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Friday’s MLB Over/Under Bet: Two starters aiming to lower ugly ERAs
ANALYSIS

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Game 1)

Over/Under: 7

First pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Carlos Martinez (0-2, 10.32 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (1-7, 6.35 ERA

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions

While a pitcher’s earned run average is probably the most correct measurement of their season, it can also be misleading, especially mired in a shortened campaign.

Such can perhaps be argued is the case of the two starters set to kick off this doubleheader today despite each one’s absolutely horrific ERA. In fact, a deeper dive into the numbers reveals bad luck.

Look at Carlos Martinez. Obviously, something is up when the talented hard-throwing righty is carrying an ERA north of double-digits — albeit across only three starts — but that’s largely due to having to put up with an absurd .421 batting average on balls put in play against him.

You know that’s not lasting. Martinez collectively registered a nifty 3.22 ERA in his five seasons prior as both a starter and a reliever, so it makes sense to try and catch him back on an upswing as he improves upon his numbers. He’s also coming off his best outing of the season (though that’s not saying much) in which he struck out eight Cincinnati Reds hitters.

That, to me at least, is a sign he’s at least headed in the right direction toward his old form. Remember, he’s also in the process of getting back to full strength and will soon have his usual velocity back.

Bettors can also summon his positive history when taking on the Buccos. In 12 career assignments against Pittsburgh, Martinez is 5-4 with a desirable 3.49 ERA.

Trevor Williams has also been the victim of bad luck, dealing with a .333 BABIP. At the same time, he has plenty of blame to assign himself as well for the 12 home runs he’s given up in 45.1 innings of work.

However, the majority of those came on the road. As has been the case throughout his five seasons in the big leagues, Williams is much better at home — and that’s where he’ll be for this start.

The Pirate right-hander’s stats from PNC Park since first coming up (3.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) are significantly better than when Williams has taken the mound in away territory (5.01 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). This trend can come into play this afternoon, and with Martinez in a spot to do most of the heavy lifting for this abbreviated affair, that’s what can be the deciding factor.

Bet: UNDER 7 (-120)

MLB Leans - September 18

ATL/NYM Under 9

KC/MIL Under 8.5

SD/SEA Under 8.5

2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 15-36-4, -25.81 units

Yesterday’s Result: Red Sox-Marlins Under 9 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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