Giants vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||2:05 p.m. ET|
The Texas Rangers host the San Francisco Giants in an interleague matchup on Wednesday. Currently, the Giants have a 38-22 record, which is the best in baseball. In contrast, the Rangers have a 23-39 record, good enough for second worst in the American League.
Despite San Francisco having a much better year than Texas, both sides have opened at -108 odds for an essentially Pick’em game.
This is because San Francisco is relying on an “opener” to start the game. After two to three innings of Zack Littell as an opener, the Giants are likely relying on Sam Long, who is expected to make his Major League debut as a bulk reliever.
Opposing San Francisco’s makeshift pitching crew is Texas pitcher Kyle Gibson. Despite the mediocrity from the Rangers’ pitching staff, Gibson is having an excellent year. The question is if Texas’ edge in starting pitching is enough to get the win.
Giants Implementing Unique Pitching Approach in Game
One reason why the Giants have done so well this season is due to several veteran starting pitchers having career years like Alex Wood and Kevin Gausman. For this game, San Francisco has injected uncertainty into the equation as it’s relying on the opener strategy.
This is when a team starts a game with a reliever, who will typically pitch for two to three innings. After the opener is relieved, a series of other relievers handle the rest of the game. The advantage of this strategy is that the rest of the starting rotation gets an extra day off and the other team does not know what to expect.
What makes using an opener less advantageous for the Giants is that they’re likely to rely on Long for the bulk of the game as a long reliever. Long, who would be making his MLB debut if he plays, has limited experience above Single-A baseball.
Before this season, Long had never pitched above that and only joined San Francisco has a minor-league free agent. In four starts in Double-A ball, Long had a 3.00 ERA and in 7 2/3 innings in Triple-A allowed no runs. It’s awfully hard to project how a prospect with limited experience will do in the big leagues and that’s why the prediction sites project Long to have an ERA between 3.89 and 4.93 this season.
Backing up the Giants’ makeshift pitching crew is a lineup averaging 4.88 runs per game, which is the third best in the National League. However, San Francisco’s lineup is due for a regression.
Currently, Giants hitters have a wRC+ of 106, meaning they should score only 6% more runs than the league average of 4.37 runs. Additionally, Buster Posey and Evan Longoria are playing much better than expected and it’s likely they regress to their preseason projections.
Gibson Having Stellar Campaign for Rangers
Unlike San Francisco, Texas has a reliable starting pitcher in Gibson. As a 33-year-old in his ninth season, Gibson is surprisingly having the best year of his career. In 11 starts, Gibson has a 4-0 record with a 2.06 ERA and a 3.86 xFIP. Most impressively, he is only allowing 0.41 home runs per nine innings in almost six innings per start.
With Gibson likely to pitch six quality innings against a strong lineup, the Giants are going to have a tough time putting runs onto the scoreboard.
Backing up Gibson is a Texas lineup that has been lackluster this season. The Rangers are averaging 3.9 runs per game, which is the eighth worst in the league. Additionally, Texas just released Khris Davis, who was having a decent season. However, according to my model, the Rangers have underperformed offensively, as I project them to score 4.33 runs in a typical game.
When there is uncertainty, as a bettor it can be a nightmare. We don’t know who will be pitching most of the game for San Francisco, but it’s likely that Long will get a significant chunk of playing time and that’s why Texas is an attractive bet.
San Francisco might be a better team than Texas, but it has the edge in pitching with Gibson on the mound. I like the Rangers at -108 and would bet them up to -120 as my top selection.
Pick: Texas ML (-108 — play up to -120)
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