Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday August 20, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 8/19/2014
There are four afternoon getaway day games on Wednesday -- all interleague matchups -- so be on the alert for some starters getting the day off in Rangers at Marlins, Mariners at Phillies, Blue Jays at Brewers and Mets at A's.Here's a look at five interesting matchups on the schedule. Bovada offers live betting on a whopping six games on Wednesday.
Angels at Red Sox (+133, 8.5)
Just think how good the Angels might be if Josh Hamilton gets on track. He sat out Sunday and Monday just to clear his head as Hamilton has been struggling mightily, batting only .221 with three home runs in his past 35 games entering Tuesday. Despite stealing the division lead, the Angels remain +120 underdogs to win the AL West with Oakland at -240. I couldn't disagree more with that. Ace Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53) gets the call on Wednesday for L.A. He has arguably been the best pitcher in the American League (Felix Hernandez might have something to say about that) with a 1.79 ERA since the start of June. Richards took a no-decision vs. the Red Sox on Aug. 9, giving up three runs (one earned) over 6.1 innings. Yoenis Cespedes is 6-for-19 career with four extra-base hits and three RBIs off him. Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79) might have finally found his stuff with back-to-back strong outings, including against the Halos, although he hasn't won since July 18. Mike Trout is 6-for-13 with two homers off him. This game has live betting.
Key trends: The Angels are 7-0 in Richards' past seven road starts against teams with a losing record. Boston is 1-6 in Buchholz's past seven at home. The "over" is 5-0 in his past five against the Angels.
Early lean: "Under" at -110.
Royals at Rockies (+113, 9.5)
How well are things going for Kansas City right now? On Monday, All-Star catcher Salvador Perez left the game early with right knee discomfort, so there's a chance he could miss a few days. So light-hitting Erik Kratz replaces him and hits solo home runs in each of his two at-bats. Nothing can go wrong these days for the red-hot Royals. They close out their quick two-game set in the altitude behind lefty Danny Duffy (8-10, 2.60). The Royals have won his past five outings. He's 6-6 with a 2.28 ERA on the road, but obviously that's not at Coors Field. Fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa (12-8, 4.32) actually enjoys pitching at Coors, going 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA this season. He's only faced a few Royals. Josh Willingham is 3-for-8 with two RBIs and six walks off him.
Key trends: The Royals are 6-1 in their past seven against a lefty. Colorado is 5-2 in De La Rosa's past seven interleague starts.
Early lean: Two starters whom batters largely aren't familiar with. Under at -110.
Braves at Pirates (-121, 7)
It's definitely a big few days for Pittsburgh as the Pirates were to get back star outfielder Andrew McCutchen on Tuesday night and young star pitcher Gerrit Cole (7-4, 3.78) for Wednesday's game. He hasn't pitched since July 4, heading to the disabled list with a strained lat muscle. So in essence it's like the Pirates made a trade in getting Cole now, and he helped their playoff push this time last season after being called up. Cole was 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA in four rehab starts. He has never faced the Braves. Atlanta lefty Alex Wood (9-9, 3.07) has had four straight quality starts, with the Braves winning the past two. He's 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA on the road.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-6 in Wood's past seven on the road. The Pirates are 4-1 in Cole's past five at home.
Early lean: Another under, this one at -105.
Reds at Cardinals (-109, 7)
Remember how dominant St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal was late last season and in the playoffs? That guy is missing in action at the moment, and Manager Mike Matheny might have to make a change, although he claims he won't. Rosenthal blew his fifth save on Monday night and has been scored upon in each of his past three outings. His ERA is 5.87 this month. Will Lance Lynn get him a save chance? Lynn (13-8, 2.91) has a 1.97 ERA since the start of June. He is 2-0 in two starts against the Reds in 2014 despite a 6.55 ERA. Jay Bruce is 9-for-19 career with two homers and eight RBIs off Lynn. Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.06) would be a Cy Young favorite most years with those numbers, but that's going to Clayton Kershaw. The Reds have won Cueto's past five, and he hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of them. He dominated the Cardinals on opening night, allowing a run and three hits over seven innings.
Key trends: The Reds are 6-1 in Cueto's past seven against teams with a winning record. St. Louis is 5-1 in Lynn's past six at home. The under is 6-0-1 in Lynn's past seven on Wednesdays. It's 6-1 in Cueto's past seven on the day.
Early lean: This is just a coincidence, but another under (-120).
Giants at Cubs (+117, TBA)
This could be the final start in a Cubs uniform for Edwin Jackson. Chicago really blew it by signing him to a $52 million deal before last season, and Jackson has been nothing short of terrible. There is talk of banishing Jackson (6-13, 5.74) to the bullpen and then hopefully finding some sucker to take him this offseason, with the Cubs eating a ton of money. In his last three starts, Jackson is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. He pitched decently on May 28 in San Francisco, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings. Pablo Sandoval is a career .533 hitter off Jackson with a homer and five RBIs in 15 at-bats. Jake Peavy (2-12, 4.57) ended a 12-game losing streak last time out, winning for the first time since April 25. He has a 3.86 ERA in four starts with the Giants.
Key trends: The Giants have won five straight Wednesday games. The Cubs are 3-13 in Jackson's past 16 against teams with a winning record. The over is 4-0 in his past four against winning teams.
Early lean: Take the Giants and go over whatever the total is. Jackson is that unreliable.
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