MLB Betting Friday: Betting Guide For AL Central Showdown

Written By Eli Hershkovich on August 19, 2022 - Last Updated on August 21, 2022
MLB Betting

A trio of AL Central teams are separated in the division standings by 2.5 games, and two of them square off this weekend. Let’s break down my MLB betting strategy for the first of a three-game set between the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox.

Click on any of the odds below to place a bet.

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MLB Betting: White Sox at Guardians Odds

McKenzie A Potential Ace?

If you’ve been living under a rock over the last six weeks, 25-year-old Tristan McKenzie has helped propel the Guardians into the division lead. The righty boasts a 1.93 ERA over his previous eight outings. However, he also showcases a 3.16 FIP during that stretch, which signifies that he’s outperformed expectations by a sizable margin.

Nevertheless, the betting market has begun to jump aboard McKenzie’s “success.” Below are the Guardians moneyline odds in each of his recent starts:

DateOpponentOpposing PitcherMoneyline OddsGame Result
8/13Blue Jays (Away)Mitch White-105Loss
8/7Astros (Home)Christian Javier+114Win
8/2Diamondbacks (Home)Zac Gallen-135Loss
7/28Red Sox (Away)Kutter Crawford-122Loss
7/23White Sox (Away)Johnny Cueto+100Win
7/14Tigers (Home)Eduardo Rodriguez-230Win
7/9Royals (Away)Jonathan Heasley-139Win
7/3Yankees (Home)Jordan Montgomery+145Win

Betting Market Analysis

Per the table, McKenzie’s opening odds (-135) for this game are noteworthy, as it’s against a team that attracts its fair share of credit in the market despite its inconsistent play.

Although the White Sox possess a bottom-five run value collectively against the four-seam fastball — McKenzie’s primary pitch type (57.4%) — there’s little to no value in his price tag, along with his potential to regress. Keep in mind, Cleveland’s ML odds are equivalent to the implied probability of 57.4% — a bit too high, partly because his opponent’s hard hit rate is surging in the wrong direction.

Chicago could even receive an offensive boost with Luis Robert, who’s only played in eight games since the All-Star break because of blurred vision and a wrist injury, possibly back in the lineup. The budding center fielder owns career highs in contact rate (74.5%) and strikeout rate (18.4%), respectively.

Related: 2022 World Series Odds

Lynn Bouncing Back

On the flip side, veteran Lance Lynn appears to be finally rounding into form after returning from right knee surgery on June 13. The 35-year-old has delivered a 3.50 ERA to go along with a 3.23 FIP in his last three starts — albeit against the Royals and Tigers.

Therefore, he’s pitched slightly more efficiently than his traditional metrics indicate.

It’s no coincidence that his average pitch velocity has risen on each of his three most-utilized hurls (four-seam fastball, cutter, sinker) amid that span. Lynn’s fastball (48.7%) and cutter usage (26.6%) have both increased this month, too, indicating that he’s made an adjustment.

To make matters worse for the Guardians, they’ve manufactured a bottom-10 run value (via FanGraphs) against each of those pitches. Expect Lynn to continue to enhance his overall numbers in this one.

MLB Betting Pick

Unsurprisingly, I’m backing the White Sox moneyline, especially since their top-10 bullpen should be well-rested. If you choose to do the same, bet it down to +105.

Best Available Line: TheLines’ MLB odds comparison tool
Eli’s Bet:

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Eli Hershkovich Avatar
Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich