Cleveland @ NY Yankees
Cleveland +165 over NY Yankees

BET365 +165 SportInteraction +165 Pinnacle +165

Posted at 3:50 PM EST.

Cleveland +170 over NY Yankees

6:40 PM EST. If you pulled up the league leaderboard for runs per game, there would be a surprising name in first place, the Cleveland Guardians, who also lead the majors in OPS and in Deserved Runs Created (DRC+). They’re doing this in an unconventional way, having only clubbed 11 home runs thus far, exactly in line with the league average. Instead of lighting up scoreboards with fireworks, they’ve done it by barraging opposing fielders with a storm of base hits, wearing pitchers down with cold efficiency at the plate.

Under new hitting coach Chris Valaika, the Guardians have experienced an identity overhaul from the lineup we’ve seen in recent seasons: They’ve gone from being around league-average in terms of aggressiveness to now being one of the most selective outfits in the league, swinging at pitches inside the zone at the fourth-lowest rate in MLB.

The team’s newfound patience combined with the addition of several bat-to-ball-specialists and their advanced approaches has elevated the Guardians to the top of the league in contact rate. While the quality of their batted balls isn’t on par with a few others, they make up for it with sheer quantity, and don’t try to be something they aren’t by swinging for the fences. Through April 20, 39.3% of their swings have resulted in balls in play, a number good for seventh in baseball, with their .324 average on those balls in play ranking fifth.

That all-around effectiveness at avoiding outs has fueled the offensive turnaround. José Ramírez has been a metronome of excellence while hitting third the majority of the time both in 2021 & 2022, but the difference in productivity from the two spots in front of him over those two seasons is night and day.

Even if Myles Straw and Steven Kwan suffer sizable regressions to the norm, they would still be providing many more scoring opportunities for the always-reliable Ramírez hitting behind them, who has already cashed in to the tune of a league-leading 20 RBI in 12 games this season.

That isn’t even accounting for the fact that their best slugger, Franmil Reyes, has not played well yet. The back half of the lineup has been carried by a mix of in-house players playing above their prior talent levels in different areas. That speaks to what Valaika seems to be best at: nudging his players to lean into their strengths. While he has one group of pesky speed demons spraying the ball around on the ground, others in the Cleveland lineup have seen an uptick in power, notably Oscar Mercado and Owen Miller.

Now the big question is can this surprisingly effective offense remain effective over the long haul? The answer probably isn’t 100% yes, at least to the extent that they have been so far. There are simply too many unsustainable elements driving this degree of success. However, there is enough talent here to continue to surpass expectations and provide plenty of profit into the summer months.

We wanted to play Cleveland against the South Side the past three days but we’re looking for underdogs and not favorites and therefore we passed. Now the Baseball Team is a big underdog in New York and instantly becomes very playable. As for the starters, we care not. This is a bet on Cleveland to beat New York at an absurd price.

Our Pick

Cleveland +165 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.30)

Baltimore -1 +185 over Seattle
Boston -1 +220 over Toronto