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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The Mets are 3-6 in Justin Verlander starts.
- The Pick: Brewers (+150)
It's safe to say things have not gone to plan for the New York Mets this season. The team spent roughly eleventy billion dollars over the winter with the goal of winning a World Series, and instead, they're 35-42 and 15 games out of first place. Justin Verlander, tonight's starter, has been part of the disappointment.
In nine starts, he's posted a 4.50 ERA. His 20.5% strikeout rate is the lowest he's had in a season since 2014, when he posted a rate of 17.8%. He finished the season with a 4.54 ERA. That's not what the Mets were paying for, nor was it what they wanted. It's also why the Mets shouldn't be favored so heavily against the Brewers tonight.
Yes, Verlander has been better in his home starts, but the sample sizes aren't large enough to mean much to me. What matters to me is Verlander's velocity is dipping slightly on his secondary offerings, and he's allowing far more contact to opponents. He also hasn't worked deep into games as often, which is a problem since the Mets' bullpen has been below average all season, and had to cover four innings on Sunday.
Having said all this, the Brewers still need to take advantage, and their starter Colin Rea isn't exactly a juggernaut. In fact, his numbers are strikingly similar to Verlander's, as are the Brewers overall as a team. This should be much closer to a coin flip than the line suggests.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn't have strong feelings one way or the other, but two SportsLine experts have posted plays.
💰More MLB picks
The Pick: Over 8.5 (-105) -- This is the best pitching matchup on the docket tonight, so, of course, we're taking the over. While humanity has figured out ways to overcome Mother Nature in some spots, we've yet to conquer her in outdoor baseball stadiums. Tonight's weather forecast at Truist Park is hot and humid and features wind howling out to left field at 12mph. Truist Park is homer-friendly as it is, but in conditions like tonight, it feels much smaller.
This is part of the reason I have a slight lean toward Minnesota, but I prefer the total. Spencer Strider is a strikeout savant, but he does lose command, and the contact he allows is almost exclusively of the flyball variety. It's also hit hard pretty often. Minnesota's Sonny Gray rarely allows the long ball, but he rarely faces offenses as prodigious as going deep as Atlanta's. Not only do the Braves have the highest HR rate in baseball at 4.70%, but the next closest is the Dodgers at 4.17%.
The Pick: Rangers -1.5 (-110) -- Full disclosure, it's a limited slate of MLB tonight, and if we had a full slate, I'm probably not including this play. I don't love this one, but I'm willing to take a shot on it because the Detroit Tigers stink, and while Matthew Boyd has been better than his ERA suggests, he's facing a Rangers offense that lights up lefties.
The Rangers rank second in MLB in wOBA against lefties, third in wRC+ and hard-hit rate, and eighth in isolated power. They've also been much stronger at home, posting an OPS of .851 compared to .744 on the road and scoring 6.41 runs per game. Tonight's Rangers starter Andrew Heaney runs into trouble occasionally, but he's facing a Detroit team that finds itself on the other end of the spectrum from Texas when facing lefties. There's a decent shot the Rangers will win this one comfortably.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Allan Bell is sharing his picks for tonight's decisive Game 3 of the College World Series.