Kansas City (Gee) +200 at Miami (Fernandez) O/U 7
Recommendation: Kansas City
I understand how well Jose Fernandez has pitched at home in his career, compiling a ridiculous 26-2 mark with a 1.62 ERA at Marlins Park. His numbers have been steady and consistent throughout the 2016 campaign as well: 9-2 with a 2.07 ERA in Miami. The betting attention that Fernandez has attracted during this long term run of excellence has resulted in prices like the one we’re seeing here, with Miami priced higher than 2:1 to win tonight’s game.
There’s one big problem with those long term, aggregate numbers – they don’t factor in current form. Let’s not forget that Fernandez made only 11 starts last year and eight starts in 2014, dealing with the aftermath of Tommy John surgery. He’s already thrown 141.2 innings this year, far more than in either of the last two seasons. And Fernandez sure looks like he’s wearing down right now. Miami is 0-4 in his last four starts (all as favorites, including a home loss at -240), and Fernandez has an ERA of 6.00 during that span. That’s not what I’m looking for out of my -230 favorites!
Royals starter Dillon Gee attracts ZERO betting market attention, a league average pitcher personified. But Gee is coming off his best start of the season, needing only 84 pitches to throw seven innings of one run, five hit ball against the Twins. And there’s a lot more to this game than just a starting pitching matchup that may not be in the Marlins favor as much as the markets seem to think it is.
The Royals are the hottest team in baseball, winners of nine straight and 13 of their last 14. KC is only four games out of the Wild Card spot, surging right now. Marlins injured sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour (a duo with 40 home runs this season; the rest of the team has 66) were just joined by infielder Derek Dietrich on the DL. There’s a chance that their last remaining slugger Marcel Ozuna could miss tonight as well, after getting pulled from the game last night due to an undisclosed family emergency.
KC still has a truly elite bullpen, ranked #1 in all of MLB in ERA again this year after slamming the door shut again last night in the 1-0 thriller. And, of course, KC has been playing tough games in hostile environments on their way to the World Series over the past two Octobers. Miami hasn’t finished above .500 since 2009 and their last playoff game came back in 2003; not exactly a ‘battle tested’ team in these type of playoff atmosphere games. That’s an awful lot of fodder for a play on KC tonight as big underdogs