Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Count on Aces to Come Through in Arlington?

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Count on Aces to Come Through in Arlington? article feature image

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Gerrit Cole

Disappointing loss in last night’s Marlins-Cardinals Under 8.5 bet, as Jack Flaherty had a tough go, although it’s hard to blame him when shortstop Yairo Munoz is making three errors behind him to churn out some unearned runs. Nothing we can do about it now, though, so let’s just try to get back into the win column tonight going into the weekend.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 42-23-2, +16.4 units

Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Cardinals Under 8.5 (LOSS)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers | O/U: 9

8:05 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (6-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (3-5, 3.63 ERA)

Once instate rivals during their many years in the National League, Cole and Hamels will pick up their rivalry in a different state and in a new league when they start a four-game iteration of the Lone Star Series on Thursday evening.

Technically, these two former All-Stars already resumed the rivalry with their first Texas meeting back on April 13, when Cole and Hamels engaged in a duel that saw both pitchers trade mostly zeroes into the seventh inning. The result was a 3-2 victory for the Astros, powering the under to a decisive win.

Can you expect more of the same this time around?

In his first year with Houston, Cole has already faced the Rangers twice and looked really strong in both instances, yielding only three runs over 14 innings. He was clearly dominant in doing so, as Texas managed just eight baserunners in those two starts. The former Pirate also registered a ridiculous 25/4 K/BB ratio, which is good for 16.07 K/9.

Because the Rangers have literally struck out more than any other team, and because Cole leads the AL in strikeouts, this is the exact type of matchup where you would want to lean on the 27-year-old. And don’t expect Texas to change that glaring tendency anytime soon, as the Rangers regularly lean on frequent strikeout victims such as Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Ronald Guzman and Robinson Chirinos.

Trust me — as a Rangers fan, I know.

Hamels has also had success against tonight’s opponent. In his three starts versus Houston this season, the former World Series MVP owns a solid 2.55 ERA, while limiting the defending champs to a .194 team batting average. This continues a trend from when Hamels first joined Texas before the 2015 trade deadline. He’s faced the Astros nine times since becoming a Ranger, and in those outings, he’s crafted a 2.56 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, to go along with 53 Ks in 56.1 innings. That’s an impressive body of work against one of the top lineups in baseball.

We should also note that while he hasn’t been as outstanding as his counterpart, Hamels appears to be trending up, registering four quality starts in his past five trips to the mound.

You’ll want to act on this under right away, as I don’t foresee it remaining as high as 9 into the night. It certainly isn’t going to 9.5 either. The beauty of having it at this number is that both of these starters are more than capable of checking in with a shutdown performance, meaning that if the other is off his game, we can still get away with it.

Play: UNDER 9 (-110)

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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.