Saturday’s MLB Over/Under: Giddy Up For a Matt Andriese Start

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Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is nothing better than a winning over/under that you don’t even have to sweat. That was exactly the case last night in the Mets-Phillies series opener with my Under 8.5 bet. Let’s focus on keeping it going.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 26-13-2, +11.6 units

Yesterday’s Result: Mets-Phillies Under 8.5, Matz vs. Arrieta (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles | O/U: 9.5

7:10ish p.m. ET (starts 30 minutes after first game is complete)

Probable Pitchers: Matt Andriese (0-1, 3.92 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (0-4, 7.61 ERA)

Usually, I won’t take over/unders from doubleheaders, but this is actually the third such instance for me this season (1-1 in the first two). And there’s a reason I’m going after one today, as the starting pitching matchup in the latter contest of this twin bill has me a little giddy with excitement.

That’s mostly because it involves right-hander Matt Andriese making his second start of the year for the Rays, a hurler I’ve been a big fan of since early on in the 2016 season. This is someone I feel very strongly is underrated and should certainly already be a regular part of Tampa Bay’s starting pitching staff, but he’s been reduced to bullpen duty due to the club’s insistence on having one “bullpen day” turn in the rotation. And even in those games, it’s mostly been someone else tabbed with the starting assignment.

But here we’ll be able to lean on Andriese out of the gate, as he’s capable of dealing a handful of quality innings, at least, if he’s not allowed to eat up a lot of outs. In his lone other start a couple of weeks ago, the 28-year-old pitched into the fourth inning in Boston and yielded only two measly hits in his 3.1 shutout frames, striking out three and walking none. He has to be considered a little more stretched out than most relievers as a result, therefore opening up the possibility that he is indeed permitted to go deeper into the ballgame.

It’s still baffling why Andriese wasn’t anointed a starter out of spring training, but I can assure you that’s what he prefers, making this an important outing for the four-year veteran. He came through in that first start at Fenway Park and he’s capable of doing the same tonight at Camden Yards against a team against whom he’s had success. Last year, he chipped in a quality start on the road in Baltimore, and despite taking the defeat, he still registered a season-high-tying eight Ks compared to one walk. In 2016, he faced the O’s three times and limited them to two runs or fewer in two of those starts. This year’s Orioles, of course, have been struggling at the dish, scoring the fewest runs-per-game (3.87) in the American League entering today’s action.

Things can go awry, of course, when you know a bullpen is likely to be on the hook for the majority of these innings, even if Andriese gives up zilch during his time on the hill. But Tampa Bay is used to this process by now, and it’s also possible we benefit from the promotion of promising southpaw Anthony Banda, the 26th man for the Rays in this doubleheader.

Under backers should also be happy with the involvement of Cobb, despite his troublesome numbers in his first year with the Orioles. Since allowing a whopping 30 hits and 20 runs (17 earned) in just 11.2 innings over his first three starts, Cobb has churned out two straight quality starts. In his most recent one, he struck out a season-high five, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it does represent progress and him becoming more acclimated with his new surroundings.

Despite his shaky 2018 numbers, the former Rays pitcher still has something left and he’s harnessing it again. It’s why in his first full year back from injury a season ago, he went 12-10 with a respectable 3.66 ERA. Cobb’s velocity has also been right where he wants it, averaging 92.5 mph on his fastball. That’s about as high as it’s been for his career.

He’ll be facing his old mates for the second time, after they got to him during his only home start in Baltimore on April 25. That day, Tampa Bay tagged Cobb for five runs on 10 hits and a walk, and you know the righty will be out for revenge. That was also before Cobb’s breakthrough that we’ve seen in his past couple of starts, so the motivation will certainly be there to keep it going.

With this being the nightcap of a doubleheader — and with most of Tampa Bay’s usual starters (other than Wilson Ramos) playing in the opener — we could get a handful of dead-bat hitters off the bench appearing in the starting lineup (praying for Jesus Sucre to be in there), which can only help our under. Right now, the line sits at 9.5, but you might as well wait to see if it goes to 10, which is possible depending upon how many runs are scored in the afternoon meeting. Either way, look for Andriese and Cobb to do their part in helping secure an under win.

Play: UNDER 9.5/10

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