It’s been the longest drought of the year without professional sports on tap for online sports betting, and with tonight’s Game 1 of the New York Yankees (52-33, 25-16 home) vs. Los Angeles Angels (48-38, 23-20 away) series, the betting is on and popping again for Major League Baseball starting with one of the top series taking place coming off the All-Star Break. Get set tonight for your wagers on a fantastic showdown as the Angels’ C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA) faces off against Hiroki Kuroda, and two of the American League’s top hitting units collide head-to-head at Yankee Stadium with game time set for just after 7:05 PM ET.
Taking a look first and foremost at the pitching match-up set for this evening’s showdown, C.J. Wilson and Hiroki Kuroda will certainly make a tough time for both the Yankees and Angels hitters, based on their recent form. Wilson, although coming off a 3-2 loss heading into the All-Star break (7 innings, 3 runs), has otherwise been magnificent. Prior to that loss against Baltimore, he’d won 5 straight decisions, and the Angels won 8 straight games in which he’d pitched in. Against New York this season, Wilson had a fine outing, going 6 innings while giving up just 1 run in a 7-1 Angels victory. Things look even better for Wilson considering his road form this season, where he’s compiled a 6-2 record with a 2.01 ERA, as opponents have hit just .187 against him. Though Wilson’s longer term record of 0-2 with a 4.23 ERA against New York in the three years prior to 2012 seem to point to a possibility of the Yankees having success against him tonight (as does the fact that the Yankees are an AL-best 18-11 against lefties this season), with rest during the All-Star break, don’t expect much of a fall-off for C.J. Wilson tonight.
Hiroki Kuroda on the other hand has had a solid resurgence in form this season, after a somewhat sluggish start. Arguably Kuroda was one of the key ingredients in the Yankees’ June run, compiling two quality wins during their 10-game winning streak, but like Wilson he’ll be trying to bounce back from one of his weaker performances on the season. In this has outing at Boston, Kuroda was roughed up for 6 runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work, but if there’s a positive note, he managed 8 runs of support, and didn’t take a loss in the outing. Also positive for Kuroda, is that in his lone start against the Angels back on April 13th at home, he was simply superb, throwing 8 innings of shutout baseball while giving up just 5 hits. It’s certainly true that the Angels’ bats are clicking into a much higher gear ahead of this outing, but with the All-Star break likely to find hitters a little sluggish coming into the first game back from a full week’s break, Kuroda may have an advantage once again against the hot bats of the Los Angeles Angels.
Speaking of the hot Angels bats, they certainly haven’t had much career success against Kuroda, collectively posting a .157 lifetime average against the right-hander from Osaka, Japan. In fact, no hitter in the Angels line-up has managed an average better than .286 (Peter Bourjos and Maicer Izturis are both 2-for-7), and the entire lineup has produced just 4 RBIs in 89 collective at-bats. However, there are plenty of Angels’ bats that could come alive, and have had success against the Yankees in general, including Mark Trumbo, who is 9-for-18 with 4 home runs and 7 RBIs in 5 games facing them. Mike Trout will be another Angels hitter to watch for, as he hasn’t yet faced Kuroda or the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and is hitting .341 on the season to lead the American League. As a rookie. This 20 year-old kid could create some problems for Kuroda tonight, as he’s coming in hot batting .385 with 4 homers and 8 RBI in just 8 games played in July. As usual, one other big bat in the Los Angeles lineup to watch for is that of Albert Pujols, who likes hitting against Yankee pitching (.385, 10-for-26). If anyone is due for a breakout in this series, it’s Pujols, who hasn’t had a multi-hit game in the last 8 games. If Kuroda doesn’t keep the ball down tonight, King Albert could find himself as one of the top producers in the game.
For the Yankees on the other hand, the resurgence of Derek Jeter will be key to their success in this series, and against C.J. Wilson. Hitting .308 for the season, Jeter has gotten his groove back as a key hitter in the Yankees’ lineup, and has roughed up C.J. Wilson with a .389 average against him (7-for-18) during his career. With 5 multi-hit performances in his last 6 games (12-for-28 during that stretch), and him hitting .381 against left-handed pitching this season, it will be interesting to see whether Jeter can shake off his struggles at home with a favorable match-up (he’s hitting just .259 at home vs. .351 away this year). Another key player to watch out for on New York’s side is Robinson Cano, who is 7-for-20 against Wilson lifetime, and comes into today’s game on a 15-game hitting streak. He’s batting .364 for the month of July, and looks ready to keep his progress going strong. With both Alex Rodriguez (1-for-16) and Curtis Granderson (2-for-11) both struggling against Wilson, look for Cano and Jeter to play a huge role in Game 1 tonight for the Yankees.
Betting Lines for New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels at TopBet sportsbook.
The New York Yankees, come into tonight’s match-up as the favored team at home, getting -134 odds to win straight up on the money line. The visiting LA Angels will be +124 underdogs, mostly due to New York’s strong record against starting lefty pitching, and their strong form heading back home (winning 4 out of the last 5 games, all on the road). Despite LA’s recent falling off on the road (they’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games away from Anaheim), they could still be a very strong pick as underdogs if you’re feeling a little risky today.
Against the spread, the Yankees will need to cover 1.5 runs as favorites, to earn spread pickers +150 odds on their wagers. With a tight pitching duel, the odds on Los Angeles are higher for them to stay inside 1.5 runs, with -170 odds taking the away Angels tonight against the spread.
In perhaps the most eye-catching betting line tonight, the total runs on the over/under stands at 9, almost baiting us to take the under wager here. With the quality of these two pitchers and some undoubted sluggishness after the All-Star break from both offenses, there is a great chance that this match-up could stay under the mark tonight. With the better odds going under (-105 vs. -115 for over bets), this is perhaps just too tempting to pass up. Let’s hope we’re right in backing pitching over hitting tonight in this solid duel to bring us back into the 2nd half of the MLB season!