Yankees vs. Rangers MLB Odds & Pick: The Parlay to Bet for Monday’s Game (May 17)

Yankees vs. Rangers MLB Odds & Pick: The Parlay to Bet for Monday’s Game (May 17) article feature image
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Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Gerrit Cole

  • The New York Yankees face the Texas Rangers as heavy favorites in Monday's matchup.
  • The Yankees have improved significantly over the past couple of weeks, and Gerrit Cole takes the mound for the Bronx Bombers tonight.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the game below and explains why Cole will succeed in a Yankees victory.

Yankees vs. Rangers Odds

Yankees Odds -270
Rangers Odds +220
Over/Under 8
Time 8:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via FanDuel.

The Yankees continue their long road trip in Arlington, Texas, this week with a four-game set against the Rangers.

With Gerrit Cole and Jordan Lyles pitching for their respective ballclubs, the Yankees are hovering somewhere around -250 favorites, and that’s probably a fair assessment.

With one team being such a heavy favorite, it’s near impossible to find value on one side. But that shouldn’t dissuade us from trying.

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With Offense, Cole Clicking, Bombers Are Tough to Top

The Yankees have won their past two series, both against divisional opponents, and thus have won four of their past six games.

There have been many issues with the Yankees season so far. The offense was off to a horrendous start, recent positive COVID tests have caused issues with the coaching staff and lineup, and now Giancarlo Stanton is on the IL with a quad injury.

The Yankees aren’t great defensively (23rd in defensive runs saved at -3) and are outright bad on the base paths (30th in FanGraphs’ BsR at -7.0), but the lineup has worked its way among the top 10 teams in every statistical category while the bullpen is the best in baseball.

Plus, Aaron Judge is working on a six-game hit streak where he’s 12-for-21 with five home runs, six RBI and three walks to just one strikeout.

Meanwhile, the starting pitching rotation is anchored by this man:

Starting pitcher: Gerrit Cole (RHP)

Cole is the best pitcher in the American League. He leads the AL in FIP (1.13) and WHIP (.684) while being second in ERA (1.37). He’s also striking out 13.3 batters per nine while walking just 0.5. Cole paces the Yankees in WAR and New York has won five of his eight starts.

Cole’s full power was on display in his last outing. He pitched eight shutout innings against the Rays, holding them to just four hits in the process. He also struck out 12 and walked none. It was a masterclass in pitching, and the Yankees won 1-0.

Cole still throws his fastball about half the time, and seven of his 12 strikeouts against the Rays were on the four-seam. However, the big change this season has been his changeup, which he’s throwing more frequently than ever:

Hitters are batting just .053 with a .057 wOBA against Cole’s changeup this season, and Cole’s producing a 40% whiff rate on the pitch. While it’s still the least-used pitch in his arsenal, it’s become the most deadly.

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It’s Going To Be A Long Season In Arlington

Following a four-game sweep of the Astros, the Rangers have lost six straight games. Now, Texas is forced to play four games against the Yankees and then three more games against the Astros directly after that. Poor Rangers fans.

There are some positives to the Rangers season so far. The offense has been pretty good, as it has four hitters with an OBP around .350 and Adolis García has an OPS above .900. All in all, the Rangers rank 12th in MLB in wRC+. But the lineup also tends to swing and miss a lot, and thus have fairly high strikeout rates.

The bullpen is average, as it ranks 15th in FIP (4.01) and 17th in WHIP (1.33). The starting pitching is where the Rangers lose the most of their games. The rotation is horrific, as it ranks 23rd in FIP (4.51) and 25th in WHIP (1.36).

Today’s starting pitcher exemplifies bad pitching:

Starting pitcher: Jordan Lyles (RHP)

It’s crazy to think that Lyles has made 160 major league starts in his career. He allowed the most runs of any pitcher in baseball last season and now holds the third spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

But the truth is that Lyles gives the Rangers an OK chance at winning. Texas is 4-4 in Lyles starts this season, and his most recent outing was solid, where he allowed just two runs over five innings on the road against the Giants.

But it’s not a stretch to say Lyles isn’t a good pitcher. Lyles doesn’t throw a lot of innings (4 2/3 per start), allows a ton of fly balls (just a 39.9% ground ball rate) and allows a ton of hard-hit fly balls (50.1% hard-hit) with high exit velocity (91.6 mph on average). Thus, Lyles has a 6.63 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP this season, and the advanced analytics are right in line with those numbers.

Lyles features a four-pitch mix that’s headlined by a 93-mph fastball, a slow-moving but effective slider and a curveball that drops off the table.

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Yankees-Rangers Pick

It’s so hard to find value in this game. The Yankees seem to be the obvious choice but it’s not worth laying -250 or more. I am leaning under because the Yankees struggles with sliders (-7.6 weighted slider runs created) but backing Jordan Lyles against the always-dangerous New York lineup doesn’t feel smart.

Instead, I want to back Cole in this game. As mentioned, the Rangers are a big swing-and-miss team, and Cole could eat them alive with his arsenal. Texas is 29th in baseball in weighted changeup runs created (-15.6), and Cole’s increased changeup usage should prove useful in this game.

If Cole has a monster outing with a ton of punch outs, I think the smart play is a Cole Player Performance Double on FanDuel. Given he’s struck out fewer than eight guys just once this season, I’m personally going to play Cole 8+ strikeouts and Yankees to win at -120. But I would feel comfortable playing any of these other available lines:

  • Gerrit Cole 7+ strikeouts and Yankees to win: -152
  • Gerrit Cole 9+ strikeouts and Yankees to win: +110
  • Gerrit Cole 10+ strikeouts and Yankees to win: +150
  • Gerrit Cole 11+ strikeouts and Yankees to win: +210

Pick: Gerrit Cole 8+ strikeouts and Yankees to win (-120 on FanDuel)

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