Both Justin Verlander and Dylan Cease have made a push within the 2022 American League Cy Young betting market, sitting atop the odds board. They’ll face off against one another in the second of a four-game set between the Astros and White Sox. Below is my MLB betting analysis for this matchup.
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MLB Betting: Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox
Will Cease Outduel Verlander?
Although Verlander is betting favorite to win the award () before this highly anticipated duel, Cease has seen his odds shorten from +1100 to since the All-Star break. If you recall, we jumped on that initial price tag.
For starters, Verlander’s 2.90 xERA indicates that his 1.85 ERA may increase as a result of taking on a contact-oriented lineup. That variable comes into play because the 39-year-old’s lone weakness is his opponent’s whiff percentage, which ranks in the 38th percentile.
Not only are the White Sox’s bats league average in that department, but they also may include Luis Robert, who’s only played in eight games since the All-Star break because of blurred vision and a wrist injury. The budding center fielder boasts career highs in contact rate (74.5%) and strikeout rate (18.4%), respectively.
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Furthermore, Verlander has increased his curveball usage over the course of the 2022 campaign — to the point where it’s developed into his secondary pitch type in August (23.9%). Chicago’s offense has failed to reach expectations because of injuries (shortstop Tim Anderson remains out), yet it’s delivered the highest run value against curveballs among Verlander’s three most utilized pitches (four-seam fastball, slider, and curveball), according to FanGraphs.
On the flip side, Cease owns the highest bWAR among American League starters (4.5). The 26-year-old’s fastball spin is superb as well (97th percentile) while his whiff rate is perched on the 96th percentile for comparison’s sake.
Houston’s lineup showcases substantial success versus seemingly every pitch type, and that’s unsurprising given its elite-level bats. Nevertheless, they’re outside of the top 10 against sliders — Cease’s most relied upon hurl.
Despite Cease’s walk rate ranking in the 19th percentile, which the Astros’ patient offense can certainly capitalize on, the White Sox are worth backing at +105 or better. Keep in mind, Chicago possesses one of the league’s better bullpens — albeit Tony La Russa’s incompetence.
- Find the best available line using TheLines’ MLB odds comparison tool
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