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Astros vs. White Sox Odds & Picks: Justin Verlander, Dylan Cease to Dominate (Aug. 16)

Astros vs. White Sox Odds & Picks: Justin Verlander, Dylan Cease to Dominate (Aug. 16) article feature image

Logan Riely/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander

  • The Astros are slight favorites in tonight's matchup with the White Sox.
  • The top two Cy Young contenders in the American League square off in Justin Verlander for Houston and Dylan Cease for Chicago.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Astros vs. White Sox Odds

Astros Odds -130
White Sox Odds +110
Over/Under 7 (-105 / -115)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Chicago White Sox battled back by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth to steal Game 1 of this series on Monday. They were afforded that chance because Johnny Cueto pitched like an ace as he allowed just one earned runs over eight innings of work.

However, the true aces will get their turns on Tuesday as Dylan Cease will get the ball for Chicago. Cease has been on a legendary tear and has not given up more than three earned runs in a start since May 29. The Astros lineup will certainly challenge his streak, but there are many indications that he can get the better of them.

On the other side, we have AL Cy Young award favorite Justin Verlander. Verlander has been astounding in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. He enters this start with a 15-3 record and 1.85 ERA. Not to mention he’s doing all of this at 39. So in what appears to be a pitchers’ duel for the ages, how are we playing this? Let’s dive in to find out.

Expect Cease to Generate Quick Outs

The Astros are one of the most well-rounded teams in baseball. They have power, pitching, speed, and defense. However, when you look at their metrics, one thing stands out: Houston is 28th in BABIP for the season.

While the Astros are a top-10 team in hard contact and barrel rate, that BABIP ranking is a sign of bad luck as the Astros also have the second-lowest strikeout rate in the majors.

While the Astros may be due for some more hits on the balls they put in play, it is unlikely that they come against Cease, who is in the top 10 percent of all qualified pitchers in hard-hit rate, xERA, xwOBA, and xBA. Those numbers are generated by some nearly untouchable stuff.

Cease will lean on a slider he throws nearly 42 percent of the time. How could he not? It has a spin rate of more than 2800 rpm and about three more inches of vertical and horizontal movement than the average big league slider. The results are even more staggering. Opposing batters have whiffed on more than 47 percent of his sliders thrown this season. As a result, the pitch has a BAA of .121.

Although, what makes the slider even more effective is that he has a 97 mph fastball to go off it. His fastball is an elite pitch, as well. Its spin rate is among the top 3 percent in baseball. This deadly two-pitch combination is bad news for any team, even this high-powered Astros lineup.

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Look for Verlander to Roll Through Chicago

Verlander appears to be better than ever. Yes, his strikeout rate is down from the last time we saw him fully healthy, but that has not stopped him from dominating each time out this season.

It just so happens that one of his minor blips this season came against the White Sox. Chicago beat up Verlander as he allowed seven runs (four earned) on nine hits, and he lasted only until the fourth inning. That was one of only two outings this season in which Velander has allowed more than three runs.

Given Verlander’s track record and competitive mentality, the odds are that we won’t see a performance like that again.

It also helps that the White Sox are due for some regression against right-handed pitching. Chicago is fifth in the majors in batting average with a .255 team average against righties this season. However, the team is sixth in BABIP but then is not even top 20 in wOBA and wRC+.

Astros-White Sox Pick

This pitching matchup is appointment television and could be one of the best pitching duels we see all season long. Both starters have been locked in for quite some time now, and their combined efforts could be a pitching masterpiece.

However, with all that said, I’m not backing either of the bullpens in this one. The best angle for this game is the first five under.

Pick F5 Under 3.5 (-115)

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