© Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: CC Sabathia
Betting odds: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians, 7:15 p.m. ET
- Yankees (CC Sabathia): -103
- Indians (Mike Clevinger): -107
- Over/under: 9.5 (u-121)
This looks like a pretty high-scoring game on paper with both Sabathia and Clevinger coming off rough outings to face two excellent offenses. And the first two games of the series each featured 11 runs.
After looking at my model and digging a little deeper, I found it interesting how different of a place these two pitchers are in performance-wise. My model favors Clevinger and shows a few cents of value on Cleveland, which my research confirms. Not all poor performances are created equal.
Sabathia has pitched admirably considering his age and physique. However, the 37-year-old hasn’t missed many bats this season, frequently finishing starts with single digit swing-and-miss strikes. He also pitched quite poorly in his most recent start against Baltimore, and his xFIP indicates he should have much worse results.
July has also historically been the worst month for Sabathia, especially as he’s gotten older. He owns a career 4.37 ERA in July — and that number has jumped to 5.37 over the past three years. Whether it’s the fatigue of the season catching up to him or other factors, that trend has continued so far this season.
Meanwhile, Clevinger’s last start against the Reds was a mixed bag. He did allow five runs, but he also had incredible stuff. The Indians righty induced 20 swinging strikes and finished with 11 K’s. He also doesn’t have the worrying historical trends and age concerns like Sabathia.
There are a few ways to play this game in my opinion. You could just bet the Indians moneyline, knowing you have the starter more likely to pitch better at a pretty good price (and at home). But that would introduce the uncertainty of the Indians bullpen (worst ERA in MLB) against New York’s powerful lineup. So I took a slightly different approach in order to bank on the Indians being able to hit this version of CC Sabathia — arguably the worst version possible.
Give me the Indians team total over 2.5 for the first five innings. With a fully rested elite Yankees pen able to eat up innings, I think this is the best way to specifically attack the anti-Sabathia trends. I will also avoid the questionable Tribe relievers.
Bet to Watch: Indians F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (+105)