Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Shields
Betting odds: Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners
- White Sox odds: +179 (James Shields)
- Mariners odds: -200 (Wade LeBlanc)
- Over/under: 8.5 (o+100)
- First pitch: 10:05 p.m. ET
When tonight’s games start winding down, and the early starts are in the late innings, and you’ve watched the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros and Dodgers, maybe then you’ll really find this preview helpful.
Maybe you’ll be down, maybe you’ll be up, maybe you will have been on the wrong end of a bad beat or two. Regardless, if you’re anything like me, around 10 p.m. ET you’ll get that itch to place another wager. And my friend, this is the last game on the schedule, so maybe we can come up with something to keep the party going.
Seattle is one of the teams everyone projects to regress in the second half. The Mariners have used an incredible record in one-run games (26-12) and extra-inning games (8-0!!) to build a 58-39 tally.
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And just as we expect Seattle to look more like the Seattle we predicted, I’m looking for LeBlanc to go back to his old self.
LeBlanc has been just about everywhere, and can eat up some lefty starter innings with reasonable return when you’re in a pinch. His numbers with Seattle are a tick lower than most of his career splits, but that can basically all be explained by a six-game run in May when he was particularly effective.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Wade LeBlanc
His ERA by month this year: 4.61, 1.72, 4.67, 4.67. His xFIP underlies the fact that more regression may be coming, and he’s unlikely to completely dominate a team at this point in his career when he induces so few swing-and-miss strikes.
The White Sox are essentially a couple points below the league average batting against lefties, and were hitting the ball extremely well going into the break. They should be able to produce reasonably in this spot.
Meanwhile, Shields really does not enjoy the confines of Safeco Field, especially now in the late stages of his career. The past three seasons, he’s made two starts there, allowing 14 hits and 11 earned runs.
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In his career, Shields has been a better home pitcher by about three-quarters of a run, but that chasm has widened in the past few years. He’s been particularly unreliable away from Chicago. In three of Shields’ past four starts, his final numbers have looked good, but his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) has been way below the league average, meaning he’s likely been pretty lucky.
Throw those two starters together, and how they’re projected going forward, and it was not ultimately surprising that my model spit out a run number reasonably higher than the 8.5 listed for tonight’s game. I will be playing the Over.
The Bet: Over 8.5
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.