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Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: White Sox vs. Indians Preview (Sept. 23)

Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: White Sox vs. Indians Preview (Sept. 23) article feature image

Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Lucas Giolito (27) and Shane Bieber (57).

  • The Indians are a sizable favorite over the White Sox on Wednesday night, with Shane Bieber looking to put the finishing touches on a Cy Young season.
  • However, Brad Cunningham's model likes Chicago in the first five innings, and he'll be fading Bieber as a result.
  • Get his full breakdown and model projections for White Sox vs. Indians below.

White Sox vs. Indians Odds

White Sox Odds +140 [Bet Now]
Indians Odds -167 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 7 (-115/-106) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 6:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Wednesday at 1:30 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The AL Central is still up for grabs with five games to go in the season. After the Indians’ extra-innings win last night, they now trail the White Sox by three games and trail the Twins by two games in the division race.

The White Sox on the other hand are holding on to their lead in the AL Central by a thread over Minnesota. Since the Twins are currently facing the Tigers, Chicago cannot afford to lose this series against the Indians.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox offense has been outstanding this season, accumulating a .341 wOBA and 118 wRC+. They’ve been the best team against left-handed pitching this year, but they’ve been no slouch against righties either. Chicago has a .328 wOBA and 110 wRC+ against righties, which ranks tenth in MLB. Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu have led Chicago offensively, as they both have a wOBA above .400.

The key to Chicago’s offensive success has been its versatility against nearly every pitch type. The White Sox rank inside the top-five of major league baseball against fastballs and curveballs, which happen to be Bieber’s main two pitches.

White Sox Probable Starter 

Lucas Giolito, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Lucas Giolito has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. His 3.53 ERA and 3.41 xFIP each ranks 13th in MLB — and it’s due to his fantastic command of his arsenal. He has an incredibly high strikeout rate (11.67 K/9), combined with an very low WHIP 1.03, indicating that his control has been on-point.

Giolito is mainly a fastball/changeup pitcher, and he’s very effective with that combination. This season, opposing hitters have managed only a .180 average against those two pitches, and they’ve produced more than a 30% whiff rate. The Indians offense has not only struggled versus those two pitches, but they’ve been terrible against right-handed pitching as well. Giolito should have a good matchup against Cleveland on Wednesday.

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland’s offense has been awful this season, checking in with a .303 wOBA and 86 wRC+, each of which ranks 26th in MLB. In fact, Jose Ramirez is the only Indian with a wOBA over .350. The rest of Cleveland’s lineup will need to pick up the slack if the Tribe are going to make a run in the postseason.

The Indians have particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, posting a .229 batting average and a .305 wOBA against righties this season. So, they have a daunting task facing Giolito on Wednesday.

Indians Probable Starter

Shane Bieber, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Shane Bieber has been the best pitcher in baseball. He leads all qualified starters with a 2.07 xFIP and a 13.94 K/9 rate.

The reason he’s been so good is because he’s made a commitment to throwing his off-speed pitches more often. In 2019, he threw his fastball 45.7% of the time, whereas in 2020, he’s down to  throwing it only 36.6% of the time.

His fastball is a little above average — it has average velocity — but he’s been on point with his location. His fastball is producing a 24.0% whiff rate this year, compared to only a 13.7% whiff rate in 2019.

Bieber’s curveball and slider have produced terrific results in 2020. He’s only allowed 13 hits against his curveball and slider, which he’s thrown a combined 399 times. That translates to a .112 batting average against those two pitches. The White Sox offense is top-five against fastballs and curveballs, so I expect Bieber to feature his cutter and slider a lot tonight.


Both bullpens have been fantastic this season, as they both rank near the top of MLB in terms of xFIP. However, the Indians have the advantage in this series.

Projections and Pick

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Even though Bieber has been the best pitcher in the AL this season, I think he’ll have difficult matchup against the White Sox offense tonight. Since the Indians have a slight advantage in the bullpen department, I am going to avoid that mismatch. Therefore, I am going to back the White Sox for the first five innings at +143 (DraftKings), and I would bet it up to +135.

Pick: White Sox First Five Innings +143 (play up to +135).

[Bet the White Sox First Five Innings moneyline now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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