MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: White Sox vs. Tigers Betting Preview (April 9)
Ron Vesely/Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Cease
- The White Sox and Dylan Cease are road favorites on Saturday afternoon against the Tigers.
- Detroit sends youngster Casey Mize to the mound looking to capitalize off Friday's thrilling, come-from-behind victory.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
White Sox vs. Tigers Odds
|White Sox Odds||-140|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Chicago and Detroit played to a thrilling finish on Opening Day, after the White Sox blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth and then a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning. Detroit walked off on them to win 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth. The White Sox wasted a stellar start from Lucas Giolito, who left the game with injury after the fourth inning with no runs allowed and six strikeouts.
Chicago will turn to right-hander Dylan Cease to try to get into the win column for the first time this season on Saturday, while Detroit counters with young right-hander Casey Mize. Cease and Mize are both under 26 and have excellent stuff, but have had differing levels of success in their young MLB careers.
The White Sox dominated this division last year, but Detroit has a chance to make an early statement by winning yet again head-to-head on Saturday.
White Sox Have High Hopes for Cease
Cease has always had the velocity and stuff to generate easy strikeouts and whiffs since he entered the majors in 2019. It was all about control and command, which often lacked for him when he posted a 5.79 ERA in 2019 and 6.82 xERA in 2020’s shortened season. The White Sox right-hander finally put it together in 2021 and now is poised to be a Cy Young dark horse this season.
Only two pitchers in MLB had more swings and misses on pitches in the strike zone last year — Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole — per ESPN’s Mike Bonzagni. His strikeout rate rose from 17.3% to 31% last season and he allowed just 22 runs in his final 12 starts of the season. That also paired with a career-low walk rate of 9.6%, which is still a bit high for Cy Young-level pitching, but is trending in the right direction.
The White Sox lineup projects extremely well against left-handed pitching, but not quite as well when facing righties. It’s still a good lineup that ranked sixth last year in wRC+, but not quite as elite as their No. 2 standing when facing left-handed pitching. Chicago had its way with Eduardo Rodriguez early in Friday’s opener but really struggled to hit the Tigers bullpen as the only run after the second inning came on an Andrew Vaughn home run in the ninth.
The sample sizes on these types of stats tend to be small and at times dangerous to follow, but Cease does have a remarkable track record when pitching against Detroit. He’s made 13 starts against them out of 90 total in his young career.
He has an 11-0 record with a 1.82 ERA, a 5.0 K/BB ratio and a .627 OPS allowed. Perhaps most remarkably is that it’s not really BABIP luck either. The Tigers have hit to a .287 BABIP against him. Even though the Tigers’ lineup is improved this season and has some new pieces, it’s hard to ignore those splits that have come across the last two seasons primarily.
Tigers Need More From Mize
Mize made a handful of starts as a rookie in 2020, but he wasn’t really a regular starter until the 2021 season when he made 30 starts. The underlying numbers were not at all impressive, despite his 3.71 ERA. The right-hander had a 4.71 FIP, struck out fewer batters per nine than the year prior and only ranked above-average in one stat cast category: walk rate.
Given how selective the White Sox are at the plate, it’s hard for him to use his control to take advantage of Chicago here. The White Sox see a lot of pitches and are top 10 in walk rate. They were especially good against sliders, his top secondary pitcher.
Mize doesn’t have an overpowering fastball — he typically sits around 94-95 — and the White Sox should be able to get plenty of offense going against him. The White Sox won’t have their best fastball hitter in Tim Anderson due to suspension, but they do have four projected starters with +4 or better run values against fastballs, although they’ll also be without Yoan Moncada, who hits sliders as well as anyone in baseball.
It’s not a great matchup for Mize, and he’s allowed an 4.54 ERA in eight starts against them.
White Sox-Tigers Pick
I’m considerably higher on the upside of Cease than most of the market and even have a Cy Young future on him this season in the AL. His stuff and velocity is electric and it’s a major reason why he’s dominated the overmatched Tigers lineups of years past.
This lineup won’t be overmatched because it is improved, but I expect a bounce-back performance from the White Sox in this game after letting it slip away twice in the back-end of the bullpen on Friday.
Detroit had to use a lot of its high-leverage guys in the bullpen, too, and doesn’t have the same kind of depth that Chicago does in the long and middle relief. Mize isn’t likely to go as deep as Cease and the gap between these two teams only widens from there.
It’s rare I bet a juiced road favorite in MLB, but I’d play Chicago up to -150. I’m that high on Cease’s potential to be an elite ace-level arm this year against a Tigers lineup with a lot of guys who love to chase outside the zone.
Pick: White Sox ML (-140)
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