Home run (Safe bet)
Take the Chicago White Sox, on at 1.54, to win at home against the Kansas City Royals.
This Monday matchup features one of the game’s best pitchers in the White Sox’s Chris Sale squaring up against a Royals team that’s been sputtering. Sale has been dominant so far this year, putting up an 8-1 record and a 2.08 ERA. Most telling for this match-up is the fact that in his one start against the Royals earlier this year, he threw an eight-inning, four-hit shutout.
A promising start to 2014 has melted away in Kansas City as the team has been in an extended swoon. Over their last twenty games, the club is 8-12 and over the past ten it’s gotten worse (3-7). Comparatively, Chicago is 11-9 and 6-4 over the same stretch. Starter Jeremy Guthrie doesn’t suggest a turnaround for the Royals. The veteran right-hander is very much off his game at the moment. After respectable showings in the first three months of the season, Guthrie is 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA in his two July starts.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
In Atlanta, look for the Braves and the Miami Marlins to collaborate for more than 7 runs; take it at 1.82.
The key to this wager is the fact that both starting pitchers are very much tilting at the moment. In other words, the hitters should have an advantage. Braves starter Julio Teheran has a terrible 7.84 ERA in his past two starts. He was named to his first All Star game this year, but I believe that will further work against him here. Typically, the travel from going to that event tires out first-time honorees and leads to a bit of difficulty to start the second half. It’s also worth noting, he’s facing an offence that ranks fourth (out of fifteen teams) in runs scored per game in the National League.
Teheran does typically pitch well at home, which admittedly counters my expectations somewhat in this one. But I believe that even if he’s on his game, Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler more than likely will not be. He’s been even worse than Teheran over his past to outings, posting a 9.64 ERA. Moreover, he really struggles on the road where he owns a 5.37 ERA in ten starts this season.