A light night in baseball and no NBA Playoffs Thursday, but rest assured, we still managed to find a nice little nugget that could become profitable for you!
The surprising Cleveland Indians enter Fenway Park today to open a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox and do so as fairly decisive underdogs (+132 at Bovada, for example). The game marks the return of Cleveland skipper and former Bosox manager Terry Francona to Fenway, a place he called home for eight seasons, winning two World Series titles along the way. Francona's homecoming will likely be a feel-good moment for those watching, but has nothing at all to do with why I like the Indians tonight. It has more to do with who Francona sends to the hill.
Zach McAllister (3-3; 2.65) takes the mound for the Indians with the lowest ERA among Cleveland starters. McAllister's last four starts have been a large reason why, as he's gone 2-0 with an ERA of 1.93 in them and the Tribe has won all four.
McAllister will be opposed by Boston's Ryan Dempster (2-4; 4.27) who, lately, has either been serving up gopher balls or unable to find the plate at all. But either scenario isn't good and doesn't bode well for the favored Red Sox today. You can see some of the damage for yourself using our Bovada data tool on the Home page. There, you'll find Dempster has gone 0-2 in his last three starts while allowing a monsterous 15 runs in 16⅔ innings.
Last Saturday against Minnesota, it was walks that did Dempster in, as he allowed a season high six free passes in 4⅔ innings (his shortest outing of the season); however, the Bosox bats backed him for a 12-5 win. Six days earlier, he wasn't as fortunate, surrendering a career-high three homers in a 12-4 loss to Toronto.
Those are hardly the kind of factors that make me have faith the Red Sox should be anywhere near the -142 favorite Boston has been tabbed with Bovada. Especially since the Indians have lost two straight and haven't fallen three times in a row since late April. The Indians are also averaging 6.6 runs per game in their last five coming off a loss.
With all the factors listed above, I see it hard to pass up a chance to back a team that will return more than 30% of the investment. Throughout the season, you have to find and hit some dogs (and sizable ones on occasion) to make baseball wagering a success. This seems as good a time as any to get behind an underdog, and that's what I'm going to do, feeling very good about my chances.
My pick: Cleveland Indians +132
Result ... Cleveland 12 Boston 3 Indians cover