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Guardians vs. Angels Odds & Betting Picks: Can Cleveland Take Advantage of Pitching Mismatch?

Guardians vs. Angels Odds & Betting Picks: Can Cleveland Take Advantage of Pitching Mismatch? article feature image
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Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Shane Bieber

  • Tonight's Guardians-Angels matchup is a tight one, according to oddsmakers.
  • That's somewhat of a surprise, considering Cleveland is starting ace Shane Bieber against the unproven Michael Lorenzen.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Guardians vs. Angels Odds

Guardians Odds +100
Angels Odds -120
Over/Under 8
Time 9:38 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Angels avoided getting swept at home by defeating the Baltimore Orioles 7-6 on Sunday. Los Angeles will close out this homestand by welcoming the Cleveland Guardians for a four-game series.

Michael Lorenzen will get the start for the Angels, while the Guardians will counter with Shane Bieber. Bieber will hope to end Cleveland’s three-game losing streak following a sweep at the hands of the Yankees.

This situational spot is almost crying out for an ace with Bieber’s quality. I’ll share why bettors should expect a response from Cleveland — particularly in the first five innings.

Guardians Hope To End Skid Behind Bieber

The Guardians need to get back to their winning ways to take advantage of a slow start by the White Sox. After losing three games in New York, Cleveland dropped to second place in the division, while Chicago is in third place and currently on a seven-game losing streak.

The AL Central seems wide open because each team possesses different strengths. As for Cleveland, I would argue it has the best manager in the division in Terry Francona. In 2021, Francona left the team to address some health issues in late July.

At the time, Cleveland was in the hunt for the wild card but finished the season two games below .500. Had Francona remained with the team, the circumstances could’ve been much more different because of his unique ability to install calmness inside a clubhouse.

As a result, I think he’s the perfect manager to steer the Guardians back on course following this recent skid. It also doesn’t hurt that the Guardians will have their ace toeing the rubber on Monday night.

Bieber is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.69 WHIP through three starts. He’s shown more control as his BB/9 ratio is down to 1.69 from 3.07 in the previous season. The California native finished the 2021 campaign with a 3.21 SIERA. While that number’s more than respectable, he did have a shoulder strain that kept him sidelined for almost three months. Thus, Bieber might’ve even started some games while carrying the injury.

Although some might point to a dip in Bieber’s velocity as a concern, his first-pitch strike rate is up to a career-best 67.2%. If Bieber can continue to get ahead of hitters, he’ll be able to unleash his slider that, according to FanGraphs, has a career mark that’s 28.4 runs above average.

What Can Angels Expect From Lorenzen?

After seven years in Cincinnati, Lorenzen signed with the Angels on a one-year deal worth $6.75 million. What’s interesting about this move is that the Angels signed the right-hander to pitch in the back-end of their rotation. Lorenzen started 21 of the 27 games he appeared in his rookie season. However, he’d make only five more starts over his next six seasons with the Reds.

If I’m an Angels fan, I might question the club’s ambition with this signing. The Angels may think the Reds missed a trick by not sticking with a Lorenzen as a starter. However, he did post a 5.40 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in his first year. For the Angels to snap a seven-year playoff drought, they’ll need each of their starters to outperform their career numbers. In 2021, the rotation finished the season 22nd with a 4.78 ERA.

A shoulder injury kept Lorenzen sidelined for the first three months of the 2021 campaign. He returned in July to make 27 appearances but went 1-2 with a 5.59 ERA. Even his 4.98 SIERA would still be considered too high. However, Lorenzen’s advanced numbers did show some positive regression given his 4.01 xERA and 4.17 FIP. Those numbers may be what ultimately interested the Angels in signing him.

One thing that did alarm me about Lorenzen’s numbers last year was that his strikeouts dipped from 23.8% to 16.8%. He was also prone to walk batters, given his 4.34 BB/9 ratio. Yet, he has shown some positives in his ability to limit home runs. For six straight years, Lorenzen allowed fewer than one home run per nine innings.

While I think Lorenzen will be an interesting case study this season, there are some warning signs bettors should be concerned with. For example, opposing hitters have a 4.0% barrel rate against Lorenzen throughout his career. He’ll need to prove that he can consistently navigate himself a second and third time through the batting order. It’s worth noting that his barrel rate is already up to 8% through two games.

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Guardians-Angels Pick

I haven’t warmed to Lorenzen as a starter, so I’ll be looking to isolate him in the first five innings, especially when he’s up against elite pitching. The Guardians still have an above-average lineup in terms of run creation as they’re ranked fifth with a wRC+ value of 122.

Historically, Cleveland’s done an excellent job bouncing back in the first five innings when it’s lost three straight games, off a loss by at least eight runs, and on a streak where it scored no more than four runs while allowing at least double-digit runs during a three-game span. Our BetLabs database, which dates back to 2005, shows that the Guardians are 5-0-1 for 5.06 units in this first five innings (F5) situational spot.

Lastly, Bieber is 5-0-2 as a road underdog in the F5 for 5.07 units. Thus, I like the value with the visitors at +100 for the first five innings, and I would play that at a half-unit up to -110.

Pick: Guardians F5 ML (+100)

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