David Richard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matthew Boyd
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians, 1:10pm ET
- Tigers (Matthew Boyd): +146
- Indians (Adam Plutko): -156
- Over/under: 9.5
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The Indians play in such an atrocious division, which the public is well aware of. And as a contrarian, I’ve found myself on the other end of some of their lopsided AL Central matchups. My model consistently identifies 10 to 20 cents of value in those big divisional underdogs against Cleveland. While I’m up in those spots on the year, it doesn’t make it any easier to hold my nose when the next one comes up.
You just have to accept that sometimes you’ll catch a bad one. When Lucas Giolito gives up nine earned runs, you just have to move on. On the positive side, those do give you a few hours back of your afternoon.
Well, one of those spots has arrived today, as I think the Tigers hold value. My number came in a little shorter than the +146 currently being offered in the market.
When I identify a discrepancy, I always try to identify why my number differs. Since numbers are pretty close for most other games, calibration of the model was not really an issue (although I’m always mindful of that potential). I just think this is an opportunity to back Matt Boyd in a favorable situation.
Boyd doesn’t have numbers that will excite any casual bettor. He’s a lefty with slightly above-average metrics playing for a team that has overachieved this season. The pitching line in his last start looks particularly ineffective, as he allowed five earned runs (the most in any start this year) on just six hits in four innings against the Reds.
In that start, Joey Votto hit a grand slam (in Cincinnati) that barely cleared the wall — after Boyd walked two earlier in the inning. In many other parks, that ball would have been caught short of the wall. That hit defined Boyd’s start, as he excelled the first time through the order.
Not only will Boyd get away from hitter-friendly Cincinnati, but the forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s with a strong wind blowing in from center. Considering Boyd owns the sixth-lowest GB/FB (ground ball to fly ball) ratio in the AL, the conditions should keep a few more balls in the yard.
Boyd should also come in with confidence against a team he has historically pitched extremely well against. In six career games (five starts), the southpaw has a 1.78 ERA over 35.1 innings against the Indians. In a start earlier this season at Progressive Field, Boyd allowed only three hits and one run over seven innings.
I ultimately think Boyd’s misleading line from his previous start is being weighted too much, while Adam Plutko (5.04 ERA) is being overvalued. Give me the Tigers in a spot I think they win more than 40.6% of the time, which the current moneyline implies.
The Pick: Detroit +146
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.