Major League Baseball enters its third week, and we have another full slate of action on Tuesday.
The Pick: Tigers ML (+185)
Let’s start things off with a big underdog. The Yankees will head to Detroit to start a three-game series with the Tigers, and they will have their ace on the mound in Gerrit Cole. Unfortunately, Cole has not looked very ace-like to start the season. He’s been hit hard in his first two outings, racking up a 5.59 ERA and a 6.20 FIP. He’s allowed three homers in just 9 2/3 innings, and his 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings would be his worst mark since 2016.
It’s fair to note that those starts were against the Red Sox and Blue Jays, who are expected to be strong offensive squads this season. The Tigers represent a significant decrease in competition, but it still seems like Cole is being priced based on his reputation rather than his results.
The Tigers have gotten heavy sharp support in this spot, generating 92% of the moneyline dollars on just 27% of the wagers. Don’t be surprised if these odds drop before first pitch.
The Pick: Rays ML (-120)
It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Rays, who have won just five of their first 10 contests. Still, the Rays have been the model of consistency, posting a winning record in each of the past four seasons. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this squad moving forward.
They should be able to rack up a few wins vs. the Cubs, who tore down their roster last season. They traded away previous stalwarts like Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Báez, and they did very little to replace them in the offseason.
The Rays will employ a bullpen game, with Matt Wisler getting the ball first. The Rays’ bullpen is very deep, and Wisler has pitched to a 1.93 ERA to start the season. Meanwhile, the Cubs will turn to Justin Steele, who is still looking to prove himself in the majors. He’s off to a fantastic start this season, but he pitched to a 5.52 FIP over 57 innings last season. I give the Rays the clear advantage on the mound, so getting them at -120 is a very appealing price tag.
The Pick: Rangers ML (+115)
The Mariners made a big splash this offseason by signing reigning Cy Young award winner Robbie Ray to serve as their ace. Ray put together a huge year with the Blue Jays, but some of his old warts have started to rear their ugly head. In particular, walks and homers have been Ray’s biggest bugaboos throughout his career. He managed to get both of those numbers under control last season – he allowed just 1.5 homers and 2.4 walks per nine innings – but those figures are up to 2.7 and 4.1 in his first season with the Mariners. His strikeout rate has also dipped noticeably, albeit over a small sample size.
There’s plenty of time for Ray to turn things around, but I’ll take my chances with the Rangers at better than even money. They’ll turn to one of their big free agent acquisitions at pitcher in Jon Gray, who has the potential for a career-year outside of Coors Field. The Rangers also have the potential to be one of the best offenses in baseball after signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and they’re first in wRC+ vs. southpaws to start the season.
The Pick: Braves ML (+125)
Tuesday’s nightcap features a heavyweight showdown between the Braves and Dodgers. The Braves are the reigning World Series champs, while the Dodgers have been the best team in baseball over the past half-decade. Both teams are among the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series this season, so this is a marquee matchup.
The Dodgers are off to a better start this season, but the Braves have an advantage in Tuesday’s contest. Max Fried will take the hill in this matchup, and the Dodgers have been much worse against southpaws than against right-handers recently. They rank just 23rd in wRC+ vs. left-handers to start the season, and they were eighth in that department last season.
Fried is also one of the best left-handers in the league. He’s pitched to a 3.04 ERA or better in three of the past four seasons, and he’s posted a 2.01 FIP through his first two starts this season. I’ll take my chances with Fried and the Braves in this spot.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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