Guardians vs White Sox Odds, Picks Today | MLB Prediction for Thursday, May 18

Guardians vs White Sox Odds, Picks Today | MLB Prediction for Thursday, May 18 article feature image

Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Burger of the Chicago White Sox.

Guardians vs White Sox Odds

Thursday, May 18
2:10 p.m. ET
Guardians Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-112 / -108
White Sox Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-112 / -108
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

These two teams represent the last two AL Central champions, but neither sits in the top two of a very soft AL Central. The 2023 season has been a disappointment for both, but given that we're still in May, there's obviously plenty of time left to right the ship.

The White Sox just returned one very key bat to the lineup, and I'll be looking for him to have a big day on Thursday.

Let's take a look at the odds for both teams and make a betting pick for Thursday's AL Central showdown.

Cleveland Guardians

For the Guardians, the problems begin and end at the plate.

Their run prevention has only dropped a touch, from around a top-10 fWAR to a top-15 fWAR team this season. However, their wRC+ rank has gone from right at league average (99 wRC+) to last in all of baseball in 2023 (77 wRC+).

Part of that can be attributed to bad luck, as their BABIP of .276 ranks 27th in the league. This is especially harmful for a Guardians team that severely lacks power. Even last year when the Guardians were middle-of-the-road offensively, they had the second-lowest isolated power in baseball. This season, despite league-wide ISO going up notably, Cleveland's has dropped even lower.

Before we get to how Cease might carve up this lineup, let's take a look at Allen, who will oppose him on the mound for Cleveland. The rookie lefty has been solid in his first four career starts, sporting a 3.43 ERA over 21 innings pitched.

However, there's a bit of reason to think that there's a bit of fool's gold in that tiny sample.

For one, he's allowing batters to square the ball up, but he's been getting lucky that the results haven't matched. His xwOBAcon on Baseball Savant has the dreaded light blue tinge, which is really just a fancy way of noting that Allen should be sporting a much higher ERA — his xERA says 5.67 — given the velocity off the bat.

His Stuff+ doesn't paint the picture of a pitcher with a high ceiling for the long haul, and while the Guardians have had great success at turning average pitchers into rotation staples, it's not a dream matchup for Allen on Thursday.

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Chicago White Sox

For all of the White Sox's flaws, they've remained a solid team against left-handed pitching. They own a .106 wRC+ against southpaws this season, and they returned arguably their best weapon against lefties earlier this week: Jake Burger.

Burger was one of the few bright spots on this team to start the season before an oblique injury sidelined him on May 3. However, in a very fast turnaround, Burger made his return to the lineup just 11 days later and has homered in both of his games since coming back.

I sometimes worry about the long-term impacts of an oblique injury for power hitters, but it's clear that this injury is not hampering Burger's power upon his return.

That power is some of the most legitimate in the game this season, as Burger owns a .647 xSLG mark that ranks third among all players with as many plate appearances as him. He ranks in the top 10 in home run rate, and Baseball Savant's tracking numbers actually say he's been unlucky in terms of balls that have actually left the yard this season.

Burger's props are not out as of writing, but I'll be looking at a potential Burger home run, as well as total bases and/or hits + runs + RBIs in a lineup that also has Luis Robert, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez as strong weapons against lefties.

As for Cease, he draws the worst lineup in baseball against righties. While his numbers are a far cry from last season, I would still lean toward the home team given the matchup.

Guardians vs White Sox Betting Pick

While the White Sox pick is more of a lean at -140, my favorite way to play this game is by backing Burger and the White Sox offense.

I'll be looking at the props listed above for Burger upon their release (HR, total bases, hits + runs + RBIs), as well as the White Sox F5 team total over.

Pick: White Sox F5 Team Total Over 2.5 · Jake Burger Props (HR, Total Bases & Hits + Runs + RBIs)

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