MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for White Sox vs. Royals: Why to Bet Chicago in First Five Innings
David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox.
- The Kansas City Royals have enjoyed a recent offensive resurgence thanks to rookie MJ Melendez and the return of veteran Salvador Perez.
- However, Kansas City's challenge will be far greater on Thursday afternoon when it faces off against Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease.
- MLB betting analyst Alex Hinton previews today's MLB matchup, including updated odds, picks and predictions for White Sox vs. Royals at 2:10 p.m. ET.
White Sox vs. Royals Odds
|White Sox Odds||-180|
|Over/Under||7.4 (-114 / -106)|
|Time||2:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
In 2021, the Chicago White Sox cruised to an AL Central Division title before losing to the Houston Astros in the ALDS. The White Sox entered this season as heavy favorites to win the division again and had high hopes for a deep playoff run.
However, things have not gone according to plan. Chicago has struggled to maintain consistency and enters Thursday's game with an overall record of 56-55.
Nonetheless, the AL Central is still in play — Chicago is still only 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Guardians. The goal for Thursday will be salvaging a split after losing two of the first three games to the Kansas City Royals.
It has already been a successful home stand for Kansas City after it took three of four from the Boston Red Sox. A win over the Chicago would give Kansas City a 6-2 start to the home stand before it welcomes the Los Angeles Dodgers to town.
However, that will be a tough task with Chicago sending ace Dylan Cease to the mound. Will Cease help the White Sox pick up a much needed win on Thursday afternoon?
Despite having a lineup that includes Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn (among others), the White Sox rank just 17th in runs scored.
Injuries have played a factor; only Jose Abreu has played over 100 games this season. Jimenez has been limited to 37 games, and Anderson has only played 79 games.
Anderson was recently placed on the IL once again with a torn finger ligament and will miss four to six weeks. When Anderson missed three weeks earlier this season, the White Sox went just 8-10.
Chicago will need Robert to continue his hot streak in Anderson's absence. In his last 15 games, the White Sox outfielder is hitting .352 with a 1.018 OPS, three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Abreu has been consistent after a slow start, hitting .322 with 17 RBIs over his last 30 games. He is hitting .299 on the year and leads the White Sox with 3.1 WAR. Jimenez has returned from the IL on a tear and is hitting .421 during the month of August.
On Thursday afternoon, the White Sox may be aided by their prior success against Zack Greinke. Abreu, Vaughn, and Leury Garcia are all hitting over .300 against Greinke (min. 5 ABs). Additionally, Yasmani Grandal and AJ Pollock each have two home runs against Greinke.
Chicago will have Dylan Cease on the mound, and he has been one of the best starters in baseball this season. Cease is 12-4 with a 1.98 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 122.1 innings. He ranks second in the American League in both ERA and strikeouts.
Moreover, the hard-throwing righty ranks in the 90th percentile in xBA, xSLG, strikeout percentage and hard hit rate. Cease should mow through this Royals lineup.
The Royals rank 24th in the MLB with 3.91 runs scored per game. However, Kansas City has shown an offensive uptick in August: The team is hitting .258 with 14 home runs and has averaged 4.8 runs per game. As a result, Kansas City has a 6-4 record this month.
Rookie MJ Melendez has been the catalyst behind the offensive surge. In his last seven games, he has four home runs, 12 runs batted in and a .360 batting average. Melendez may very well be the Royals catcher of the future, but Kansas City has also enjoyed the return of its veteran star Salvador Perez, who has six home runs in his last 15 games.
However, the Royals have not had much success against Dylan Cease this season. Cease reports a 1.54 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 11.2 innings spanning two starts against the Royals this season.
Kansas City may need Zack Greinke to match Cease in order to pull out the win. In Greinke's prime, he was more than capable of rising to that challenge. However, the 38-year old is just 3-7 with 4.58 ERA this season.
Greinke starts off strong with an 2.00 ERA in the first inning and .247 opposing batting average. The second time through the lineup is often where the problems start for him. He allows a .294 opposing the second time through and a 5.63 ERA in innings 4 to 6.
Greinke has an abysmal .294 xBA, which ranks in the second percentile in MLB. He also ranks in the third percentile in strikeout percentage and ranks in the seventh percentile in xSLG. Greinke has a 3.86 ERA in two starts against the White Sox this season.
White Sox vs. Royals Pick
I like the White Sox to win this game, but they are -180 on the moneyline, which is not the best value for a straight bet.
Chicago's biggest edge in today's game is in the pitching matchup. Cease has dominated the Royals — and the American League — this season. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in 13 consecutive starts. I expect that trend to continue today.
Greinke has struggled this season and has had mixed results against the White Sox. I expect the White Sox to get to Greinke once they get a second look at him and win the first half of the game.
FanDuel offers a 1st Half Result at -130, which has better odds than 1st Half moneyline (-196) for basically the same thing. If playing this on another book, you could also take the White Sox F5 spread -0.5 (-130).
Pick: White Sox 1st Half Result (-130)