Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Expect Another High-Scoring Tigers-Pirates Affair?
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Last night’s Braves-Reds Under 9.5 play was a true rollercoaster of a bet — Carlos Perez made a disastrous play at home plate that cost us a pair of runs, but we were also very fortunate that the Reds had the bases loaded on two occasions, once with no outs and another time with one out, only to score a total of zero runs in both situations. And then of course there was the final out of the game, in which Ender Inciarte had us all fooled in thinking that ball off the bat of Adam Duvall was gone. We can’t enjoy it too long, though, as my next bet is one of the first games from Thursday’s slate.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 17-6-2, +10.5 units
Yesterday’s Result: Braves-Reds Under 9.5, Wisler vs. Finnegan (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit; all lines as of 9 a.m. ET
Detroit Tigers @ Pittsburgh Pirates | O/U: 8
12:35 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Probable Pitchers: Michael Fulmer (1-2, 3.47 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.20 ERA)
You always would rather make sure of one thing when backing an under wager that involves Ivan Nova (pictured above): Is the game being played within the pitcher-friendly confines of PNC Park?
In this particular case, yes it is. That’s important because since coming to the National League via the New York Yankees right before the 2016 trade deadline, the 31-year-old right-hander has been superb when working from the hill in Pittsburgh (10-4 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 18 starts). Additionally, opposing batters have mustered just a .265 batting average in those outings. On the road for his career, Nova holds a 4.52 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.
The nine-year veteran faced these same Tigers in the first game of the campaign, and he fared nicely, allowing just two runs in five solid innings. We’ll gladly take a duplicate of that outing, if we can get it, and that gem came away from Pittsburgh at Comerica Park.
These clubs will be facing off for the sixth and final time following today’s matchup, and while the over has gone 4-1 in their meetings, don’t expect that to continue. That’s also because of Nova’s counterpart in this one, Michael Fulmer, will be well positioned to stifle the Pirates’ lineup.
First of all, as I analyzed a few weeks ago, Fulmer has been significantly stronger in the first half of the season compared to the second. For his career in starts prior to the All-Star break, he owns a 2.84 ERA, easily besting the 4.45 ERA he’s churned out in 21 assignments following the Midsummer Classic.
Furthermore, Fulmer has also pitched notably better in his daytime outings compared to at night. In 22 career afternoon starts, the former Mets draft pick is 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, a sharp contrast to the 12-16 mark, 4.15 ERA and 1.27 WHIP he’s recorded in 33 lifetime outings under dark skies.
Oh, and like Nova, this 25-year-old righty also has recent experience against this rare interleague opponent. Fulmer enjoyed arguably his best showing of 2018 thus far opposite the Buccos on April 1, working eight terrific innings of one-run ball, yielding a total of just four hits and two walks. Fulmer and Nova both figure to also get a boost at this early start time following a doubleheader, as you have to figure at least a couple of key veterans will be on the bench for the ballgame.
With this under, you’ll want to get your bet in as soon as possible while the line sits at 8. I’m actually a little surprised it’s not 7.5, as it’s comparable to yesterday’s Jordan Zimmermann vs. Jameson Taillon affair, which didn’t blink from its opening line of 7.5. The argument could be made that this is the superior pitching matchup. Either way, it’s a delightful bet to make to get your Thursday started off right.
Play: UNDER 8 (-120)