Trying to make sense of high total in Minnesota

May 13, 2019 7:44 AM

Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins

Over/Under: 9

First pitch: 4:40 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Tyler Skaggs (3-3, 4.70 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (6-1, 2.53 ERA)

It’s not common to see a Berrios game in Minnesota draw an over/under line as high as 9. That being said, why has this series opener between the Angels and Twins been tagged with such an exorbitant total?

Of course, there’s Berrios, the ace of the Twins pitching staff. The 24-year-old has been having another strong campaign thus far, as evident in his 6-1 record, 2.53 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He’s also been very consistent, pitching his club into the seventh inning or deeper in all eight starts.

But the jarring thing concerning this over/under is that it’s a home assignment for the 2018 All-Star. In his four seasons in the big leagues, Berrios has been notably better at home, notching an outstanding 22-10 record to go with a 3.43 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 37 career starts (and one relief appearance) at Target Field. By comparison, he’s 13-17 with a 5.05 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 42 road starts lifetime.

That’s a significant difference and it goes beyond that. Opponents have hit below the Mendoza Line (.199) against Berrios when he’s on the hill in Minnesota, whereas that mark sits nearly 50 points higher (.248) when he’s away from home. Additionally, he’s only allowed 16 homers at Target Field compared to 43 (!) on the road.

And it’s not like Berrios is facing some slouch tonight. Perhaps the oddsmakers aren’t paying close attention to him but prior to his last outing, Skaggs was actually looking like the Angels’ best pitcher in the early going.

Yes, he did get bashed for eight runs (seven earned) in 4.2 innings by the Detroit Tigers his last time out. But before that, the left-hander yielded only two runs or fewer in four of five starts.

Skaggs is actually a quality pitcher -- he just has never been able to break out since debuting in 2012 because of constant injuries. Last year, in fact, was the first time he even reached 20 starts in a season. And he was solid in finishing with a respectable 4.02 ERA.

More likely than not, this over/under won’t remain at its current number. Thus, you’ll want to get this bet in as soon as you can. Skaggs’ bounce-back effort combined with the usual home performance from Berrios should give under bettors enough room to work with here. Play: UNDER 9 (-115)

Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Giants Under 7.5 (loss)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 24-20-1, +1.6 units

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

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