Professional Sports Handicappers

Wednesday 5/22/2019

Astros/Tigers Over 8.5 - 4 units

Christian Yelich being a late scratch from the Brewers lineup was some foreshadowing that yesterday wasn’t going to go our way as the Brewers offense lacked a punch and we miss on the over and the Braves took a 3-1 lead into the ninth and managed to let one of the worst offensive teams in the league to rally against them for a 4-3 win to saddle us with a losing day.  We had the nice 4.5 unit totals winner from Monday night so it’s a manageable 1-2 start to the new week, the NBA is off until tomorrow so the focus is MLB here and we will go with another MLB totals move for our only play on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Colorado Rockies in the second game of a three game set at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The “bullpen game” is becoming a popular option for teams that lack starting pitching and that’s what the Pirates have decided to go with tonight.  Montana DuRapau will serve as the starter for the Pirates, he has excellent numbers so far this season with a 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP but what the masses are probably failing to realize here is he’s not really a starter and won’t be in this game for more than an inning or two.  After DuRapau the Pirates will need to piece together seven or eight innings with a bullpen that ranks 23rd in the majors with a 4.59 ERA and we simply don’t see that as a viable strategy to cool off a Rockies team that has been hitting everything for the better part of the past two weeks.  The Rockies will likely need to score runs to win this game tonight as they counter with Jon Gray who comes in with a 4.73 ERA and 1.37 WHIP and has been absolutely hammered for the past month.  If you go back and read the write ups from last season and earlier this season you will see we simply aren’t as high as the masses are on Gray.  He has been touted as the Rockies “ace”, but he’s now been in the league since 2015 and has a career ERA of 4.66.  Gray had one really good season back in 2017 but last year he posted a 5.12 ERA and he’s up at 4.73 so far this season and he really has done nothing to suggest that he’s anything better than those numbers.  Gray hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning in any of his last four starts, he’s given up 5, 8, 7 and 8 hits respectively and three of those four saw him give up five earned runs while the other he gave up three.  Gray hasn’t faced the Pirates since 2016 but in three career starts he is 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning in any of those starts.  The Rockies have a solid bullpen this season but surprisingly they have been far better at Coors Field than on the road so we should get a heavy dose of the Rockies pen too in a tough environment where they have struggled.  Finally, we are getting outstanding line value with reduced juice on a total of eight in this game.  Not only is eight a key number, meaning if both teams get to four runs it’s a win, but 8 as opposed to where we projected this total at 8.5 gives us a host of combinations that would be a push instead of a loss.  The market seems to be suggesting the Pirates are the right side play here and if that’s the case it’s likely because they pounded Gray and if that happens this one is definitely getting to at least eight runs and likely more.   Neither lineup has been consistent and we are in a ballpark that has always been more favorable to pitching which is the reason for the lower total but we just see both teams in excellent spots to have offensive success here.  It’s hard to see the Pirates completing a “bullpen game” without giving up at least 3-4 runs, it’s hard to see Gray getting through five innings without doing the same and what we expect is a competitive game where both teams do their part and get their four runs to force this one over the posted total.  Play on Over 8 (-105) for 4 units