MLB Over/Under Bet: How will Pena follow up no-hitter?

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Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 7:07 p.m. PT

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.23 ERA) vs. Felix Peña (7-2, 4.32 ERA)

It isn’t often that a total involving Cole gets this high but that’s what has been presented for bettors in the third meeting of this four-game set between these two American League West division rivals.

And it’s probably a foolish call on the part of the linesmakers. Cole, even after shifting to the AL last year, continues to be a model of consistency with Houston. He’s 9-5 with a 3.23 ERA and was named an All-Star for his usual strong efforts.

Most notable, the former Pittsburgh Pirate ace is registering a career-best strikeout rate with 13.43 K/9 — which actually tops everyone else in baseball.

Not only that, Cole also ranks fourth in the league in WHIP (1.03) and batting average against (.203). It’s worth remembering he held opponents to a career-best .198 average in his first season as an Astro, the AL’s second-lowest mark.

Cole has had success against the Angels, being 4-1 in seven career starts with a 3.02 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. His job could be much easier if superstar Mike Trout (calf) remains out of the lineup. Not just because Trout is arguably the best player in the game but also due to how the other key Halos hitters — particularly Justin Bour, Kole Calhoun, David Fletcher, Shinsei Ohtani, Albert Pujols, Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton — are a combined 19-for-86 (.221) off Cole with 30 K’s.

Surprisingly, there’s as much reason to be excited about the other starting pitcher in this affair to help reel in this under. That would be Peña, who is coming off an emotionally-charged and memorable performance in which he churned out the final seven innings of a no-hitter in the team’s first home game following the passing of late teammate Tyler Skaggs.

Peña really showed this type of potential a season ago in his first campaign working as a starter. Despite only finishing 3-5 in 17 starts, he did post a respectable 4.00 ERA and 83-28 K/BB ratio across 90 innings. In his second year in LA, Peña has definitely progressed, as evident in the fact that he’s impressively holding opposing batting orders to a .212 average.

Like his counterpart, Peña also has a good track record when dealing with tonight’s opponent, albeit in a smaller sample size. Nonetheless, he’s logged a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in three games (two starts) against the Astros. Play: UNDER 9 (-120)

Yesterday’s Result: Mets-Twins Under 10 (WIN)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 53-45-8, +2.75 units

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

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