Top MLB Betting Picks Of The Week (June 20th)
The city of Cleveland hadn’t won a professional sports title since 1964 until the Cleveland Cavaliers shockingly won Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night at Golden State to become the first team to ever rally from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. Could the Cleveland Indians make it two titles in 2016 for the city? The Tribe lead the AL Central and they are among my early-week picks on betting lines.
In Depth Analysis on the Top MLB Betting Picks Of The Week (June 20th)
Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians (Tuesday)
The Tribe start 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in Game 2 of this series. Kluber (6-7, 4.23) didn’t look like a Cy Young winner last time out as he was tagged for eight runs on nine hits over five innings Wednesday in a loss against the Royals. He struck out seven and walked one. Prior to that, Kluber had allowed two runs or fewer in four of his previous five starts. Kluber faced Tampa Bay on April 12 in Florida and allowed three runs and four hits over 7.2 innings. I expect something similar and thus lean Tribe here. The Rays go with their top pitching prospect, Blake Snell (0-1, 2.16). Snell was hit for five runs (just one earned) on eight hits and three walks in only 3.1 innings Thursday against the Mariners. A pair of Tim Beckham errors extended two rallies against Snell, but he also did himself no favors by throwing only 56 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (Wednesday)
It’s a 2:20 p.m. ET matinee from Wrigley Field. And it’s ace Jake Arrieta (11-1, 1.74) for the Cubs. Arrieta mowed down 11 Pirates while pitching six shutout innings of two-hit ball in Friday’s 6-0 victory. He also walked three. The right-hander missed plenty of bats, inducing 16 swings-and-misses over 112 pitches. He only surrendered back-to-back singles to Jody Mercer and Chris Stewart in the third, and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth with consecutive whiffs of David Freese and Matt Joyce. Arrieta is 11-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last 13 starts against NL Central teams. He faced the Cardinals May 25, and served up four runs over five innings. The Cards go with Michael Wacha (2-7, 4.56). Wacha got the short end of the stick in Friday’s pitcher’s duel against Rangers starter Cole Hamels. He tossed 7.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits while walking two and striking out seven in a 1-0 loss. I like the Cubs here and I’d go under the total, which likely will be 7 but it depends what direction the wind is blowing on Chicago.
Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox (Thursday)
How crazy bad has White Sox pitcher James Shields been of late? Over his last four starts, which includes his final start for San Diego and his first three for Chicago, Shields has allowed 32 earned runs over 11 2/3 innings. That’s a 24.69 ERA. He has had a game score of 20 or worse in all four games. According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index, there’s only one other starter since 1913 — as far back as Play Index tracks — who has posted a game score of 20 or lower in four consecutive starts. That was Ray Benge, who went 4-18-18-18 in July 1930. Shields is on the mound here and needless to say I’d lean Red Sox on MLB odds. Boston goes with Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.76). Porcello allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out six in six innings Saturday to pick up his eighth win of the season in Boston’s 6-2 victory over Seattle. The win was Porcello’s first in five starts. The sinkerballer is 10-8 with a 4.09 ERA all-time against the White Sox.