This week Houston and Boston matchup on Sunday Night Baseball in what could very likely be a preview of the American League Championship Series. It’s funny how some contenders are really able to make the right moves in the offseason. Boston needed power adds JD Martinez and has been properly rewarded with the elite power production they craved. Houston has needed pitching depth and a full year of Verlander plus the addition of Gerrit Cole is making this squad look like they can be the first back to back World Series champions of this century.
Sunday Night Baseball Pitching Matchups
Rick Porcello (3.65 ERA, 1.135 WHIP) squares off against Charlie Morton (2.26 ERA, 1.020 WHIP) tonight in what should be a low scoring affair. I like the Under here big time on the run total (8) and Runs/Hits/Errors 25.5. Looking at each team Runs Per Innings Boston ranks about where they should at a respectable 10th (0.58 Runs per inning) but Houston is way down on the list at 29th (0.38). Now, this is by NO WAY some kind of end all be all stat here but for a team with World Series repeat aspirations it should be a red flag in terms of overall lineup production. Sure there could be several factors playing into that but it’s worth noting now as he head into summer.
Each week I see the first inning bet on the board. Will there be a score between the two teams in the first inning? Seems pretty simple but Tampa Bay is beginning to shine a light on this for us. Lately they have begun using an “Opener”, a short reliever designed to come in for only the first inning. Zach Kram at The Ringer beautifully breaks this strategy down here. In a nutshell the first inning yields the most runs on average and a starter struggles more third time through order. So instead of using a starter to face top of the lineup in first they open with a reliever and bring in the “starter” for the second.
Neutralizing Top Heavy Lineups
It’s a great to neutralize top heavy lineups and set your starter up for success later. Traditional purists might hate it but facts are a good reliever might be more effective in the 1st than in the 7th. Personally I’ve always found it silly using your closer and set up man in the 9th and 8th only meanwhile those aren’t always the highest leverage situations. The first inning always starts off 0-0 so anyway you can gain an edge there take it. Back to the 1st inning score bet. With what we know about the first inning and the fact Tampa is willing to go to such and extreme it might be smart to bet first inning score every time they give you some odds on it instead of having to lay.
Score in first inning here is at +105 no score -125. I know these pitchers are great this year but even the best often start to hiccups. It might be worth it to begin taking score in first inning in a small unit play each time they give you odds above +100. I’m really not a fan of who scores first and first inning bets but for a team to do something as drastically as Tampa has done there might be way more to this than we’re realizing.
Daily Fantasy Picks For Sunday Night Baseball
For daily fantasy picks the only person I really like here is Charlie Morton. I love what he’s doing this year (legit Cy Young contender so far) even though he’s being overshadowed by what Verlander is doing (historical dominance.) I am officially done with trying to pick this based on single game showdown mode. It’s better for playoff/NFL games and really takes away from great money making opportunities elsewhere. I do like Morton tonight at home though at the $10,400 price DraftKings is giving him. You really can’t go wrong with him and Mookie Betts ($5,500) as a foundation then filling in the rest with value guys. George Springer at $4,600 and Andrew Benintendi ($4,500) also in play here big time.
Thank you so much for reading this week please send any questions to @scott_bowser and be on the lookout for the debut of my new show soon The Wide World Of Sports Scandals (@scandalspodcast) Good luck!