Betting odds: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants
- Pirates: +118 (Ivan Nova)
- Giants: -131 (Andrew Suarez)
- Over/Under: 8 (-113o/-107u)
- First pitch: 10:15 p.m. ET
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There’s always an interesting exercise that takes place involving weather and baseball when you’re handicapping. It frequently comes up with regard to San Francisco, where you get chilly temperatures, the marine layer, and the whole meteorological arsenal. How much emphasis do you place on weather over other factors?
Let’s use Thursday’s game as an example. Andrew Suarez and Ivan Nova have both been, at best, average starters. Nova hasn’t put together a particularly effective start in several months, doesn’t strike anyone out with frequency anymore, and has lost some of his command. Since June 22nd, he has an ERA of about 6 and has pitched into the 7th inning once. His numbers don’t point to any upcoming positive regression.
Meanwhile, Suarez has allowed at least three earned runs in his last four starts, and five home runs in his last 16 innings. He has incredibly polarizing splits vs. righties and lefties this season (average over .300 and an OPS over .850 vs righties), and there are many who believe he can’t really take a step forward without learning to get righties out with any frequency. These aren’t dominant pitchers going through a spell. In millennial parlance, these bros are hittable.
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If they were pitching in Texas, the total would probably be 11. But they are pitching in San Francisco where it’s going to be 60 degrees and the total is 8. My model doesn’t know everything, and it returns a few too many overs (although that’s been toned down quite a bit since April), but both the model and I think this number is a little too low, even when adjusting for park/weather factors.
In terms of how to play this game, one thing to keep in mind is that the Giants have a bullpen that’s performed really well this year, and the Pirates’ bullpen is about average but improving through recent acquisitions like Keone Kela. As the temperatures get down even colder (like 50 degrees in August … yikes) in the late innings, you could see this game grind to a halt when these bullpens get involved. As a result, I’ll play specifically against the obvious shortcomings of Nova and Suarez, and take the first five over of 4.5, which is also available at plus-money in most places.
The Bet: First 5 innings (over 4.5 +105)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights