Lo Duca: Two Totals I Like On Getaway Day
Sometimes a 162-game schedule can just beat you up. Sure, you want to believe no professional athletes — or officials for that matter — will take a game off, but there are certain spots where you need to take the schedule into account.
Let me explain.
New York Mets (-104) at St. Louis Cardinals (-106) | O/U: 7
1:15 p.m. ET
The first-place New York Mets close out a series with the St. Louis Cardinals in a day game. So far this series has seen the Mets win an extra-inning thriller Tuesday and the Cardinals win a blowout Wednesday. The rubber match will feature a great pitching matchup between Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Martinez.
With two live arms on the mound, this game figures to be a strikeout-fest. Both of these hurlers have crazy numbers, but Martinez’s are just bewildering. The Cardinals’ ace has issued the fourth-most walks in the league, yet he’s still able to dominate. So far, C-Mart is averaging 10.52 K’s per nine innings and has only given up one homer on the year. Furthermore, his last start saw him get through six scoreless frames before being lifted for no apparent reason.
On the other hand, Syndergaard has fanned 39 batters against just five walks in his five outings this season. Ten of those strikeouts were against the Cards on Opening Day, although he did give up four runs in four-plus innings. As good as he’s been early on, the Cardinals could catch Thor with the longball. St. Louis is fourth in the MLB with 31 homers, and Syndergaard has allowed 0.99 HR/9 in 2018.
The thing that really caught my eye with this game is the total (7). You won’t normally see such a low total for a day game with beautiful weather. Additionally, these teams have already seen the opposing pitcher this month. It feels like a bit of a trap over to me, as that’s a very low total — regardless of how good the pitchers are — for two teams above .500 that also boast decent offenses.
Why do I feel confident in the under? Well, it’s getaway day! St. Louis will travel to Pittsburgh after the game, and the Mets have a long flight to San Diego to look forward to. Here’s another subtle reason I like the under. The strike zone gets a lot bigger on getaway day. The umpires don’t want to be there all day, either. They have a flight to catch! Look for Martinez’s base on balls problem to subside and for him to pitch deep into the game, with Thor matching him.
Vegas is begging for you to play the over, but I think the under is the play.
Atlanta Braves (-136) at Cincinnati Reds (+126) | O/U: 9
12:35 p.m. ET
It seems like all the sharp money the last few days has been on the Reds. It almost paid off again last night, but the Braves rallied late to get the 5-4 win. So let’s shift to Thursday, as Homer Bailey will try to get his first win of the season for the Reds, and big Sean Newcomb will take the hill for Atlanta to end the four-game set.
Bailey has been battling injuries over the past three years, and his numbers reflect that, as the league hit over .300 against him over 18 starts last year. This year’s been a different story for the veteran right-hander. Through five starts, opponents are batting .218 against Bailey. Why? Because he’s healthy. That’s the bottom line. Additionally, the 31-year-old has been better at home — decent playing in a hitter’s haven.
His opponent has also been decent in the early going. Newcomb threw well at Coors Field and then hung in there against the Cubs and Mets. The young southpaw’s problem has been the walk, as he’s issued 68 free passes in his 121.2 career innings. However, Newcomb’s numbers are much better away from home.
Once again, I love the total here. The bookmakers set it at 9 after these two teams have combined to score 39 runs through three games in this series. Yesterday’s total was set at 9.5, so the oddsmakers have actually lowered the over/under even though the hitting conditions will be better.
After a lucky under hit last night, over bettors will be back at it in this one. You never want to chase, right? Right.
Let me warn you again. Atlanta flies to Philadelphia after the game, and the Reds trek to Minnesota. I expect the strike zone to be a little larger; look for another getaway day pitchers’ duel.
The sharpies are going to play the under in this game. I’m joining them.
All odds current as of Wednesday night.
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports