MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Robbie Ray (4-6, 4.93 ERA) vs. Cristian Javier (3-2, 2.41 ERA)
Either the linesmakers are forgetting how good Robbie Ray is based on that uncharacteristic earned run average he’s registered thus far or they’re completely whiffing on one of the most underrated starting pitchers in MLB, Cristian Javier.
Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, this series opener in Houston tonight has the ingredients for a low-scoring contest.
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Ray — the reigning American League Cy Young — commands more respect. Yes, his overall numbers are currently out of line from what we’re used to seeing from the nine-year veteran but everything recently suggests he’s rounding into form.
When Ray, who is one of the best strikeout artists going today despite that lower K rate on the season, is accumulating the punch-outs, that’s when he’s at his best. After a slow start in that department, Ray is back to fulfilling his hunger for K’s, evidenced by the 43 strikeouts he crafted within his last five starts. By comparison, he had just 31 K’s in his first six outings.
Well, there’s clearly a difference and if we’re getting Ray closer to top form, he’ll actually be garnering a favorable matchup in this assignment. As I wrote about in our under win on Saturday, despite the Astros’ reputation for smashing left-handed pitching on a regular basis in recent seasons, they’ve plated production that is a far cry from where they once were. Houston enters with a team .664 OPS against southpaws, which ranks 22nd in the Majors, while they’re also last in the AL in team average with a .215 mark. That’s just staggering.
Even Kris Bubic — who I like but the fact remains he held a 12.83 ERA going into that aforementioned game with the Astros — blanked the offense for five nice innings
Plus, while Ray has been around a while, this lineup has about no experience facing him, something that will only make things tougher seeing an arm the caliber of Ray.
In a total as high as 8.5, Ray uncorking some of his dominant brand of pitching could really make a difference. And so, too, should his counterpart this evening.
As I alluded to, Javier just might be baseball’s best-kept secret as far as starting pitchers go. In his third year now, the right-hander continues to be very impressive, even holding opposing hitters below the Mendoza Line with a .189 average (!) — and that’s for his career.
Even after excellent work mostly as a starter in his rookie campaign, Javier was utilized as a swingman on the staff last year that mostly came out of the bullpen. The same rang true in the beginning of the year before better minds prevailed, and voila, here is Javier making his fifth straight start (and sixth of the season).
No matter how he’s been used, the 25-year-old just continues to excel. Out of his 10 appearances, all consisting of more than one inning of work, only once did Javier yield more than a pair of runs. That start notably came away from Houston.
Javier sports some of the more extreme home-and-road splits you’ll see among pitchers. At Minute Maid Park, he’s pitched in 31 ball games (13 starts) and gone 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Furthermore, he’s limited hitters to a puny .165/.259/.307 slash line in those outings.
On the road meanwhile, he’s constructed a 4.68 ERA that’s more than double what it is in Houston. This trend continues to illuminate, as Javier has allowed only a single run this year at Minute Maid.
Yeah, we can trust him within the comfort of his home stadium, as well as his tendencies when squaring off with this opponent. Javier has faced the Mariners six times (three starts), spanning 22.1 innings, and they’ve scored a total of one run. That’s a 0.40 ERA in these meetings.
And the linesmakers are providing a spacious over/under of 8.5 for this matchup? Nothing else needs to be said. Many books have started shrinking that down to 8, meaning you must bet quickly.
2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “30-23-5,” +3.88 units
Yesterday’s Result: Guardians-Orioles Under 9 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit