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The Angels season hasn't gone the way they (or we) hoped, but their offense is still a top-10 unit, led by Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB Picks column for Thursday, July 26th. Wednesday’s pick was lining up to be a good one; first of all, our bet on Boston at -175 significantly beat the closing line, which ended up at -222. With great value already in hand, the Red Sox immediately hit two first inning home runs off of Dylan Bundy to go up 2-0. After Mookie Betts hit a three-run homer in the second inning to put Boston up 5-0, the rain started to fall and the game ended up being postponed.
Oh well; chalk it up to a bad beat at the hands of the weather gods. We’re still encouraged by beating the closing line, as it’s the surest way to know that you got good value on your wager. Luckily we’ve got a very similar game on the docket for Thursday, and we’re confident that this one won’t be getting rained out. Let’s get into it.
Chicago White Sox (Covey) at Los Angeles Angels (Tropeano)
While nearly all of our preseason picks turned out to be good ones, the one we’d like to take back was the Angels at +610 to win the AL West. Even they had stayed healthy (and boy, they sure didn’t), the Halos still probably wouldn’t have kept pace with the Astros, who currently lead baseball with a 1.9 run differential per game.
However, we still believe that this Angels team is a good one. The casual bettor may see them as a 4th place team, but they have the offensive firepower of a contender and we’ll be betting on them when the pitching matchup is right. That’s the case on Thursday, as they’ll be facing one of the worst starters in baseball in Dylan Covey.
Covey made 12 starts in his debut for the White Sox in 2017, and it went terribly - his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.21 was almost as ugly as his 7.71 ERA. Things have gotten marginally better in 2018 (4.95 ERA in 12 starts), but his K/BB ratio is still awful at 1.71. He’s actually been lucky in regards to home runs, as he’s allowing a solid 0.85 homers per nine after a disastrous mark in 2017 (2.57 per nine). He’ll inevitably allow a higher rate of home runs as the season goes along, and if he can’t drastically improve his control, he’ll be looking at an ERA in the fives.
The Angels’ Nick Tropeano is no world-beater himself - he’s actually projected to allow more homers per inning than Covey. However, he projects as the better pitcher since he doesn’t have nearly the control issues that Covey has - his K/BB ratio is much more managable at 2.04. While we’re not blown away by his talent, we’re confident that Tropeano has the edge on Thursday, and he’ll be facing a much worse lineup.
The White Sox have the 22nd ranked offense by wRC+, and that’s not surprising - outside of Jose Abreu, none of the other regulars in the lineup project to be better than league average. Even Abreu is having a down year (104 wRC+) - we still have no idea why he started the All-Star game.
On the other hand, the Angels’ offense has been a top 10 unit on the year, and there’s no reason to think they can’t keep it up, even if they are out of contention. Andrelton Simmons may be overachieving a bit so far (.303/.361/.426), but it doesn’t make up for the disaster of a season Kohl Calhoun is having (.189/.247/.330). If Calhoun can turn things around and if Mike Trout can keep doing Mike Trout things, the Angels will end up in the top 10 - just as we predicted in the preseason.
While betting on Nick Tropeano as a -175 doesn’t sound like the best idea, we believe that line is actually a bargain when considering the opponent. The White Sox are still in lose-now mode as they rebuild their roster, and we think they have a great chance of doing so every time Dylan Covey is on the mound. We’ll happily take the competitive Angels in their matchup against the woeful White Sox as our free MLB pick for Thursday.
That’ll do it for today. If you’re itching for some football, be sure to check out our latest NFL Futures article covering our best bets to win the AFC as training camps start to get underway.
Good luck to all of you degenerates out there, and as always: let’s get a win!
Bet the Angels -175
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