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Expert handicapper Matt Zylbert provides his picks for the White Sox @ Mariners

Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners Picks & Predictions

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Lucas Giolito (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. James Paxton (0-0, -.-- ERA)

Pretty soon, home starts for Paxton won’t normally be generating a total of 7.5. It’s even unusual now to see the linesmakers hang up that number when this assignment also marks fan-favorite Big Maple’s return to Seattle since being traded to New York after the 2018 season.

And this particular outing — from pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park — also comes against a likely Cy Young contender. Whatever, we’ll gladly take advantage.

The overpowering Paxton seemingly has become forgotten about after he was limited to an underwhelming five starts last year due to flexor strain in his pitching forearm. But that will change very quickly.

This is a pitcher that would be a perennial All-Star if he stayed healthy. So, it’s nice to catch him in this spot here as he sets out to prove that in front of the affectionally-named Maple Grove, otherwise known as his cheering section. Get ready for those “Eh” strikeout signs.

Coming out of spring training, it appears the 6-foot-4 southpaw is already back in his usual premier form. Though it was only two outings, Paxton absolutely dominated, racking up a whopping 17 strikeouts compared to four walks in his 8.1 innings.

View odds for the game here.

That’s all I need to gather when recognizing this is prime Paxton we’re working with. And it’s a couldn’t-be-more-motivated version, as he seeks to revitalize his career. He was 15-6 for the Yankees only two years ago with a brilliant 11.11 K/9 mark that ranked in the top 10.

As mentioned, he’s going toe to toe with a fellow premier pitcher in Giolito. The former first-round pick will be following up a fine start to his campaign when he pitched into the sixth against the Angels on Opening Day and yielded a pair of runs while striking out eight. He looked sharp.

Giolito has proven he’s one of the best in the league when on his game. Considering his strong season debut and the excellent spring training he had in which he clocked out with a microscopic 1.17 ERA and 30 K’s across 23 innings, I think it’s safe to say Giolito is in his familiar groove now.

That would be wonderful for the matchup he draws for his second start, opposite a dead-bat lineup that showed its colors last night without Kyle Lewis in our victorious under. Expect those offensive struggles to carry through into game two.

Pick: UNDER 7.5 (-115)

MLB Leans April 6

Mets-Phillies Under 9

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 3-2, +0.7 unit

Yesterday’s Result: White Sox-Mariners Under 8.5 (WIN)

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


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