Last Sunday finally snapped a summer snide. All three picks were on the verge of hitting if not for an early Blake Snell injury and late Dodgers rally. Of course, those bad breaks are an inescapable part of betting. We can’t bemoan poor luck on losses and ignore the good fortune attached to victories.
With a nearly even mix of good and bad this season, let’s see if these bets can lead us back into the green.
José Berríos to Record a Win
Like Logan Webb last week, I’m pivoting to a dicier pitcher win wager because DraftKings is only giving a -140 line for José Berríos to exceed 5.5 strikeouts. Also like last week, I’m still not necessarily opposed to taking the over on those punchouts. Berríos is averaging 6.2 strikeouts per start, offering at least six in 19 of 29 turns. You’re just not getting enough juice to squeeze the orange; a $100 wager would yield $171.43 total winnings.
Pitcher wins are icky, and betting on them isn’t for everyone. That said, it’s justifiable in this situation. The Blue Jays are -225 favorites to take down the Twins at home, and that line may not be generous enough. Toronto has crushed its way into a heated AL Wild Card race by scoring 7.6 runs per game with a .400 wOBA in September. Best of luck to Luke Farrell, a 30-year-old journeyman making the second start of his career. This is likely a bullpen game for the Twins, as Farrell hasn’t pitched more than 2.1 innings in an outing this season.
Meanwhile, Berríos has completed five innings all but twice this season. He’s pitched beyond the sixth frame in each of his last four starts, posting a 1.98 ERA, 30 strikeouts, and two walks in the process. That’s despite taking his previous three turns against fellow AL playoff hopefuls in the A’s, Rays, and Yankees. The Twins, on the other hand, are 24th in wOBA this month and 23rd in wOBA after the All-Star break. Everything aligns for his 12th win of 2021.
Pick: Yes (+100 on DraftKings)
Lucas Giolito: O/U 6.5 Strikeouts
Lucas Giolito is averaging 6.7 strikeouts per start this season, so it’s easy to see where DraftKings got this over/under line. He’s also tallied exactly eight strikeouts in four of his last six showcases. That includes Tuesday’s return from hamstring tightness, despite getting eased back with just four innings.
The key is Giolito receiving a longer leash in his second start off the IL. Don’t dismiss this concern. Boasting an 11-game lead in the AL Central with only 14 games left on their schedule, the White Sox have little reason to push the righty. Were he dealing with an arm issue, that would be a worthy cause to fade this bet or take the under. However, he only missed 13 days, seemingly as a precaution given Chicago’s comfortable lead.
If given enough time, Giolito should clear the over against an aggressive Rangers lineup. He’s delivered seven or more strikeouts in 19 of 28 starts this season. Therefore, five or six innings should do the trick for an ace who rediscovered his form before the brief absence. Following a rocky start, Giolito has garnered a 3.09 ERA in the second half.
Pick: Yes (-125 on DraftKings)
Padres at Cardinals: Moneyline
Please, baseball gods. Don’t let the Cardinals sneak into the playoffs at 84-78 and beat the 104-win Dodgers or Giants in the NL Wild Card Game. The Red Birds have manifested a lethal dose of Devil Magic to gain sole possession of the Senior Circuit’s final playoff spot with a seven-game winning streak. They’re now 78-69 despite a plus-two run differential.
After two straight losses, the second of which caused a dugout altercation between Manny Machado and Fernando Tatís Jr., the Padres trail the Cardinals by 2.5 games. Along with possessing much more talent on paper, they wield a superior plus-47 scoring margin. It’s a personal pet peeve when everyone calls every important game a “must-win,” but San Diego can’t afford to suffer a sweep at St. Louis’ hand. Following this series, the Padres play their final dozen games against the Giants (six games), Dodgers (three), and Atlants (three).
With emotions high and its season on the line, San Diego is starting Jake Arrieta. That’s bad. Arrieta has allowed 11 runs in just 12 innings since joining the Padres. In his defense, those three starts were at Coors Field, at San Francisco, and against Houston. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old can’t blame a 7.05 ERA on his schedule.
However, the Cardinals are countering with another over-the-hill veteran. J.A. Happ has fared much better with a fresh start, posting a respectable 4.08 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in St. Louis. That’s merely improved his ERA to 6.00 this season, and his 5.73 xERA isn’t much better. Righties are hitting .294/.347/.552 against Happ this season. Hey, Tatís and Machado are both righties. This is an ideal time for both superstars to channel their frustrations on the field and guide the Padres to a pivotal victory.
If this sounds like too much narrative-based wishful thinking for your liking, take the over on 9.5 runs, also available at even odds on DraftKings.
Pick: Padres (+100 on DraftKings, -102 on FanDuel)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 36-38 (One Push)
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): -$10.73
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)