The San Diego Padres are in hot pursuit of a championship, and will seek to extend their current winning streak to four against the Los Angeles Angels in Thursday's interleague meeting.
This all-California matchup is lopsided on paper, yet it's never wise to count out the Angels on any given night. They have plenty of star power on offense, led by franchise cornerstone Mike Trout.
Proceed further for the remainder of abe Insights' betting preview, which features salient statistics, breakdowns of the essential lines and how they should trend, and the best odds available from all major sportsbooks.
Date: Thursday, September 3
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports San Diego; FOX Sports West
Implied Probabilities: Padres 58%; Angels 43%
Spread: SD -1.5 (+110); LAA +1.5 (-122)
Moneyline: SD -139; LAA +135
Padres general manager A.J. Preller was wheeling and dealing around MLB's trade deadline, and among the numerous transactions, by far the most notable was landing former Cleveland ace Mike Clevinger.
The 24-year-old pitcher is slated to make his San Diego debut on Thursday. It just so happens the Angels were the team to initially draft Clevinger in 2011 before trading him. Ouch. First to the mound for L.A. will be southpaw Andrew Heaney, who has a 4.62 ERA this year en route to a 2-2 record across seven starts.
124 vs. 102: San Diego leads MLB in the comprehensive batting category of Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). Meanwhile, the Angels are more in the league's middle tier, ranking tied for 15th in this category.
4.96 vs. 4.54: In Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), Los Angeles' relievers rank fourth-worst in MLB, which is the higher set of digits. The Pads aren't a ton better, yet their 17th-place spot has gotten them by thus far.
3.8 vs. -8.7: Part of the reason for the Halos' struggles is their woeful defense, which ranks 29th out of 30 teams in Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games. This is another area San Diego has the significant edge, ranking ninth in all of baseball.
There really aren't many holes to poke in this Padres team. Their lineup features a ton of threats between hitters like Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Jake Cronenworth, who all boast batting averages over .300.
Los Angeles has similar talent on paper and made a big-time acquisition this past offseason by bringing aboard Anthony Rendon. Unfortunately, it's just not translating to the field, resulting in yet another deflating 2020 campaign and what looks like an additional lost year of Trout's prime.
Facing Clevinger isn't going to lift spirits in the Angels' clubhouse either. Making matters worse, ex-LA catcher Jason Castro was one of the players San Diego traded for, and in Wednesday's 11-4 Padres victory, he socked a two-run double to spark an eight-run eighth inning.
To circle back to the Pads' new pitcher, though: as FanGraphs illustrates, what makes Clevinger so tough to hit is his deep arsenal of pitches. This year, he's thrown a 95 mph average fastball 40.9% of the time, with 25.3/12.8/14.4 splits for his slider, changeup and curveball. Los Angeles may need a minor miracle to pull out a win tonight.
San Diego's run line is almost at even money, so its odds to win outright are rather generous in that context. This should cause the vast majority of wagers to skew toward the Padres moneyline and spread.
Clevinger is going to make it difficult for the Angels to get on the board, but the Pads should hold up their end in terms of plating plenty of runs. Thus, expect run total bets to slightly trend on the side of the Over.
Note: Odds current as of 1:35 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 3.
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