By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
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Money Line: CLE -139 | CWS +129
Run Line: CLE -1.5 (+124) | CWS +1.5 (-140)
Total: 6.5 (O -118, U +105)
First Pitch: 7:10 CDT | Guaranteed Rate Field | Chicago, IL
Pitching Matchup: Shane Bieber (2-2, 2.48 ERA) | Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 4.32 ERA)
It’s Friday night baseball from the G-Spot and the oddsmakers have the Tribe as a decent sized favorite in the series opener. That’s because Shane Bieber toes the rubber and last time he faced the Sox, he went 9.0 IP and allowed 0 runs on just three hits. Cleveland won that game 2-0 in extra innings as Lucas Giolito was equally spectacular and pushed it to extras. Let’s get into this one and lock in a bet so we have some action tonight!
Cleveland Indians (11-12)
As mentioned, the former Cy Young gets the nod tonight for Terry Francona’s squad. He’s a strikeout machine and he’s racked up 57 over five starts on the year, which ranks second in the league. There’s not much to say about him aside from he’s really good. The righty relies big time on his 4-seamer (36.9%) which averages 92.1 mph but also mixes in a curve (29.4%), slider (28.3%), and occasional changeup (4.9%). His numbers are pretty insane with the fastball having a putaway percentage of 40.7%, the curve at 28.2%, and his slider at 31.8%. If you’re not aware of putaway percentage, that’s the rate of two-strike counts that result in a strikeout when he uses that pitch. So those are incredibly high and pretty impressive.
Big struggles for the Tribe have come via the offense. They’re 28th in team batting average (.209) and OBP (.284) and they’ve scored the 27th most runs in the league (90). They’re reliant on the longball and they’ve blasted 30 on the year (11th). Franmil Reyes has seven while Jose Ramirez and Jordan Luplow have six big flies each.
Chicago White Sox (14-10)
Seeing that the Indians rely on homeruns so much, the White Sox are sending the right man to the mound tonight. Dallas Keuchel takes the ball for the Southsiders and his sinker should be able to keep Cleveland in the yard tonight. He’s only given up one homer against this Indians team over 64 at-bats but they do slash a respectable .253/.341/.361 against him. Keuchel may be settling in after a rough start to the year, at least by his standards. He went 6.0 IP of shutout baseball last time out against the Rangers and allowed seven hits but no walks.
The White Sox boast the league’s best offense so far this season. They’re hitting .267 and reaching base at a .347 rate which both lead Major League Baseball. Andrew Vaughn is starting to get the hang of things in the bigs as he’s seen his batting average climb up to .273 and has hits in six out of his seven most recent games. That includes a 3-4 night (with two doubles) against the Tigers last night.
Final Analysis & Best Bet
This is what it’s all about, folks. One of the league’s best hurlers taking on the number one offense. I’m backing the White Sox tonight on the money line (+129) for 1.5 units. They’re swinging the sticks well right now and they’ve won eight out of their last ten games. Getting them at plus money is big time value and the numbers are really a toss up here. We’ll need the top of the Sox lineup to bring their A-game tonight as Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu have combined for 14-43 (.325) against Bieber with two doubles and three homers. Aside from those two, Yoan Moncada has a decent history against the Cy Young winner at 6-23 with two solo homeruns. On the flip side, the Indians offense is not good and you really only have to watch out for those three guys I mentioned above. Jordan Luplow has a big differential in his splits when facing righties and lefties. Keuchel’s a lefty and in 2020 Luplow hit .270 with a homer against LHP as opposed to .122 against RHP. And this season he’s hit three homers against lefties already.
Overall, I think this game is a bit of a toss up so I like rolling with the home team and plus-money payout. They’re red hot and Dallas Keuchel is coming off of a fantastic outing against the Rangers. And final note, the Sox bullpen is plenty rested as they were efficient in their two games yesterday. Tony La Russa only used Liam Hendricks in the first game thanks to long outings from Carlos Rodon and Dylan Cease.
Trent’s MLB Betting Record
2021 MLB Season: 14-13 (-2.08 units). A $100 bettor is down $207.91 this MLB szn.