MLB Over/Under Bet: Can Ponce de Leon keep up with Cole?

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Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 4:15 p.m. PT

TV: FS1

Probable pitchers: Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03 ERA) vs. Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 2.82 ERA)

When handicapping a game involving Cole on the mound, you can usually pencil in a strong performance from the American League Cy Young Award candidate.

After arguably his best campaign to date a year ago in his first season with the Astros, Cole is matching that performance in 2019. Not only is he 11-5 with a 3.03 ERA, the former Pittsburgh Pirate is leading baseball in strikeout rate with 13.50 K/9 — even topping his career-best mark from last season when he logged 12.40 K/9.

In addition, Cole’s maintained the fifth-lowest batting average against (.204) in all of baseball. Remarkably, that’s actually higher than the .198 average opponents mustered off Cole last year.

What’s so great about Cole is that he’s so consistent. In all but three of his 21 starts, he’s gone at least six strong, and in the process, he’s registered a 77 percent quality-start rate, tied for fourth-best in the bigs. So, obviously, this is all very good for an over/under as high as 8.5, especially with it being in an National League park.

Ponce de Leon has the tough task of going toe-to-toe with Cole tonight, and though he is inexperienced, this 27-year-old looks polished more than most in their second Major League season.

The Cardinals’ right-hander was solid when first summoned last season, posting a 2.73 ERA in 11 games (four starts) while impressively containing opponents to a .205 batting average. This year, he’s actually holding hitters below the Mendoza Line — .194, to be specific — and carries a smooth 2.82 ERA.

This is someone that is not only going to stick at this level, but have success as well. Going opposite someone as dominant as Cole, all under bettors really need is for Ponce de Leon to not get drilled. And based on how he’s fared, it looks like he can be leaned upon for such an effort. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-120)

Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Athletics Under 9 (WIN)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 59-48-9, +5.4 units

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

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