Chicago White Sox vs L.A. Angels
Every team in MLB is starting to get back into the swing of things again with Sunday night travel being a necessity for most last night as the 2nd half of the campaign has now begun in earnest. The time off also gave schedule makers plenty of opportunities to send West Coast based teams out East with minimal disadvantage with the travel because of the All-Star break, and because of that, we’ve only got one late start (10:00 p.m. ET) on the schedule to begin this week.
That lone late start involves the White Sox and Angels tonight, both of whom haven’t had their campaigns go according to plan. But while Chicago was always expected to struggle in 2018 with bigger goals the plan in the coming years, 2018 was the year the Angels were supposed to be back playing October baseball and a threat to win it all. Being .500 (50-50 SU) isn’t anywhere near where they wanted to be at this point of the season and it looks like this will be another lost campaign during Mike Trout’s prime. But that doesn’t mean the Angels can’t go on a big run over the next month to at least make teams sweat their presence come September and maybe it starts with the 15-4 win they had over Houston on Sunday.
Oddsmakers have certainly priced the Angels as heavy favorites tonight.
L.A is laying significant chalk tonight largely because the White Sox are simply that bad (30 games below .500) and shouldn’t be able to match up with the Angels, at least on paper. This is the first time these two have met in 2018, but with the home side going 9-1 SU in their last 10 games against one another, it’s easy to see that the Angels probably deserve all this chalk attached to them on multiple levels. And yet, as impressive as that 15-4 win was yesterday over Houston, it’s not the side I’m looking at for this game.
Tonight’s total has been bouncing back and forth between 8.5 and 9 for much of the morning as bettors with differing views go back and forth on their opinions. Considering the White Sox are coming off a Sunday afternoon game that saw them allow 8 runs while L.A was scoring 14 at the same time, you can see why tonight’s total has gotten the bump to a flat ‘9’ at times and it’s the number I’m looking to get with this play. That’s because despite the runs scored/allowed by both sides yesterday, this is a great ‘under’ spot that I will not be passing up.
For one, MLB teams that score 10+ runs in a game are ones that I always look to go ‘under’ on in their next game (all things like weather, pitching, being equal) because there is always a premium attached to those numbers right after a team lit an opponent up. Heck, the L.A Angels are 2-5 O/U this year after scoring 10+ runs in a game, and even the White Sox – while not applicable tonight – are 3-4 O/U after scoring 10 or more themselves. Go through all the teams in the league and it’s likely you’ll find similar results overall, as ‘unders’ to cash at a solid rate in these spots. Whether it’s because those hot bats spend too much time in freezers overnight, a different look from a different starter/team, or a boat load of other reasons, these are spots that pop up a few times each week and ones I look for because of the history.
Secondly, we’ve got a starting pitching matchup in this White Sox/Angels game that does lend itself to a lower scoring game as Chicago’s Lucas Giolito (7-10-2 O/U) and L.A’s Jaime Barria (4-8-1 O/U) have both cashed more ‘under’ than ‘over’ tickets in their respective starts this year. Barria has been the better of the two, especially lately, as he’s allowed just 3.7 runs per game over his last three starts and gotten just a single run per contest in support from his teammates. Angels fans are hopeful that number jumps up after yesterday’s offensive performance, but I wouldn’t be so quick to put too much stock into that happening. Barria’s last five starts at home have seen run totals of 3, 5, 11, 6, and 8 runs scored, and four of those five would be good enough to cash the ‘under’ tonight at 8.5 or 9.
Giolito has been alternating ‘overs’ with ‘unders’ over his last five starts and they really have been all or nothing with him and the White Sox in those games. His last outing was a 10-1 win against Kansas City (cashing the ‘over’) and he also has a 12-8 and 6-4 win as part of the three ‘overs’ during that stretch. But the two ‘unders’ were both 2-1 defeats for Chicago and if the pattern were to continue tonight, it would be the lower side of things that we’d see. That’s not a big part of my handicapping by any means, but it’s always nice to make note of that stuff.
Finally, with the Angels on a 5-13-1 O/U overall, 1-6-1 O/U run in series openers, and 0-5-1 O/U in their last six against sub-.400 winning percentage teams, I’m just not sure how you can trust these two to combine for 9+ runs without one of them putting up that number themselves. The trend of scoring 10+ runs for L.A might be 2-5 O/U this year, but even after scoring 5+ runs, L.A is on a 4-14-3 O/U run, so it’s rare that their bats stay hot throughout the order for more than 24 hours. Chicago’s Giolito is on a 1-8-2 O/U run in his last 11 starts away from home dating back to last year, and if he can have solid command of the strike zone, chances are the Angels cooled bats will give him some help as well.
Best Bet: Under 9 runs