Rockies-Cardinals Betting Preview: Pouncing On A Low Total

Rockies-Cardinals Betting Preview: Pouncing On A Low Total article feature image

David Kohl, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jack Flaherty

  • The Rockies and Cardinals will meet at Busch Stadium in a game with a surprisingly low total.
  • Jack Flaherty has been decent in his rookie campaign, but he doesn't go deep into games and gives up a lot of homers.
  • Jon Gray will make his third start since returning from the minors, and it's hard to believe he's pitching in a game with a total set at 7 runs.

Betting Odds: Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

  • Rockies: +109 (Jon Gray)
  • Cardinals: -119 (Jack Flaherty)
  • Total: 7 (-115/-105)
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

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On Monday I wrote about how I thought there were several factors that had dragged the total down between these two teams, and how there were enough variables in play (including Carlos Martinez’s health) that there was value on the over.  It narrowly got there, but a winner’s a winner. Now in Tuesday night’s game we have a different set of variables, but they may be pointing to the same outcome.

Quite frankly, Gray vs Flaherty is not a pitching matchup worthy of a total such as this one. Not only has Flaherty been incredibly average as a starter recently, but he gives up home runs at a staggeringly high rate and doesn’t pitch deep into games, averaging a little more than five innings per start. This means there’s a good chance that the Cards will need a lot of innings out of their below-average bullpen — the same bullpen that gave up a grand slam to Nolan Arenado after Martinez left with an injury.

Even if Flaherty’s effective, his average effective game ends pretty early, and Colorado is getting a lot of at-bats against the bullpen in this game a large percentage of the time.

On the other side, are we sure that Gray is just “fixed”? The 26-year-old has put together two very good starts since returning from the minors, but it’s still only two outings. Frankly, I can’t believe he’s pitching in a game with the total set at 7. That would have seemed impossible just a month ago.

Also, it’s worth noting that both of Gray’s starts came at Coors Field, where he’s somehow more successful than he is on the road. Weird. This will be Gray’s first road start since coming back, and even though it’s a small sample size, he’s allowed 11 runs in 8.1 innings pitched at Busch Stadium. I’m not saying he’s going to revert back to old, bad, AAA-demoted Jon Gray, but there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in this total, and he has to be phenomenal to match these expectations.

Why does he have to be phenomenal? Because just like on the other side, the Colorado bullpen (near the bottom in baseball) is waiting to take over when he’s done. Aside from allowing the winning walk-off HR, it inherited an awful situation Monday night (bases loaded, nobody out) and gave up three runs. It will be back in action again tonight.

So again, we have a situation similar to Monday, where teams, offenses and starters are being rated more according to recency as opposed to what an “average” game between the players involved would be. Weather will once again not really be a factor (mid-to-high 70s during the game), and projected home plate umpire Joe West is prone toward slightly higher-scoring contests than the average anyway. I think there’s some value on the over here (again).

The Bet: Over 7 (-115)

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.

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