MLB Tuesday best bets: Astros to prevail in battle between Cy Young favorites
We have a full slate of baseball ahead of us, with all 30 teams set to be in action.
Let's take a look at two games that stand out from the rest with our daily best bets.
The St. Louis Cardinals won seven of their last 10 games and own a remarkable 37-21 record on home soil this season.
Although most of Freeland's underlying metrics look pretty good over the last 30 days, there are some red flags - none more alarming than the frequency he allows hard-hit balls.
Freeland gave up hard contact on 42.9% of his pitches over the last month, which is more than any other pitcher projected to start today.
He's doing a pretty good job of keeping the ball on the ground, and his strikeout and walk rates are normal, but giving up hard contact so often is a recipe for disaster - especially against a team like St. Louis.
The Cardinals lead the majors in wOBA (.379) and sit second in ISO (.236) against left-handed pitchers over the last five weeks. They've been potent against lefties all season, sitting seventh in wOBA.
They teed off on Freeland last week, scoring five in the first and six runs through four innings while generating 10 hits and 12 baserunners.
St. Louis' offense should be able to get off to another quick start in this one. I like Jose Quintana's chances of seeing it through five innings.
Though Colorado is a potent offensive team against lefties, it's much more effective at home. It sits 21st in wOBA and ISO versus LHP on the road this year.
Quintana posted a strong 2.79 FIP over the last month and owns a career .308 xwOBA against this Rockies roster. He should be able to limit the damage.
Bet: Cardinals F5 -0.5 (-135)
Cease enters this contest in better form on the surface - he has a lower ERA and higher strikeout rate over the last month.
Verlander, though, looks better beneath the surface. His FIP (2.21) is better than Cease's and closer to his actual ERA. While Cease owns a fantastic 2.76 FIP over the last month, that's nearly two runs higher than his ERA (0.87).
Cease benefits from unsustainable percentages. For example, opponents post a .208 BABIP, and Cease strands an absurd 99% of baserunners allowed. As good as he is, opponents who've gotten on base will eventually cause problems.
For added perspective, Verlander has an 81.6 left-on-base percentage, while Brandon Woodruff has a 77.6% mark over the same period.
Cease is due some level of regression, and it could well come against the Houston Astros.
They haven't hit righties all that well lately, but there's no denying the talent on the roster. They profile pretty well against Cease's pitch arsenal; the 26-year-old throws fastballs or sliders around 80% of the time, with a pretty even split between the two.
I think their offense can plate a few runs in this game, which is likely all Verlander needs to pick up a win - especially given the Chicago White Sox's struggles against him.
Their roster has combined to muster a .298 xwOBA through 128 plate appearances against Verlander. Those are poor numbers.
Look for the Astros to get back on track and even up the series.
Bet: Astros (-125)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.