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Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs
The key to betting at this time of the season is to focus on which teams have the motivation to win and which do not. These two teams each have equal motivation in this matchup… That just happens to be none, but there is a clear advantage in this game, and we are going to take advantage.
The Reds will send rookie Graham Ashcraft to the mound to try to finish this season off on the right note tonight. On the season he has a 4.18 ERA and a 3.99 xERA. He has faced this Cubs’ offense twice already this season and in those starts he has allowed ten earned runs in just 8.2 innings pitched. He will be taking on a very league-average offense in the Cubs but they seem to have created their own motivation to end the season as they have won eight of their last nine games.
On the other side for the Cubbies is Adrian Sampson and his 3.23 ERA and 4.58 xERA. He has also faced tonight’s opponent twice already on the season and in those ten innings combined he allowed just three ER. In September thus far he has a 1.55 ERA in 29 innings pitched. He is taking on an offense worse even than his own teams, as the Reds are the 29th best offense in baseball with a 77 wRC+ (100 being league average).
Neither of these teams are particularly good. But the Cubs have the (slightly) better offense, the (slightly) better bullpen, the better starting pitcher, and are the hotter team overall. Take the Cubs to win this one.
CHC ML, -144.
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
In an alternative matchup for these two teams to our last two, the Blue Jays are pushing to stay in the playoff race while the Red Sox have officially been eliminated and will be searching for their own motivation to keep on pushing to earn victories this season.
To keep his team in the playoff race for the Blue Jays will be Alek Manoah. On the season he has a 2.31 ERA and a 3.38 xERA. He is familiar with tonight’s opposition as he has faced this Sox offense three times already this season. In those starts, he has totaled 20 innings pitched and allowed just three earned runs. Overall, in September thus far he has thrown 35 innings and has a 1.03 ERA.
On the other side for the Red Sox is Nick Pivetta and his 4.48 ERA and 4.49 xERA. He has also faced tonight’s foe thrice on the season. In those three starts, he has gone 14.2 innings and allowed nine earned runs. This Blue Jays offense he is facing off against has been hot over the past month. In the past 30 days, they are the second-best offense in terms of wRC+ with a 120 rating (100 being average).
The offenses of these two teams match up very well over the past month, the bullpens too. So, we will focus our bets today on the first five innings where we can assume both starting pitchers will be active. Take the Jays to win the first five innings on the half-run run line as they have the better starting pitcher with the better history versus this matchup.
TOR F5 RL, -0.5, -124.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals
This series between AL Central foes features two teams on opposite ends of the season’s spectrum. The Guardians have clinched their division title and have continued pushing to win every game possible while the Royals will be pulling up the rear of the same division while losing four of their last five games.
Looking to continue ending the season on a positive note for the Guardians will be Aaron Civale. He has not had the ideal season as he has a 5.19 ERA and a 4.07 xERA. He has fared better over the past month as he has a 3.60 ERA in the month of September thus far. He will be facing off against a Royals team who has not been winning but has been hitting well. Over the past week they are the third best offense in the league with a wRC+ of 133.
For the Royals tonight they will send Brady Singer to the bump with his 2.99 ERA and 3.88 xERA. He has also faced tonight’s opponent already this year. In three starts he has totaled 16 innings pitched and allowed ten earned runs. Tonight, he will be facing off against a Guardians team that ranks just 21st over the past week offensively with a 91 wRC+ (100 being league average).
The Guardians have the much better bullpen between these two teams, but the Guardians are not hitting well right now and are coming off of a hard-fought, low-scoring series with the Rays. Take the Royals to win the first half of this game in the first five innings as when the bullpens get involved the tides may change.
KC F5 ML, +100.
Bonus (Non-Best) Bets!
MIN ML: The Tigers have been hot, but that will come back to earth as Ryan for the Twins has dominated them this season.
ATL ML: DeGrom for the NYM has struggled as of late and the Braves have the better pen to finish the game.
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