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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: 11 of Chicago's 41 wins (26.8%) have come in Dylan Cease starts.
- The Pick: White Sox (-110)
As a White Sox fan who hates the White Sox, I assure you I don't take betting on them to win a game lightly. They stink, and I don't mean in the "they've failed to meet expectations" kind of weighted stink. They stink in any context. If one thing works well at any given point, everything else is guaranteed to be an absolute mess.
Now, that said, Dylan Cease is one of the few things in the organization that works consistently. While Cease hasn't been as effective this season as last year, the team is 11-10 in his 21 starts. That doesn't seem great, but remember, this team is 41-62 overall. It doesn't even win 40% of the time, so if the team wins over half the time when Cease starts, it's not hard to figure out who deserves the credit.
Plus, it's not like the Guardians are a juggernaut. They're 51-51 and sending Tanner Bibee to the mound. Not sure who that is? Don't worry; most people outside Cleveland don't. He's a rookie who has been effective in 15 starts, posting an ERA of 3.04, but he doesn't have overpowering stuff and has average control. His peripherals suggest some course correction is in order, and it's not out of the question it could come tonight.
The White Sox getting the same odds as Cleveland while at home with Cease on the mound seems a little disrespectful.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Both the SportsLine Projection Model and Larry Hartstein are on the opposite side tonight, but that's fine. We're never scared of being on an island.
The Pick: Over 9 (-115) -- So here's the thing about the starting pitchers in this matchup. Both Washington's Josiah Gray and New York's Kodai Senga have respectable ERAs, with Gray at 3.45 and Senga at 3.27. However, they walk too many hitters for me to consider them reliable. Gray's walk rate of 10.4% is 21% worse than the league average for starters, while Senga's 11.9% is even worse. While Senga gets a lot more strikeouts, it's never good to walk hitters when trying to suppress runs.
And when you're pitching on a night where temperatures will be in the 90s with winds blowing out to right-center at 15 mph? Well, that's how you get an over stew a-brewin'. Now, if there's a fly in the ointment tonight, neither of these offenses has been prolific. However, while the Mets aren't great overall, they can hit dingers. As for Washington, for all its faults, it's quite good at putting the ball in play. The Nats' strikeout rate of 18.7% is the second-best in baseball, and any ball put in play tonight will have a chance.
Cubs at Cardinals, 7:45 p.m | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Justin Steele Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+108) -- Justin Steele is having a terrific season for the Chicago Cubs, as he's 10-3 with a 2.95 ERA, but there have been two different versions of Steele this year. In his first eight starts, he went 6-0 with a 1.82 ERA, but his walk rate was 8.33%, and his strikeout rate was 20.31%. Then something changed. I don't know what Steele did specifically, but he started walking fewer hitters and striking out plenty more.
Over his last 10 starts, Steele's walk rate has dropped to 4.76%, and his strikeout rate has risen to 24.68%. Of course, his ERA has risen to 3.98, and he's only 4-3 in those starts, but that's the Cubs' problem, not ours. We're interested in Steele's newfound strikeout prowess, particularly against these St. Louis Cardinals. In his first start against the Cards, Steele struck out three of the 27 hitters he faced. In his last two, he's struck out 17 of 51. With the Cubs playing some of their best ball of the season and the Cardinals poised to punt on the season, let's ride the wave.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine MMA expert Kyle Marley has released his card for Saturday's UFC 291 event.