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Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 1:10 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: John Means (10-10, 3.47 ERA) vs. Tyler Alexander (0-3, 5.40 ERA)

Kicking off MLB’s penultimate week of the regular season, it will be a matchup of left-handers from the two worst teams in the league duking it out in this series finale.

While that scenario alone might hinder people from even betting it at all, I think otherwise in believing this could be a spot that can be profited on.

One, let’s set the stage: it’s an afternoon game with only two weeks remaining between clubs that are each more than 50 games (!!) below .500. The Tigers are actually 60 games under the .500 mark, even flirting with the same ineptitude of the 2003 Tigers squad that lost an absurd 119 games (shout out to Nate Cornejo and Wilfredo Ledezma from that team).

More important than lineups that might not be fully locked in (not to mention downgraded if some regular hitters are sitting in this early affair) is having two starters who indeed are. That certainly appears to be the case for Means, who was Baltimore’s lone representative in the All-Star Game, remember.

Though Means struggled coming out of the break, he appears to have rediscovered his form that got him to the Midsummer Classic. The rookie southpaw has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his last four outings, notching a quality start in all. Within that span, he also recorded 21 strikeouts compared to only one walk across 27 innings.

A visit to a pitcher-friendly environment for a meeting with the American League’s lowest-scoring offense gives Means a favorable opportunity to keep it going. Recognizing that he’s “come back and feel like I’m back in a normal self,” I like idea of backing the AL Rookie of the Year Award candidate in this spot as he tries to close out his freshman campaign strong.

On the other side, we have a less experienced rookie in Alexander, making only his sixth career start. But he’s also made five relief appearances and I get the sense he prefers starting.

Alexander has been going well lately, too, yielding four runs in his latest four appearances out of the bullpen — which mostly were of the long-relief variety.

I’ve had a good beat on this guy since first coming up, winning both of my previous over/under bets involving the youngster. Thus, I’ll trust Alexander to come through as he tries to establish himself and leave a fine lasting impression to management going into the offseason. Play: UNDER 9 (-110)

Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (WIN)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 83-73-10, +0.6 unit

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

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