Sunday offers a slathering of MLB action throughout the day. While the probable starters feature a handful of big names off to disappointing starts (Luis Castillo, Patrick Corbin, Dylan Bundy, Max Fried, Zach Plesac), we could also see a Cy Young Award candidate cement his status as a top-shelf ace. Hitting the overs didn’t work last Sunday, but a couple of opportunities now stand out to exploit the game’s offensive outage.
Tigers vs. Royals: O/U 8.5 Runs
Betting the over on a Tigers game flopped last week, as a then ice-cold Kyle Hendricks silenced them in a 5-1 win. This Sunday, Detroit faces a pitcher who hasn’t allowed a run since May 2. Kris Bubic has worked 17.2 scoreless innings in his last four outings, including five frames as the bulk reliever against Detroit on May 13. He followed that appearance with six one-hit innings versus the Brewers in his first official start of 2021. While the 23-year-old is unlikely to stay so hot unless he substantially improves a middling 7.1% K-BB rate, the Tigers possess the worst strikeout rate and wRC+ against lefties. As of Saturday, they were slugging a dreadful .299 when opposing southpaws.
Can Casey Mize do his part to limbo under the run line? It’s certainly a risk that could backfire; he surrendered six runs against the Royals on April 12 after coughing up five in his previous start. In four ensuing starts, however, the 2018 No. 1 pick has posted a 2.45 ERA with only 13 hits allowed. The 6’3″ righty has worked at least six innings in each of those outings. Michael Fulmer has recently provided the Tigers a formidable late-inning option, but any bettors taking the other want to see as little of Detroit’s leaky bullpen as possible. Mize can meet this goal by delivering his fifth consecutive quality start against a capable, but inconsistent Kansas City offense that remains light on power.
Anyone who doesn’t trust the Tigers could instead wager the under on their 3.5-run line for +102 on DraftKings.
Pick: Under (+102 on DraftKings)
Mariners vs. Padres – Run Line
The Mariners have a microscopic 2.5-run line against Yu Darvish and the Padres, and I almost endorsed taking the under. While it feels like a trap — even the Pirates average 3.4 per game for MLB’s lowest mark — the Padres have permitted a combined 11 runs in Darvish’s last eight starts. He now boasts 1.93 ERA in 21 starts since the beginning of 2020.
Seattle, meanwhile, has baseball’s worst team wOBA and enters Sunday batting below the Mendoza Line (.198). It’s a gross mismatch, so it would behoove bettors to capitalize.
Think two or fewer runs is too tall an ask without a favorable betting line? The original idea here was to create a cushion by placing confidence in his formerly scheduled opponent, Yusei Kikuchi, and betting the under on 3.5 runs after the first five innings. However, Justin Dunn will toe the rubber instead. While Dunn boasts a lower ERA (3.63) than Kikuchi (4.32), he’s issued an alarming 22 walks in 34.2 innings. Only the Dodgers and Yankees walk more than the Padres, who also possess the NL’s lowest strikeout rate. The 25-year-old righty has benefitted from a .193 BABIP over 21 career starts by drawing a heavy helping of pop-ups. It’s nevertheless hard to see him solving a percolating Padres offense that has scored 22 runs in two games this series.
San Diego has won 11 of its last 12 games with a plus-59 run differential. The club ranks first in OBP (.386) and wOBA (.371) over the last 14 days despite playing some short-handed. With Fernando Tatís Jr. and Eric Hosmer back in the picture, the Friars are closer to full strength as they attempt to complete the sweep and extend their winning streak to nine. Everything points to a blowout at Petco Park.
Pick: Padres -1.5 (-110 on DraftKings, -115 on FanDuel)
Cubs vs. Cardinals: Moneyline
Zach Davies‘ 2021 numbers may never recover from a horrid April in which he surrendered 20 runs, including seven to the Pirates on April 10. He has pitched better of late, though, registering a 2.11 ERA in four May starts. This doesn’t mean Davies is back to 2020 form. This month’s success has come with just nine strikeouts in 21.1 innings, and he has just one more punchout than walks (22) this season. But his job has always been to keep his team competitive, and he’s doing that again.
Adam Wainwright, on the other hand, is losing steam from a stellar start. After discovering the Fountain of Youth with 32 strikeouts to six walks in April, the 38-year-old has an 8.56 ERA and 13-5 K:BB ratio this month. While Uncle Charlie’s curveball remains a potent offering, opponents are hitting .326 against his cutter and slugging .611 against his four-seam fastball.
The Cardinals can’t rely on Wainwright to give them an edge over Davies. Wainwright has ceded a .385 wOBA to righties this season, and the Cubs have two right-handed stars (Kris Bryant and Javier Báez) with 10 homers apiece this season. Ian Happ, who has notched five long balls in his last nine games, has taken Wainwright deep four times in 15 career plate appearances.
Despite leading the Cubs by two games for first in the NL Central following Saturday’s triumph, St. Louis’ lineup and bullpen are both faring worse than their division foe. The early 2021 records and home-field advantage have made the Cardinals a bigger favorite than they should be for their second straight Sunday Night Baseball showcase. Pounce on Chicago as an underdog before the line evens out by the evening.
Pick: Cubs (+118 on DraftKings and FanDuel)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 11-13
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$153.24
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)