Friday MLB Betting Odds & Picks for White Sox vs. Angels: Keuchel Due for Regression After Stellar Season (April 2)

Friday MLB Betting Odds & Picks for White Sox vs. Angels: Keuchel Due for Regression After Stellar Season (April 2) article feature image
Credit:

Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Chicago White Sox.

  • The Los Angeles Angels look for their second win in a row against the Chicago White Sox when they face off in Friday's game.
  • Mike Trout led the Angles in the 4-3 victory on Opening Day.
  • Mike Vitanza breaks down the meeting and details why he's backing the Angels below.

White Sox vs. Angels Odds

White Sox Odds +1.5
Angels Odds -1.5
Moneyline +108 / -122
Over/Under 8.5
Time 9:38 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel.

The Los Angeles Angels took the first game of this opening series on Thursday night with a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton and Max Stassi all drove in a run, while Stassi contributed the big blow with a solo home run in the fifth inning.

On the other side, the White Sox were paced by Yoan Moncada and Adam Eaton offensively. Moncada pieced together a multi-hit game from the cleanup spot, while Adam Eaton added a solo home run.

The White Sox will turn to starter Dallas Keuchel to help right the ship, while the Angels will look to Andrew Heaney on the mound to help steer them to a 2-0 mark to begin the 2021 season.

Chicago White Sox

Coming off a stellar first season in Chicago, Keuchel will take the hill for the White Sox on Friday night. In 2020, he rebounded to ace-level production, compiling a 1.99 ERA over 63.1 innings pitched. While his 5.79 K/9 strikeout rate was low, he limited damage via a muted 25.8% hard hit percentage, his best mark since 2017.

His advanced metrics, however, indicate he was very lucky to have limited opposing run production. While his ERA is impressive, his 3.89 xFIP was nearly two full runs higher than his ERA, a strong indicator that negative regression is on the way.

The Angels, meanwhile, were strong against left-handed pitching in 2020, collectively hitting to a .326 wOBA on the season, good for ninth-best in baseball.

Additionally, Keuchel made his spring debut just two weeks ago, so he’ll likely be on a bit of a pitch count in his first start. The White Sox bullpen was not particularly strong in 2020, ranking just 23rd in baseball with a 4.22 xFIP. They did add some firepower in the offseason, however, with the addition of closer Liam Hendriks. Hendriks pitched to an absurdly low 1.14 FIP while striking out batters at an impressive 13.14 K/9 clip in 2020.

Los Angeles Angels

Andrew Heaney will get the start for the Angels and hope to improve upon a mediocre 2020 campaign at first glance. In 66.2 innings pitched, Heaney produced a 4.46 ERA over 12 starts.

Similar to Keuchel, however, his ERA is a bit misleading. He produced a 3.79 FIP over that same time frame — 0.7 runs less than his ERA — indicating he was a bit unlucky last season. His 9.5 K/9, while down a bit from 2019, was also very impressive.

He’ll have a tough matchup on Friday against a White Sox team that was one of the best in baseball against left-handed pitching last season, collectively hitting to a .376 wOBA against southpaws, good for second in all of baseball. With the same core group of hitters from last season, this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

White Sox-Angels Pick

While Keuchel is undoubtedly the more accomplished starter, he’ll face an Angels team that has had a good deal of success against left-handed pitching in the past. His advanced metrics also suggest that his success from 2020 is a bit misleading, at least in terms of the level of dominance that appears at first glance.

The White Sox offense has been similarly successful against left-handed pitching, but this comes down to picking a pitcher whose advanced metrics suggest his numbers should have been stronger last season (Heaney) vs. someone who is likely due some regression (Keuchel).

Because of this, I’m taking the Angels at home at -120. There’s a -115 at William Hill if it’s in your state. I’d be comfortable betting this line up to -130.

Pick: Angels (-120)

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