White Sox vs. Angels MLB Odds & Picks: Giolito and Bundy Will Keep Bats Quiet (April 1)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Lucas Giolito of the White Sox.
- Chicago enters Opening Day with World Series aspirations, although a lengthy injury to slugger Eloy Jimenez dampened those hopes slightly.
- The Angels didn't spend as much money as they normally do in the offseason, but will still be a playoff contender with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
- Kenny Ducey explains why you target the total with Lucas Giolito and Dylan Bundy on the bump.
White Sox vs. Angels Odds
|White Sox Odds||-115|
|Time||10:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings.|
A jam-packed day of baseball winds down in Los Angeles on Thursday evening where the Angels host the White Sox in a showdown of two teams looking to make leaps in 2021.
The Halos will hope to keep Shohei Ohtani healthy for a full season, a feat he’s never accomplished, and dream of the Japanese import competing with Mike Trout for AL MVP honors. Together with some key pieces added during the last year and a half, Los Angeles has expectations of competing for the AL West.
Chicago, on the other hand, should be entering its long-awaited championship window with prized prospects popping up all around the diamond. Though there are some question-marks in the rotation, this lineup is sure to be ready for the big-time.
So, with Lucas Giolito and Dylan Bundy squaring off in this one, who has the upper hand? Is the Cy Young hopeful too good to pass up at such short odds? Let’s dig into how these two teams match up.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox will be starting this year off with high hopes, but they’ve already been dampened. Slugger Eloy Jimenez will be absent from the Opening Day lineup with a ruptured left pectoral tendon, an injury that should cost him most of the season. The good news is not only does Chicago have plenty of firepower in its lineup to keep the bats warm while Jimenez is out, it’s also got a big talent which was waiting in the wings should something like this happen.
Top prospect Andrew Vaughn was expected to start the season in the minor leagues, but after the injury to Jimenez this spring, the slugger was moved from first base to left field in order to fill the gap. His 65-grade hitting ability and 60-grade power will fit right in with a lineup which finished sixth in wRC+ last season, and fifth in isolated power, with a mark of .190. Top to bottom, Chicago promises to have one of the best lineups in baseball, with Tim Anderson still continuing to grow, and offseason acquisition Adam Eaton sliding in to compliment its exciting array of power bats.
The only spot which could be considered a real hole in the lineup would be at DH, but the White Sox sure seem pretty excited about Zack Collins rotating in at that position. They also went out and signed Jake Lamb over the offseason to combat the loss of Jimenez, and he’ll likely enter the rotation at DH or play one of the corner infield spots to give someone a half-day off.
The White Sox’ biggest weakness will unquestionably be its starting rotation, though it begins on a pretty high note with early Cy Young candidate Lucas Giolito. The former first-round pick opens the year with the third-best odds (+450) to capture the award at the DraftKings, and has continued to grow with each season at the big-league level. After Giolito, the White Sox are hoping Dallas Keuchel can carry over his success from last year’s shortened season, and Lance Lynn could prove to be one of the sneakiest pickups of the year at the No. 3 spot.
After that, as we’ve learned in the last five or 10 years, who cares? Especially when your bullpen has this much promise. The White Sox added Liam Hendricks over the offseason to an already-strong bullpen which features exciting young arms in Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet. They’re probably not going to need much out of the back-end of their rotation with talent like this behind them, and Kopech could eventually join the rotation with enough solid work.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels aren’t necessarily in the title picture like the White Sox, but they’ve got more than enough talent to make some noise this year. For starters, Dylan Bundy will bring his wiffle ball-inspired arsenal to the hill on Thursday. A pitcher very much in the ascendancy, Bundy posted a solid 98 ERA+ with the Orioles in 2019 before joining the Angels in the winter of 2020, looking stellar in 11 starts last year with a 142 ERA+ and nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Acquired for a package of prospects headlined by Kyle Bradish, L.A. is surely happy to have him, and almost unfairly does.
The offseason wasn’t as loud as it normally is for the Angels, who have shown in the past that they’re willing to spend, but they did add some exciting pieces. Rasiel Iglesias was acquired from the Reds and should really help one of the league’s most disappointing bullpens of 2020, which ranked 10th-worst in baseball with a 4.63 ERA. Together with very-recently acquired arms Steve Cishek and Tony Watson, and some more signings in Alex Claudio and Junior Guerra, the Angels should be somewhat better in the ‘pen. The question remains just how good they can be. After Bundy, the Angels have Shohei Ohtani, but it’s hard to get overly excited about an aging Jose Quintana and any of the remaining arms.
I do really like this lineup, though; it has the potential to really sneak up on you. From master of contact David Fletcher, to Ohtani, Mike Trout and massive 2020 signing Anthony Rendon, you can put the top of the Angels’ order up against just about anyone. After that, you could see Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler turning back the clock, but you could also just as easily picture them flirting with the Mendoza Line.
The Angels are going to be a mystery this year. They’ll be streaky on offense, and their rotation should be spotty. Strangely enough, I actually think this scrap-heap of average relievers could turn out to be alright.
White Sox-Angels Pick
With a solid .270 xwOBA last year, and a resulting 3.06 expected ERA, Dylan Bundy isn’t exactly a regression candidate this year. We’ve always known he’s got top-of-the-rotation stuff, and the steps he’s made seem very real. Across the board, he did a fantastic job of limiting hard contact last season and pumped fastballs in with an elite spin rate. Lucas Giolito, too, should be expected to replicate his success, missing an insane number of bats. Against a whiff-happy team like the Angels, who are going to write Justin Upton’s name into the middle of the order, I see his stuff matching up very well here with the Angels.
I think the lofty offensive expectations for the White Sox are being set appropriately, but I also think with so much pressure and a recent injury to a huge bat, it could take this offense a little while to find its groove. Opening Day is often one dominated by the pitchers, and I see no reason to believe otherwise here.
Because of the aforementioned issues with the Angels’ bullpen, I’m just going to play it safe and take the first five under, thinking Giolito’s prime matchup and Bundy’s impressive growth shine under the lights in L.A.
Pick: First Five Innings under 4.5 runs (-129)