BET: Guardians Extend Division Lead Over White Sox On Friday

Things are heating up in the AL Central. But, I'm BETTING the CLEVELAND GUARDIANS (-132) to pad their lead in the division at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The 1st-place Cleveland Guardians (63-55) host the 3rd-place Chicago White Sox (61-58) Friday at Progressive Field for the start of a 3-game set. There's a tight, 3-way race for the AL Central featuring the Guardians (1st), Minnesota Twins (2nd) and White Sox (3rd).

Both teams are trending in the right direction but the Guardians have a 2.5-game lead over the White Sox. Cleveland is 7-3 in the last 10 games and had a miraculous victory vs. the Detroit Tigers Thursday.

However, I'm backing the Guardians in this spot because they have a 3-phase edge over the White Sox. The Guardians have the better starter, bullpen and lineup in this spot.

Cleveland is giving RHP Triston McKenzie (8-9, 3.14 ERA) the start Friday. Chicago is sending RHP Lance Lynn (3-5, 5.62 ERA) to the mound. Lynn was an All-Star in Chicago's division-winning campaign in 2021 but has regressed significantly this year.

Lynn's ERA is nearly 3 runs higher vs. last season (2.69 ERA in 2021). His hard-hit rate, K% and barrel rate have all worsened year over year per Statcast. Four of Lynn's six-pitch arsenal have a plus-run value (Statcast). And Guardians All-Star 3B Jose Ramirez rakes Lynn. Ramirez has a .348 batting average and .826 slugging percentage with 4 home runs in 28 plate appearances vs. Lynn.

On the other hand, McKenzie has nastier stuff with one of the most effective 4-seam fastballs in the game. McKenzie's command has improved since last season and is dealing. McKenzie has a 2.09 ERA in his last 7 outings with 4 "quality starts".

Also, Lynn has sucked on the road and McKenzie pitches better at home. Lynn is 0-3 in 5 road starts this year with a 7.46 ERA (4.46 home ERA) and 1.62 WHIP (1.02 home WHIP). While McKenzie is 4-2 in 8 home starts with a 2.81 ERA (3.35 road ERA) and 0.88 WHIP (1.02 road WHIP).

Furthermore, Cleveland's bullpen is far more reliable than Chicago's. The Guardians relievers have a better ERA, outside-the-zone-swing rate and swinging-strike rate, according to FanGraphs. The White Sox's bullpen is taxed and has a 5.86 ERA in the last two weeks.

Finally, Cleveland's lineup is more productive vs. right-handed pitching. The Guardians rank 9th in wRC+ (107), 10th in wOBA (.317) and 7th in BB/K rate (0.42) against righties, per FanGraphs. Whereas the White Sox have a 97 wRC+ (ranked 17th), .302 wOBA (22nd) and a 0.29 BB/K rate (28th).

Run over to DraftKings Sportsbook and GET DOWN on the CLEVELAND GUARDIANS (-135) to beat the White Sox.


Written by
Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events. Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB. Clark graduated from St. John University.