WSH: Patrick Corbin – L (12-7, 3.20 ERA/1.15 WHIP)
STL: Miles Mikolas – R (9-13, 4.28 ERA/1.22 WHIP)
The Cardinals took the opener of the series by the score 4-2 and now lead the NL Central by two games. Meanwhile, the Nationals have lost eight of the last 12 games; their once-cushy lead for home-field advantage in the NL Wild Card game has dwindled down to a half-game. This is the most important game on Tuesday’s MLB schedule, so there should be plenty of fireworks to go along with it.
Odds Analysis: Nationals at Cardinals
St. Louis opened as slight underdogs at +106 but quickly moved to -102 after the open. However, the biggest move was on the total, which moved from 8.5 to 8.0, after three-fourths of bets went on the under.
Nationals Betting Form
Patrick Corbin hasn’t part of the Nationals’ problems, as the team has won four of his last six starts. Even in the losses, he allowed two runs in each of them and received a total of three runs of support. Given the decrease on the total, we’re willing to bet Corbin has another signature quality start in the tank.
The Cardinals have below-average numbers against left-handed pitching this season. And it’s also worth noting that Corbin has solid numbers against a majority of the big bats in their lineup.
As for offense, the Nationals own the seventh-best weighted on-base average (.330) against right-handed pitching this season. However, this won’t be an easy matchup against a Cardinals pitcher in peak form.
Cardinals Betting Form
That aforementioned Cardinals pitcher in peak form – Miles Mikolas. The crafty righty owns a solid 0.95 WHIP over his last four starts and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in that same span. Luckily St. Louis will get Mikolas at home, where he owns a 2.91 ERA – compared to 5.80 on the road. Mikolas faced Washington once this season, allowing one run over six innings.
We mentioned the struggles of the Cardinals against Corbin and left-handed pitching in general. With the Nationals’ season slipping away by the day, Corbin should at least do his part and keep runs off the scoreboard.
Betting Pick: Under 8
We saw a low-scoring game last night, and it looks like we’ll see more of the same. Eight of the last 11 Nationals’ games have gone under the total while five of the last eight Cardinals’ games have suffered the same fate.
HOU: Justin Verlander – R (18-6, 2.58 ERA/0.78 WHIP)
The Astros are tied with the Yankees for best record in baseball at 98-53; on the National League side, the Dodgers sit one game behind at 97-54. There’s plenty at stake as we reach the final two weeks of the season, so don’t expect Houston to sit back and take this matchup lightly. Luckily, the Astros will have their dominating ace on the mound for this one.
Odds Analysis: Rangers at Astros
There was no movement at all on the line or total right after the open last night. However, with Astros rolling their ace out, we should expect to see plenty of the money coming in on them tonight.
Rangers Betting Form
Lance Lynn had quite the revival this season, and he’ll look to spoil the Astros’ stretch-run as the cherry on top. The veteran righty has actually done quite well against Houston this season, posting a 3.00 ERA/1.14 WHIP in three starts. Additionally, Lynn racked up 31 strikeouts in a span of 21 innings against them this season. In a fascinating stat dive, Lynn has posted more strikeouts in slightly-fewer innings pitched on the road – 118 there in 93 innings compared to 98 in 95 2/3 innings at home.
Everyone should say a prayer for the Rangers’ offense tonight because it typically doesn’t go well in this matchup. After all, they are facing one of the best in baseball, and you’ll see the overall scope in just a second.
Astros Betting Form
Justin Verlander should buy a stake in the Rangers because, technically, he already owns them. In five starts against Texas this season, the AL Cy-Young candidate has a 4-0 record and 2.70 ERA. When looking at the BvP (batter vs. pitcher) history, the numbers start get ridiculous. The Rangers’ current roster owns microscopic .214 batting average and .271 on-base percentage numbers against Verlander. Not to mention, that same current roster is striking out 29.5 percent of the time they step up to plate against him. Don’t forget to say those prayers, everyone.
It might not look like the Astros’ offense will fare much better, but they do have some good BvP history against Lynn. Nonetheless, this is the biggest start he will have for the rest of the season. Expect Lynn to bring his A-game in what’ll be the Rangers’ version of the playoffs – they certainly won’t be in the real version.
Betting Tip: Under 8.5
The Rangers have the lowest IRT (implied run total) on the board tonight at 3.1, and it makes plenty of sense. After all, they’re going against Verlander, who has completely owned them. Lynn is certainly capable of holding his end of the pitcher’s-duel bargain, so we like this bet more than any on this game.
Two teams, from two different coasts, with different objectives square off against one another tonight. On one hand, we have the Dodgers looking to lock down home-field advantage for the National League Playoffs; they also sit one game behind the Astros and Yankees for the best record in MLB. On the other hand, we’ve got the Rays, who own the second and last AL Wild Card spot; they also sit one game behind the A’s for home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game.
This will never be a heralded rivalry, but this game sure means a lot to both sides.
Odds Analysis: Rays at Dodgers
The biggest movement comes in the form of implied runs totals, as the Dodgers got a significant -0.4 decrease. Of course, this moves the total down from 8.5 to 8.0. That’s because one starting pitcher is returning to the Rays’ rotation, and we’ll describe how this affects things in a moment.
Rays Betting Form
Blake Snell is the one returning to Tampa Bay’s rotation, and it really could not come at a better time. The Rays are so close to returning to the postseason and his return can do nothing but increase their chances. Prior to landing on the injured list for nearly two months, Snell allowed a total of 14 hits, six walks (0.91 WHIP) and four runs in his last four outings – a span of 22 innings.
The Rays’ offense usually gets it done by chipping away at their opponents. Tonight shouldn’t be any different, as they’ll be going against a handful of Dodgers’ bullpen pitchers. Tampa Bay has been a better team on the road, posting a slightly-better winning percentage away from Tropicana Field. Look for them to make this an interesting night out at Chavez Ravine.
Dodgers Betting Form
Ross Stripling can only do so much in his limited form, maxing out at three innings in each of his three September outings. But it makes sense, considering he’s coming off a right-bicep injury. The Dodgers will certainly need Stripling out of the bullpen for long-relief duty when the postseason finally gets here. There’s not much that can be done here, and the Dodgers will err on the side of caution for tonight’s matchup.
We know the Dodgers as being this great team altogether, but facing left-handed starters has not been an easy task. In fact, 10 of the last 14 lefty starters that faced LA allowed three runs or fewer. Granted, Snell hasn’t pitched an MLB game in nearly two months, but he’s an electric thrower with plenty of emotion. Not to mention, he’ll get the pitcher in the NL park, as opposed to the designated hitter he usually faces in the AL.
Betting Pick: Rays +113
The Dodgers typically get huge moneylines at home, so it’s somewhat concerning to see them this low. It goes without saying, the Rays need this game, and there’s plenty of motivation with the Indians coming up behind them in the standings. Look for Snell to have a solid outing and get his squad off to a good start. No other bullpen in MLB has a better ERA (2.40) than Tampa Bay over the last 14 days.
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