Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday September 24, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 9/23/2014
Barring coming back on short rest Sunday, which is unlikely, all the starting pitchers going on Wednesday will be throwing their final game of the 2014 regular season (I suppose there could be a Game No. 163 for a playoff spot, which technically would count as a regular-season game). There are some interesting statistical things to monitor with a handful of them.Here's a look at five interesting matchups on the schedule. Bovada will offer six live betting games overall.
White Sox at Tigers (-118, 7)
This will be it for Chris Sale (12-4, 2.20) in 2014. The Sox could have pitched him Tuesday on normal rest and then again Sunday against Kansas City, but the team felt there was no reason to push him even though that Sunday game could be huge for the Royals. Sale will try to win the AL ERA title, although it's a long shot with Felix Hernandez at 2.07. He went Tuesday night and then perhaps again Sunday. Sale had a rare rough outing last time out, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings against Kansas City. He is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA this season against the Tigers. Justin Verlander (14-12, 4.68) is probably ready for this year to end. He did look strong in a big game last time out, however, holding the Royals to one run over 7.1 innings. He's the team's No. 3 starter heading into the playoffs. Verlander is 2-1 with a 4.39 ERA vs. the White Sox this year. Jose Abreu is 7-for-12 with two solo homers off him. This matinee will have live betting.
Key trends: Chicago is 2-8 in Sale's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Tigers are 5-1 in Verlander's past six outings. Detroit is 8-2 in Verlander's past 10 at home vs. the White Sox. The "over/under" has gone over in seven of Verlander's past nine at home against the Pale Hose.
Early lean: Under at -125. It's the biggest under favorite on the board.
Diamondbacks at Twins (-148, 8)
Perhaps the best free-agent signing this past offseason was the Minnesota Twins inking Phil Hughes to a very team-friendly contract. It looked bad at first after Hughes' 2013 season in New York, but he has been terrific this season and could set an MLB record. Hughes (15-10, 3.61) has struck out 185 batters and walked only 16. That's a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.3. The record among qualified starters in the modern era is 11.0 by Bret Saberhagen in 1994. Hughes hasn't faced Arizona this year. Arizona lefty Vidal Nuno (2-11, 4.60) is searching for his first win since late June while with the Yankees. He did face the Twins on May 30, allowing four runs in 6.2 innings. Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe both homered off him. Pretty sure it's the first time I have used the names Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe in a sentence.
Key trends: Arizona is 1-12 in Nuno's past 13 outings. The Twins are 2-5 in Hughes' past seven against teams with a losing record. The over is 6-0 in Minnesota's past six at home against lefties.
Early lean: Take the Twins at +145 on the runline.
Mariners at Blue Jays (+103, 8)
Toronto lefty Mark Buehrle can put a major dent in the playoffs hopes of Seattle on Wednesday, and I'd be willing to bet anything that Buerhle will pitch at least six innings. Why? Buehrle (12-10, 3.53) has thrown 194 innings this year, and he very much wants to reach 200 for a 14th straight year, which is pretty remarkable these days. Manager John Gibbons has said he wouldn't rule out throwing Buehrle in relief on the final day of the season against Baltimore if he's a couple of innings away from getting to 200. Buehrle hasn't faced Seattle this year. Robinson Cano hits him well in their careers, going 9-for-26 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Taijuan Walker (2-2, 3.00) won at Houston last time out, allowing two runs in 5.2 innings. He will be a huge part of this rotation next season. No Blue Jays have faced him. This will have live betting.
Key trends: Seattle is 1-5 in its past six against left-handers. Toronto is 1-5 in Buehrle's past six against teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in Buehrle's past six.
Early lean: Slight lean to Mariners because they need it so badly.
Cardinals at Cubs (-111, TBA)
I wouldn't ever say someone deserves a no-hitter, but the Cubs' Jake Arrieta almost does on Wednesday in his season finale. In his last start, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the third time this season. He had to settle for a complete-game one-hitter against the Reds, striking out a season-high 13. Arrieta (9-5, 2.65) has been one of the breakout stars of the NL this season. He hasn't gotten a decision in three starts vs. St. Louis this year despite a stellar 1.76 ERA. John Lackey (14-9, 3.86) got a few days extra rest last time out after complaining of "dead arm," and he responded with one-run ball over 7.2 innings against Cincinnati. He faced the Cubs on Aug. 31, allowing two earned over 6.1 innings.
Key trends: The Cards are 4-1 in Lackey's past five vs. teams with a losing record. The Cubs are 4-1 in Arrieta's past five at home. The over is 4-0 in his past four overall.
Early lean: I'll take a still motivated Cardinals team as a dog.
Giants at Dodgers (-260, 5.5)
It's the season finale for the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, who has been just unbelievable. He is a lock for his third NL Cy Young Award, will win a fourth straight ERA title (that's in the majors, not just the NL) and probably takes the NL MVP. Kershaw (20-3, 1.80) will have to be good here to set a career best for ERA, which was 1.83 last year. He is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in three starts against the Giants. Buster Posey is one of the best hitters in baseball but he hits just .196 with 12 strikeouts off Kershaw. San Francisco's Tim Hudson (9-12, 3.52) is going to finish with a losing record for the first time in his potential Hall of Fame career. The 39-year-old might be worn down as his ERA is 9.92 this month, and the Giants have lost all four of his starts. Hudson is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA in two starts vs. L.A. Adrian Gonzalez hits .417 off him with two homers and five knocked in. This will have live betting.
Key trends: San Francisco is 1-6 in Hudson's past seven against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in Kershaw's past five vs. teams above .500. The under is 6-1 in his past eight against the Giants at home.
Early lean: Wow, an opening total of 5.5. I'm going over that at +100 because even if Kershaw blanks the Giants, I could see the Dodgers scoring six at least off a struggling Hudson.
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