Tigers vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet on Tarik Skubal and Detroit to Bounce Back in First Five (Wednesday, June 22)
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal #29.
- On Wednesday evening, the Boston Red Sox (-135) host the Detroit Tigers (+115) for the third and final game in their regular-season series.
- Boston has its eyes set on completing the series sweep at Fenway Park, but MLB betting analyst Charlie DiSturco advises caution before blindly backing Michael Wacha.
- Find updated odds, comprehensive analysis, picks and predictions for Tigers vs. Red Sox, including why you should consider betting Detroit on the first five moneyline.
Tigers vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds||-140|
|Over/Under||8 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Boston will send Michael Wacha to the mound, while the Tigers match with Tarik Skubal. Detroit's young ace has struggled in his most recent appearances and will be motivated to right the ship against the Red Sox.
Can Skubal control the Boston bats and avoid a series sweep, or will Boston continue to roll at Fenway Park?
Few players have made a bigger leap in 2022 than Tarik Skubal has.
Last season, the 25-year-old was barreled nearly 14% of the time, and his .508 Expected Slugging Percentage (xSLG) ranked in the bottom 4% of MLB. Skubal had a 5.58 Expected ERA (xERA) and was ineffective, to say the least.
Those previous struggles notwithstanding, this season has been a completely different story for Skubal. His barrel rate has declined from 13.9% to 5.4%, and his walk rate has also improved from 7.4% to 4.7% year over year. On top of that, the southpaw is forcing ground balls at a markedly higher rate (48.5%) — a 9.2% year-over-year increase — and has improved across the board analytically.
Rather than relying on his fastball, which he threw 43% of the time during the 2021 season, Skubal has turned to his slider and sinker much more frequently. His arsenal includes five pitches, the most effective of which is his changeup (52.2% whiff percentage).
In fact, given the magnitude and breadth of Skubal's holistic improvement, he arguably has underperformed despite a 3.13 ERA this season.
Skubal's xERA is down at 2.94, and his FIP (2.48) is even lower. Opposing batters are hitting at an unsustainable rate (.315 batting average) on balls in play compared to his .238 Expected Batting Average (xBA).
Granted, Skubal has struggled in each of his last two starts, conceding nine total runs in as many innings. Nevertheless, I think he should bounce back against Boston on Wednesday night.
Skubal has really settled into his role atop the Tigers rotation and has been the team's best starter — it's not particularly close, either.
Boston Red Sox
Michael Wacha ranks near the top of my list as a premier fade candidate in MLB.
Take a look at his 2.27 ERA, and you'd think the right-hander made some sort of change when he joined Boston and has reverted back to his early Cardinals days. But, you'd be wrong.
Wacha has been one of the most fortunate pitchers in baseball. His 4.25 xERA and 4.23 Expected Field Independent Pitching (xFIP) are nearly two full runs higher than his actual ERA. Furthermore, Wacha's walk rate is up, and he has stranded 84% of runners on base, the latter of which is particularly unsustainable.
Despite Wacha's .270 xBA, opponents are hitting just .224 on balls in play. To Wacha's credit, he has been barreled significantly less frequently, but he has also been remarkably fortunate when it comes to damage control.
All this to say — Wacha has over-performed across the board — especially when compared to his career averages and expected indicators. He should be hit with a swift gust of negative regression in the coming weeks.
Tigers vs. Red Sox Pick
It is often difficult to bet the Detroit Tigers, but I think Wednesday night is the right time to do it.
Detroit's offense is dead-last in runs per game (2.88), wRC+ (76) and isolated power (.101). The Tigers have been woefully ineffective; as a result, betting overs or the Tigers on the moneyline can be a harrowing experience.
Yet, despite those concerns, Wacha's expected indicators are too egregious to ignore. He has been incredibly fortunate to avoid being hit harder, and I believe that Detroit is capable of scratching a couple runs against the 30-year-old.
Tack on the fact that Wacha lines up against Skubal — a pitcher who I am incredibly high on — and I think the Tigers hold some value at plus money.
The edge on the mound is significant, and so I'm betting Skubal and Detroit on the first five moneyline in this matchup.
Back Skubal to rebound from disappointing performances in his last two starts en route to a Tigers first-half win.