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Houck to pitch clean game vs. Guardians

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox / Getty Images Sport / Getty

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We're coming off another profitable night on the diamond, posting a 2-1 record with our best bets.

Let's look at three plays that pop off the page for a busy Wednesday in MLB.

Paul Blackburn: Over 17.5 outs

Note: first pitch is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. ET.

The Cardinals are a pitcher's dream right now. Nine of the past 10 right-handed starters they've faced have completed six innings or more. The lone exception was Ross Stripling, who pitched 5.2 innings and came just one out shy of extending the streak to 10.

Although the Cardinals have faced some excellent starters during this stretch, it can't be pinned on the quality of competition. Ryne Nelson, Spencer Turnbull, and Max Meyer pitched six quality innings versus the Cardinals without allowing more than a run.

That bodes well for Blackburn. He's pitched 19 innings of shutout ball and finished at least six innings in all three starts this season. He's not giving up many barrels, posting a rate less than half the MLB average. He's also sporting a rock-solid xwOBA of .268 and induces grounders more than 50% of the time.

I expect that strong play to continue while pitching in a ballpark that isn't friendly to hitters against an offense struggling to chase starters.

Odds: -130 (playable to -150)

Reid Detmers: Under 17.5 outs

Detmers is off to an excellent start to the campaign, but we may be seeing a little smoke and mirrors. The two games he pitched over five innings came against a Red Sox team sporting a .228 batting average and a 30% strikeout rate against left-handed arms.

His "stuff rating" is respectable but sits below 90, according to JonPGH's MLB dashboard. The Rays are hitting .267 and own an xwOBA of .339 against lefties with stuff ratings below 90. They've performed well against arms of Detmer's archetype.

They've also done a good job getting left-handed starters out of the game relatively early. Six of the seven they've faced this season failed to record more than 15 outs.

I don't expect Detmers to get shelled by any means, but the Rays are a team that grinds out tough at-bats versus lefties. They should be able to prevent Detmers from going six innings, which he did only 11 times over 28 appearances a season ago.

Odds: +110 (playable to -120)

Tanner Houck: Under 1.5 walks

Houck has displayed excellent control over his first three starts. He's walked only two batters through 17.2 innings of work while sporting a walk rate of just 2.6%.

He's fared especially well against left-handed batters. Houck hasn't walked a single lefty and has thrown balls only 28% of the time, which is an extremely low clip.

The Guardians feature five lefties in their projected lineup, as well as a couple of switch hitters. They're very lefty-heavy, playing into the hands of Houck.

Walks also come few and far between for the Guardians. Only the Cardinals and Orioles own a lower BB% versus right-handed pitching than the Guardians.

They're a contact team that tries to put as many balls in play as possible. That should bode well for Houck, who generates a ton of grounders and wastes very few pitches.

Odds: -115 (playable to -135)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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