Stud starting pitching is the order of the day today in Major League Baseball - and maybe some rain. With names like Scherzer, Sale, and Verlander climbing the bump Wednesday you'd be surprised which elite starter is getting the best betting value. We break down the day's complete MLB schedule with in-depth analysis, tips and our favorite picks in today's edition of MLB Daily Line Drive.
Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox (-260, 8)
When pulling into the parking lot at Covers World Headquarters this morning the last song that was playing on the local radio station was 'Sail' by AWOLNATION. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.
The A's and Red Sox close out their three-game series this evening at Fenway Park with the visiting Athletics going for the sweep. That sweep isn't going to happen.
Lanky Chris Sale gets the start today for the Sox and he's been his usual dominant self to start the 2018 season with a 2.17 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and 78 strikeout in only 58 innings of work. He's been even better at home with a 1.50 ERA and a WHIP of 1.06.
The A's will counter with Trevor Cahill who has put up some surprisingly solid numbers over the first six weeks of the season, but starting on the road has been a slightly more difficult assignment for him. In two starts away from Oakland in 2018, Cahill owns an ERA of 4.91 and in four career starts at Fenway he owns a team win/loss of 0-4, an ERA of 8.44, a WHIP of 1.7813, and he has allowed six home runs.
This has the feel of a 6-2 or 7-2 "cruise control" game for the Red Sox.
Pick: Red Sox -1.5 (-120)
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Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels (+155, 8)
OK, sure. The Astros have lost Justin Verlander's last three starts, but it certainly hasn't been any fault of his since he only allowed a combined three runs (two earned runs) in those three outings.
On the road this season, Verlander owns a team win/loss of 3-1 with an incredible ERA of 0.36 (one earned run in 25 innings) and a WHIP of 0.88.
The Astros are one of the top road teams in baseball this season at 15-7 and last season they lead all of Major League Baseball at 53-28 away from their home ballpark. This team is really good and they like to showcase their skills around the league in other stadiums. Show-offs.
The Angels will counter with Garrett Richards who has been pretty good to start 2018, but a 5.79 ERA at home is not the greatest look when going up against the defending World Series champs.
Getting the road-savy Astros at -130 with Verlander on the mound is too good of a value to pass up.
Pick: Astros -130
Yesterday's picks: 2-0
Season to date: 45-45-3
Streaking and Slumping Starting Pitchers
News flash! Max Scherzer is good.
The two-time reigning National League Cy Young Award winner is well on his way to a third consecutive award with a team win/loss of 8-1, an ERA of 1.69, a WHIP of 0.82, and 91 strikeouts with only 13 walks,
"Mad Max" is on the hill for the Nationals today as -165 home favorites against CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees.
As good as Max Scherzer has been in 2018, Jason Hammel of the Kansas City Royals has been on the absolute opposite side of the spectrum. Hammel owns a 1-7 team win/loss record and it hasn't been simply the fact that he pitches for a bad team - some of this is on him. In his last three outings he's 0-2, 12.00 ERA, 2.07 WHIP, .413 opponent's on-base percentage, and he's allowed five home runs.
Hammel will try to clean it up today at home as a slight +100 underdog against Jake Faria and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wednesday's Top Trends
* Over is 11-1 in Bauer's last 12 starts vs. Tigers. CLE/DET total: 9.5.
* Twins are 15-3 in their last 18 interleague games. +100 today vs. Cardinals.
* Mets are 0-9 in their last nine games following a win. +120 today vs. Blue Jays.
* Royals are 2-11 in their last 13 home games vs. a right-handed starter. +100 today vs. Rays.
* Diamondbacks are 1-6 in their last seven overall. +105 today vs. Brewers.
* Giants are 6-1 in their last seven home games. -160 today vs. Reds.
* Under is 10-1 in Nationals' last 11 interleague games. NYY/WAS total: 7.5.
* Cubs are 6-0 in the last six meetings with the Braves in Atlanta. -110 today at ATL.
Wind will not be a factor at any Major League Baseball stadiums Wednesday, but rain will still be a major issue in the Northeast.
For the afternoon slate of games there is a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms rolling through during the Pirates game against the White Sox, there is an increasing chance of rain all day in Baltimore where the Orioles are scheduled to take on the Phillies, and the Blue Jays and Mets might have a tough time getting their game in today at Citi Field with rain in the forecast all day.
As for the evening, we'd be surprised if the Yankees and Nationals were able to squeeze anything in tonight at Nationals Park with rain expected all evening in the nation's capital and there are thunderstorms in the Atlanta area tonight where the Braves are scheduled to take on the Cubs.
Ump of the Day
Doug Eddings will be calling balls and strikes today in San Francisco where the Giants will take on the Reds. Eddings has been an Under machine thus far in 2018 at 6-1, and dating back to last season the Under is 16-5-1 in his last 22 games behind the plate.
The total for today's game in San Francisco is currently set at 8.5.
Wednesday's Top Consensus
Here are the top side and total plays according to the public in our Covers Consensus. Check out up to the minute consensus data for every game here.