Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:00 PM EST.
Houston +100 over CHICAGO
7:15 PM EST. Lots of fluctuations in the price here over the past 12 hours and it now appears as though the price is stabilizing with the White Sox getting some play. We can understand why because the price is largely predicated on the starting pitchers, which provides us with the opportunity to get behind the superior team.
The last time we played against Lucas Giolito (RHP - CHW), he and the South Side were stuck 7-3 going to the 9th inning but rallied for three runs to make the final 6-5 for Detroit. Since we had the Tigers, -1½ (+297), we ripped up our ticket in disgust but it’s not going to deter us. Giolito’s batted ball profile carries risk (33% grounders, 44% fly-balls). His line-drive rates are regressing horribly too, as they are at 32% over the past five games and at 50% over his last two starts. One has to wonder if that’s injury related, an anomaly or if it coincides with the crackdown on using sticky stuff. Dude is getting hit hard. Over his last six starts, Giolito is 1-2, which means five of those six games could have ended in a loss for the South Side.
Jake Odorizzi (RHP - HOU) is returning to form. After back, abdomen, and finger blister injuries derailed his 2020 campaign, Odorizzi has performed admirably in his first 10 starts this season with a 3.61 ERA. He's slightly outperforming his xERA (4.07) due to hit % luck but it’s not by much. His current batted-ball profile, HR/F, and HR/9 (1.1) are right in line with his career-averages.
Odorizzi’s first-pitch strike rate is up to 60% for the first time since 2015. BB% is down to the second-best mark of his career, and WHIP would finish as his best if the season ended today. The Statcast data has shown improvement in his hard-hit%, barrel %, and average exit velocity against; but he remains a starter who needs to hit his spots to be successful. His gains in ball% and first-pitch strikes will keep his BB% above-average, and his swing and miss rate is sustainable enough to keep at least a league-average K% despite not having any offerings that generate an extreme whiff %. He won't finish as a Top-20 starter at any point, but his help in ratios along with an above-average K-BB% will result in one of his better seasons; making him a strong wager as an underdog while playing for the juggernaut Astronauts.
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Houston +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)