It’s going to be a strange day on the diamond with a lot of things going on. The Cardinals and Reds have a suspended game to complete in the morning and early afternoon before playing their scheduled game as part of a doubleheader. The Blue Jays and Yankees play a traditional doubleheader in the afternoon. The Tigers and Indians play their regularly scheduled Saturday game in advance of a Sunday traditional doubleheader. Also, there are a lot of big favorites on the card once again, so there aren’t a lot of betting options except for ugly dogs and heavy chalk. Either way, we’ll see what value we can find on this college football-dominated Saturday.

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Boston at Tampa Bay (-110); Total: 7.5

It’s too little, too late for the Boston Red Sox, but Rick Porcello’s has started to show up. The big offseason signing, now guaranteed $20M per through 2019, has had a rough season. His command abandoned him early on and the Red Sox were not a good defensive team earlier this season. Porcello has three consecutive quality starts over his three starts back from the disabled list with a 22/3 K/BB ratio over 22.1 innings of work. He has allowed three unearned runs in those starts, so the Red Sox defense hasn’t been a whole lot of help, and he has allowed three home runs. The stuff looks sharper, though, and that’s the important thing moving forward.

Matt Moore’s return from Tommy John surgery has been ugly. The surgery has become so commonplace now that we often assume pitchers will just return to their pre-injury levels. Moore’s performance is a sobering reminder that there is no guarantee after a major procedure. Moore’s control and command have not returned. He was brought back too quickly by the organization and seemed to work out some issues in the minors, but he has allowed 28 runs in 31.1 innings at the big league level this season. As basically a strikeout per inning guy pre-surgery, he has just 20 strikeouts over his seven starts.

The Rays have a lot more to play for, but Moore has allowed four or more runs in five of his seven starts and has not pitched deeper than five innings. With Porcello throwing the ball better right now, the Red Sox are the side to take in this one. Tampa Bay has inflated their offensive totals lately against lefties, but Porcello throws right-handed and the Rays appear to need some run support to grab a win.

Detroit at Cleveland (-110); Total: 7.5

Here’s a repost of yesterday’s breakdown of the Justin Verlander vs. Cody Anderson matchup:

The Indians and Tigers played a strange game on Thursday night. Detroit had two runners ruled out at home plate after video review and 10 of the game’s 12 runs were scored in the final three-and-a-half innings. The Tigers showed some fight, which was a little bit surprising to me given their position in the standings. Will they come with that same mindset on Friday?

We know that Justin Verlander will. Mr. Kate Upton is still trying to get back to the level that he was once at. Four really awful starts skew Verlander’s numbers a little bit in his 15-start sample size. Since he was blasted in his first start out of the All-Star Break, Verlander has a 1.78 ERA and a .202/.235/.288 slash over his last nine starts. He gave up three runs over seven innings last weekend in a loss against the Indians. He has become more extreme of a fly ball pitcher as his velocity drops and he tries to reinvent himself as a pitcher. He’s also throwing more strikes and hitters are missing more in the zone than they did last season. There’s still a lot of pitchability here, even if the stuff has dropped off.

Cody Anderson is a frustrating guy to back because a lot of the results he has had this season are out of his control. What do I mean? Anderson only has 29 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of work. Either balls get hit at fielders or they don’t. He throws a lot of strikes and hasn’t walked more than two guys in a start since he was called up on June 21. This will be his fourth start since he missed time with an oblique injury in August. He’s really tough to back because you just don’t know what his batted ball luck will be that day.

You have to look Verlander or nothing in this game. Anderson shut out the Tigers over seven last start and also held the Blue Jays to two runs over six in the start prior, but he’s so BABIP-dependent that it’s worrisome to back him in his second straight start against a potent offense.

Minnesota at Chicago (AL) (-130); Total: 8

Another day where the Twins get no respect in the betting market. The White Sox are the worst team in the American League against lefties and they draw one here in Tommy Milone. I really like Jose Quintana and think he’s exceptionally underrated in the grand scheme of things, but the White Sox should never be -130 against a lefty and against a team playing for something. As mentioned yesterday, lines are generally inflated on these teams pushing for the playoffs.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m not keen on pitcher vs. team stats. The samples are too small to be significant. But, to illustrate just how bad the White Sox are against lefties, Tommy Milone can be an example. In three starts against the White Sox, Milone has thrown seven shutout, 7.2 shutout, and has allowed two runs over six innings.

The latest White Sox against lefties update: .244 (24th)/.296 (29th)/.347 (29th), .281 wOBA (30th), 75 wRC+ (30th). Jose Quintana is used to pitching with no run support, but there’s no way you can back the White Sox as home chalk against a lefty with that season-to-date performance. It’s the Twins or nothing here.

Los Angeles (NL) (-125) at Arizona; Total: 8.5

Mike Bolsinger and Rubby de la Rosa are the slated hurlers for this matchup. This is Bolsinger’s third start against his former team and he has allowed two runs over 11 innings. Again, a small sample size, so nothing to be gained from that, but you’ll hear about it, so there it is. I couldn’t really understand why Bolsinger was the odd man out from the rotation and why the Dodgers felt that Mat Latos was an upgrade to Bolsinger, though I did like that fit at the time. Bolsinger hasn’t worked deep into games, but he’s only buried the Dodgers a couple of times with really bad outings.

Rubby de la Rosa has been a disappointment in the second half. His 3.48 ERA isn’t all that indicative of how he has pitched in my estimation. The command has improved, with a 43-point drop in SLG, but the big number to me is the strikeout rate. RDLR had a 21.1 K% in the first half, which is very good. In the second half, it’s down to 15.1 percent and his walk rate has increased. His sequencing and batted ball luck are why he owns a much lower second half ERA. The Diamondbacks have a good defense, but looks can be deceiving and this one is.

I’m on Bolsinger here. RDLR has a .261 BABIP against and an 81.7 percent strand rate in the second half. He’s not pitching better. He’s getting more fortunate. Bolsinger has regularly given the Dodgers a chance to win.

San Diego at San Francisco (-190); Total: 6.5

This was a concept I discussed on Thursday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box. The Giants are done. There’s not much fight in this team. When you get teams like that in September and they have their ace on the mound, there’s a tendency to take that game off and get complacent because your staff ace can handle it. I think that puts San Francisco in the danger zone here. Ian Kennedy has pitched really well since getting over his “late Spring Training” after an injury in his first start of the season. As great as MadBum is, I really feel like the Padres win in this situation more than 35 percent of the time and that gives you line value at the +160 or +165 price on the Friars.

Other Games

Toronto at New York (AL) Game 1

St. Louis at Cincinnati

Kansas City at Baltimore

Toronto at New York (AL) Game 2

Chicago (NL) at Philadelphia

Milwaukee at Pittsburgh

Washington at Miami

New York (NL) at Atlanta

Oakland at Texas

Houston at Los Angeles (AL)

Colorado at Seattle