs lineup that does a decent job of drawing walks.

Key Trend: The Cubs are 2-6 in their last eight road games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SuperContest guru and SportsLine expert R.J. White shares his full slate of 23 futures bets he’s made for the 2022 NFL season.

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