Cleveland @ Houston
Cleveland +166 over Houston

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Posted at 12:30 PM EST and are subject to change.

Cleveland +166 over Houston

7:10 PM EST. Pinnacle has the best number here at +166, but you can play +160 at Bet365 if you choose.

Zach Plesac (RHP - CLE) had an absolute elite 18.5% swing & miss rate last game but perhaps that was an anomaly, as his swing & miss rate this year is just 11.1%. Still, his profile is certainly trending upward, as his velocity is up a tick, as are his swinging strikes and groundball rate. We’ll roll the dice on the Tribe here, as this wager is more about fading the “great” Justin Verlander (RHP - HOU).

We’ll insist again that Verlander is a lot worse than his surface stats suggest. Dude has a 1.81 ERA after 19 starts with a near flawless 14-3 record. Personally, I have gone over his underlying stats with a fine tooth comb and can guarantee that he’s not this good. First, he’s completely dominated the Mariners to the tune of five starts this year while allowing one run or less in four of those five starts. For whatever reason, the M’s couldn’t touch him. Secondly, his swing & miss rate is slightly above league average at 12.4%. It’s good but it’s not elite. Third, his groundball/fly-ball rate is weak with 31% grounders and 49% fly-balls. Finally, his strand rate of 86% is not only remarkably lucky, it’s not sustainable and neither is his hit rate of 24%. For reference, the average strand rate in MLB baseball this year among all-starters is 73.9%. Verlander’s luck crushes that number. The average BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is .286. Justin Verlander’s BABIP is .233.

Don’t get us wrong, as Verlander is a decent pitcher that 29 other managers would take in a heartbeat. What he is not is the dominant pitcher that he is above the surface. He is also not worthy of being -180 road favorite against a team that has done so well putting the ball in play against righties. Incidentally, Cleveland strikes out the fewest times against right-handers in MLB so perhaps some of those balls in play will find some gaps. Overlay.

Our Pick

Cleveland +166 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.32)

Colorado +206 over St. Louis
Oakland +168 over Texas
Toronto +131 over N.Y. Yankees