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July 26, 2015 (Posted at 12:00 PM ET)

Today's pick is a 2% wager.

Take Chicago White Sox as underdogs (+139) on the Money Line against Cleveland Indians risking 2%. 
(Rodon and Salazar must start for wager to have action)

The Cleveland Indians come into this series finale having lost five of their last eight games including the first 3 of this four game series. They have scored just four runs in their last three games and three or less runs in five of their last eight games and have lost six straight games when scoring three or less runs. The Tribe's difficulties against left handed pitching has been well documented this season and is an issue that they've had all season long and have yet to resolve. As we mentioned in the first game of this 4-game series, the Indians essentially had to make the series opener against RHP Jeff Samardzija count because their next 3 games would all be against southpaw pitchers! Unfortunately, they did not and now find themselves in this difficult situation. Not only did they lose that game but they got hit hard and gave a lot of confidence and momentum to a team that had very little. They paid for it as the club from South side of Chicago went on to take the next 2 games as well with their left-handed starters against Cleveland's righties and today is another such case.

The Indians will have the talented but very inconsistent Danny Salazar on the mound. Salazar has shown that he had a cannon for an arm and has strikeout ability in his arsenal, but his lack of control and questionable pitch selections at times have made him somewhat of a liability on the mound. He has also been hit hard by this Chicago group! In 61 at-bats against the right hander, the White Sox have batted an impressive .344! Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia and Alexei Ramirez who are all having a very good series have all crushed him and managed to hit at least 1 HR off him.

Meanwhile, the White Sox will send Carlos Rodon whom many still don't know about and teams have not really faced before. Rodon has shown that he has a good arsenal of pitches at his disposal and has baffled most lineups in their first few at-bats against him. Rodon has had only 1 start against Cleveland and even though he lost that one, he was impressive with a 1.5 ERA. These Indians bats then have either not seen him at all or seen him in only a few plate appearances which isn't really enough to get used to his 'slider' and new 'changeup'. He has more possibility of shocking the Indians bats than Salazar does against the White Sox. We believe he's capable of outdueling Salazar this afternoon but even if he doesn't, the White Sox Bullpen is in much better shape than Terry Francona's since Chris Sale give them 7 solid innings yesterday while Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco lasted only 4 innings! The Indians had to use 5 pitchers to get through last night's game and gave up a total of 10 runs!

In our opinions, the White Sox aren't a good team in but they have shown their character and tenacity many times. After their performance over the last 3 days, this White Sox offense suddenly has some swagger and confidence and that can be dangerous against a pitcher that hands out free passes to bases (walks) and gets emotional at times after giving up hits at times. Last night's win saw the Pale Hose leapfrog the Indians in the AL Central and Wild Card standings and keeps their post-season hopes alive. On the other side of the equation, Cleveland may well be all but out after going back home and dropping 3 consecutive games to direct rivals and division opponents. Cleveland's performances at home this season have been absolutely abysmal. This has left their home fans uninspired and even booing their home town team at times. Given the Indians struggles both at home and against southpaws and now todays contest being a day-game with a short turnaround, this sets the visitors up in a favorable situation especially considering all of the momentum they carry heading into this one.
It's hard to sweep a team in 4 straight games and this is likely a 50-50 contest that can go either way but the odds don't reflect that. The odds make it seem as if Indians have a much greater chance of winning which we simply don't agree with. The fact that the odds have dropped this much despite vast majority of the public backing Salazar shows there is value on the underdogs. Even now at these shortened odds, there's considerable value since this is a game that White Sox are capable of winning but they have been mispriced.

The White Sox have been in involved in more close games (extra innings and 1-run games) than any other club and have an outstanding record in those two situations. They do know how to win close games then and this could certainly be another one. One team is deflated, dejected and lacking confidence while the other suddenly has hopes and an extra bounce in their step. It's not often that a team like Chicago gets the opportunity to sweep a team, let alone in a 4-game series and against an AL Central rival. Now that they have that chance and the right momentum and conditions on their side, we expect Robin Ventura's club to make the most of it. While nearly all of the betting public is expecting the Indians to salvage at least 1 game of this series against the White Sox, they are putting their faith in the high priced Salazar to be the savior; however we believe they will be disappointed in the end. We knew Cleveland was going to struggle against the lefties in this rotation and today will be no different as the White Sox complete the sweep! 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Tribe are only 19-29 at Progressive Field this season.
  • The road team has won 7 of HP umpire Miller's last 8 games!
  • White Sox have turned more double-plays (109) than any other club in the American league!
  • White Sox have a 7-1 record over their last 8 road games and a 40-10 run differential during that span.

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