The MLB regular season heads into the second week of June with eight brand new series getting underway on Monday. Bovada has released its series price for each of these three-game sets, and after going through the key stats, facts and figures, I have uncovered a trio of solid opportunities to cash in on the games.
The following is a brief handicapping breakdown and free picks for my top three series prices for this week's action.
San Diego Padres (-115) vs. Atlanta Braves (-115)
The Padres continue to hang tough in the competitive NL West Division race with an overall record of 29-29 after winning three of their last four series. They took two of three from Cincinnati on the road this past weekend after beating the New York Mets in two of three contests at home earlier last week. This will be the first meeting this season against the Braves, but San Diego has a 5-3 edge in the last eight games. It will go with Ian Kennedy as its starter for Game 1, and James Shields and Tyson Ross round out a trio of solid arms for the Padres in this series.
Atlanta is just three games off the pace in the NL East with a record of 27-29, but it has just one victory in its last five games after dropping back-to-back series against Arizona at home and Pittsburgh on the road. The Braves do come into Monday's series opener as -132 home favorites with Shelby Miller on the mound, but Mike Foltynewicz and Williams Perez could be liabilities in the next two games. Foltynewicz is sporting a 4.29 ERA through seven previous starts, and Perez was shelled for four earned runs on five hits in just five innings of work his last time out. I am going to stick with San Diego to add another series win to its current run.
Kansas City Royals (-110) vs. Minnesota Twins (-120)
The Royals come into the matchup of the week in the majors with just three victories in their last 12 games to fall a game off the pace in the AL Central behind Minnesota. They lost back-to-back series to Texas and Cleveland at home this past week. Kansas City is averaging 4.4 runs a game this season, but this has dropped to just 2.25 runs in its last 12 games. Another concern heading into this series is a 12-12 record on the road as opposed to a 19-11 record at home.
Minnesota has cooled a bit with a 3-4 record in its last seven games, including an interleague series loss to Milwaukee this past weekend. This followed an 11-3 run in its previous 14 outings. In six previous games this season between these two division foes, the Twins went 2-1 at home and 1-2 on the road. Overall, Minnesota has been a different team at home with a 20-9 record verses a losing 13-14 mark on the road. I like the Twins' chances to grab the win in this series as well with Trevor May getting the call in Game 2 and Kyle Gibson on the mound for Wednesday's contest. May is coming off a quality start his last time out, and despite the fact that Gibson was tagged for five earned runs in his last outing, his ERA on the year is still a solid 3.00.
Houston Astros (+120) vs. Chicago White Sox (-150)
Houston has been the talk of the American League this season following a 34-24 start that has the Astros up by 3.5 games in the AL West, but reality might be setting in with four straight losses and a 5-8 record in their last 13 games. They were swept on the road against Toronto this past weekend to fall to 3-6 in their last nine games on the road. Despite the recent slide, Houston could have the edge in Monday's matchup in Game 1 as a +134 road underdog with Lance McCullers on the mound. In four previous starts this season, the right-hander has a 1.88 ERA and a WHIP of 1.00.
The White Sox dropped two of three to Detroit this past weekend at home after losing two of three to Texas on the road earlier in the week. In the only previous meeting against the Astros this season, Chicago managed to take two of three on the road to close out the month of May. Chris Sale will be the White Sox starter on Monday night, and he has been hot as well with back-to-back shutouts against Texas and Baltimore in his last two outings. This series could hinge on Tuesday's matchup between Dallas Keuchel for Houston against Chicago starter Carlos Rodon. Keuchel will be making his 13th start of the season with a 7-1 record behind a 1.85 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. This series could be tight call, but I am still going with the more favorable odds on the Astros.
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