Home run (Safe bet)
Go with the Washington Nationals, on at 1.60, to win at home versus the New York Mets.
This Wednesday pick has a lot going for it. The Nationals are second in the National League in terms of home winning percentage, while the Mets are one of the worse road teams on the circuit (twelfth out of fifteen teams).
The pitching matchup also very much cuts Washington’s way. Nationals’ pitcher Doug Fister is very much on his game at the moment. His overall numbers are strong – 10-3 with a 2.68 ERA – but his recent work over the past month – 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA is even better. In his past two outings, he’s been particularly sharp, posting a 1.29 ERA.
His opponent on the pitcher’s mound, Jon Niese, has good seasonal ERA (3.24), but he’s been dropping off over his past three starts, where he’s lost in every outing (0-3) because of his shoddy work (4.74 ERA).
Finally, considering Washington is ranked fourth in run production in the NL and the Mets are tenth, there’s certainly a hitting disparity here as well.
Squeeze play (Gutsiest call)
Consider going with the New York Yankees to score first - available at odds of 2.55 - at home versus the Detroit Tigers.
You’ll generally get good on the home team when taking the proposition that they’ll put runs on the board first. This match-up is worth a punt for the home team Yanks because of Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander’s historic difficulties in the first inning.
In 289 starts, Verlander has a subpar 4.08 ERA in the first inning. That said he’s been even worse to start games in 2014. In 23 first inning opportunities this season, he’s given up 12 runs, which calculates to a pretty weak 4.70 ERA. Considering he has bad history at Yankee Stadium (5.06 ERA in five starts), the possibility of him getting his bell rung early is a distinct possibility.
Yankees’ pitcher Chris Capuano only has two starts this year so the sample size is small in terms of his early game performance. Still, it’s worth noting that he didn’t give up a run in either the first or second inning in those games. For his career, he has a 3.88 ERA in the first frame. While not amazing, that number is better than Verlander’s record.