MLB Best Bets Today | Odds, Picks for Phillies vs Padres, Astros vs Rangers, More (Tuesday, September 5)
Pictured: Nick Castellanos celebrates with Bryce Harper. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
We've got a full Tuesday in Major League Baseball with all 30 teams in action and all 15 games taking place under the lights tonight.
With playoff races heating up, our analysts are looking all over the place for value, and have found some in four games in particular. Those include Cardinals vs. Braves, White Sox vs. Royals, Astros vs. Rangers and Phillies vs. Padres.
Here are our MLB best bets from the slate on Tuesday, September 5.
MLB Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Cardinals vs. Braves
By Tony Sartori
We got a big number for today's total between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, but I still like the Over as long as it stays at 10.5 or lower.
Right-hander Michael Soroka takes the mound for Atlanta and should be a good fade candidate. With the shoulder injury to Kyle Wright, the Braves recalled Soroka from Triple-A, and they are likely hoping it is only a quick stint.
The right-hander has struggled when given an opportunity in MLB this season, posting a 5.52 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in six appearances. His underlying metrics suggest that positive regression is unlikely as Soroka owns a 5.52 xERA and .278 xBA.
While it has been a disappointing campaign for the Cardinals, the hitting has certainly not been the issue as they rank in the top 12 in hits per game, BA, SLG, OPS and home runs. However, that has not been the case in the pitching department, which is likely to be an issue once again in this matchup as right-hander Miles Mikolas takes the mound for St. Louis.
It has been a tough year for the veteran hurler, who is 6-10 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. His analytics suggest that even further regression is likely as Mikolas possesses a 4.97 xERA and .284 xBA.
This further regression is likely to come to fruition against the powerhouse Braves, who boast the best lineup in baseball. Atlanta ranks first in the league in runs scored per game, hits per game, BA, SLG, OPS and home runs.
Pick: Over 10.5 (-104)
White Sox vs. Royals
By Kevin Rogers
The White Sox were blown out by the Royals, 12-1, on Monday to drop their fourth straight game. Chicago will look to save some face tonight as it sends out Dylan Cease to the mound.
Cease allowed four runs in the first inning at Baltimore his last time out, but the Sox helped out the righty by scoring seven unanswered runs and pulling out a 10-5 win.
The last time Cease faced the Royals in Kansas City back in early May, the White Sox lost as a -125 road favorite, 12-5, as he yielded seven runs in five innings.
Kansas City led 12-0 after five innings on Monday, but the Royals have not led through five innings in back-to-back games since August 2nd and 3rd.
Also, the Royals own an 0-15-1 record since August 12 in the first five innings when allowing at least one run. In this span, Kansas City is 5-0 when holding its opponent scoreless through five, so basically, the Royals need an elite pitching performance to lead at the halfway point.
Brady Singer is back from paternity leave for the Royals, and Kansas City is 6-2-2 in his past 10 home starts through five innings.
Let’s back the White Sox here in the first five innings at +104 at FanDuel. Play this down to +100.
Pick: White Sox F5 ML (+104)
Astros vs. Rangers
Framber Valdez is a pitcher who is on the fade list. He has overperformed this season with his ERA sitting at 3.38 and his xERA up at 4.19. Valdez has a few things working against him. First, his groundball rate is down over 10% from last year, which means his sinker is just not as effective as it has been in the past.
His sinker this season is allowing a .370 xwOBA, along with having a Stuff+ rating of 98. Another reason why you’ve seen his struggle is his two other secondary pitches after his curveball, which are his cutter and changeup, have seen a dip in the Stuff+ rating and have seen the xwOBA rise quite significantly from last year.
Valdez also has not been pitching great as of late. In both July and August his xFIP was over four and in four of his last five starts his xFIP has been above 4.5. He’s faced the Rangers twice this season and given up a combined 11 runs in those two starts.
Even if they haven’t been hitting the ball well as of late, the Rangers still have a .351 wOBA against lefties, which is third in MLB, along with a .342 xwOBA against left-handed sinkers.
Nathan Eovaldi is making his first start off of the IL and it’s unclear if he is going to be on a pitch count or not.
Eovaldi is not pitching as well as his 2.69 ERA indicates, but a 3.51 xERA is still very impressive. What he has done a really good job of this season is limiting home runs. In the past, especially with the Red Sox, his HR/9 would be well over 1.5, but this season he’s limited it to 0.58, which shows the benefit of playing in a pitcher-friendly park.
Houston has been red-hot offensively lately, but Eovaldi went seven scoreless in their one meeting in early July.
I have the Rangers projected at -118, so I like the value on them at +100.
Pick: Rangers ML (+100)
Phillies vs. Padres
By D.J. James
Pedro Ávila has turned into a nice, reliable arm for the San Diego Padres, but he has to go up against one of the hottest hitting teams in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Fightin’ Phils will throw their trade deadline acquisition, Michael Lorenzen against San Diego.
As good as Ávila has been, he's yet to go more than 4 2/3 innings in any start. He has a 2.67 ERA against a 3.58 xERA; his Barrel Rate is 4.8% with an Average Exit Velocity of 88.5 mph and Hard Hit Rate of 42.2%. Even if he excels, the Padres' bullpen could feel a strain in this game.
Lorenzen has a 3.73 ERA against a 4.24 xERA. His Barrel Rate is 7.6%, Average Exit Velocity is 90.2 mph, and he has a Hard Hit Rate of 40.5%.
Over the last two weeks, the Phillies have a 154 wRC+ and .972 OPS off of right-handers. They own an 8.3% walk rate and 20.1% strikeout rate, as well. In that same timeframe, the Padres have a 111 wRC+ and .752 OPS. Their walk rate is 8% and strikeout rate is 19.8%.
In relief, the Phillies also hold an edge with a 3.86 xFIP, 28.7% strikeout rate, and 9.8% walk rate since August 21. In that timeframe, San Diego holds a 4.35 xFIP, 23% strikeout rate, and 8.9% walk rate. The major difference is Philly has a 64.2% LOB percentage, while San Diego has a 76.3% LOB percentage, so they've been a bit lucky of late.
The Phillies have an edge in nearly every facet of this game. Take them to -130.