MLB Houston Astros @ Seattle Mariners +1.5 (-120): 9:10 PM CT on SportsNet NW
I really don’t know how the Seattle Mariners are doing it, but they just keep winning games and staying competitive in the postseason race despite a minus-49 run differential and players I’ve never heard of. I’m taking the run and a half here because the Mariners have the seond-best run line record in baseball with the 4th-best plus/minus to the run line. They’re also 5-3 to the run line against the Houston Astros this season including 4-0 at home after last night’s dramatic comeback. Just like the Mariners as a team, tonight’s starter Chris Flexen has been excellent at home with a 1.89 ERA, and Seattle is 8-3 against the run line in his home starts. Houston might be the big-name team leading the division, but this Seattle squad won’t go away and I can’t ignore their run line record, so I’ll lay a small amount of juice to get this +1.5 insurance in what should be another close game between these teams
Olympic Men’s Basketball Australia -7.5 (-110) vs Italy: 3:20 AM CT Wednesday on NBC
In a repeat of what I said about Australia’s opening game against Nigeria, this is just too short a line for such a good team. That’s even more apparent after the Aussies rolled by 17 in that early Sunday contest to cover this exact same number. This spread being a re-run of Sunday strikes me as a bit of lazy line-making since sportsbooks have low exposure to these kinds of games. The Italians are no pushover, but they could and should have lost their opening game to a German team with nowhere near the NBA talent boasted by Australia. With how good Australia has looked I’ll lay the points with The Boomers again and enjoy waking up to a winning ticket.
MLB Chicago White Sox -1.5 (+105) @ Kansas City Royals: 7:10 PM CT on Bally Sports KC
Ok, let’s try this again. The Chicago White Sox laid an egg last night, but I’ll go right back to them tonight with this same play because the matchup still screams Chicago blowout. I’m looking in particular at Kansas City Royals starter Brad Keller, who has been terrible at home this season with a 7.19 ERA at Kauffman Stadium. He’s also already lost to the White Sox 3-0 in his only home start against them this season, and the Chicago lineup has a massive .329 career average and .938 OPS against him. White Sox starter Dylan Cease meanwhile has held down the Royals bats with a .216 career average against, and particularly Jorge Soler (career 0 for 11) who has been on fire and did most of the damage last night. That has translated to a 0.87 ERA for Cease against the Royals this season, so if he can continue that dominance I expect the Chicago bats to exploit Keller and lead them to another run line victory.
MLB Milwaukee Brewers -1.5 (+130) @ Pittsburgh Pirates: 6:05 PM CT on SportsNet PT
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the middle of selling off at the deadline, while the Milwaukee Brewers are making a legitimate run at the NL pennant. That makes this fairly simple, as does the fact that the Brewers lead the season series over Pittsburgh 7-3 with all of those wins by two-plus runs. The Brew Crew also owns a plus-17 run differential in the four games played at PNC Park. What I really like here is Brewers starter Brett Anderson against the Pirates, as he’s not one of their top starters but the Pittsburgh lineup is batting just .077 with a .194 OPS against him. And after shipping out star Adam Frazier the Pirates should struggle at the plate even more, allowing Anderson and the solid Brewers pen to shut them down. With the nice plus-juice return as an added bonus, I like Milwaukee to get another comfortable win here.
MLB Cincinnati Reds (+155) @ Chicago Cubs: 7:05 PM CT on Marquee Sports
The Chicago Cubs escaped last night with a walk-off win, creating a situational spot where I like to fade the walk-off winner regardless, but especially given this matchup. I really think the Cincinnati Reds are simply the better team, with much more to play for than the Cubs who are due to have their best players traded away any minute now. I’ve also mentioned before how Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay is a completely different pitcher against right and left-handed bats, with a 100 point difference in average and 450 points in OPS against him. The Reds can stack up a plethora of excellent left-handed bats in this game to exploit that split and take an early lead. And speaking of massive splits, Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez has a road ERA that’s half of what it is at home, plus an on-base average that’s 90 points lower away from home. Given this underrated pitching matchup and a game with all the signs of a let-down spot for Chicago, I’m taking the underdog here for a great plus-juice return.
Tiny Nick is 332-235 ATS (+82 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.