MLB Best Bets Today | Odds, Picks for Cardinals vs Pirates, Nationals vs Yankees, More (Tuesday, August 22)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Joey Meneses.
It's another full Tuesday in Major League Baseball with all 30 teams in action and all 15 games taking place under the lights.
Our MLB analysts are looking in three spots in particular for value, with picks on Cubs vs. Tigers, Cardinals vs. Pirates and Nationals vs. Yankees.
Here are our best bets from the MLB slate on Tuesday, August 22.
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.
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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.
Cubs vs. Tigers
By Tony Sartori
Right-hander Reese Olson takes the mound for Detroit this evening and could be a good fade candidate in this matchup.
It has been a difficult rookie campaign for the right-hander, who is 2-5 with a 4.83 ERA and 1.23 WHIP through 14 appearances. His underlying metrics suggest that positive regression is unlikely as Olson ranks in the 22nd percentile or lower in average exit velocity, xERA/xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and Barrel%.
He should particularly struggle against the red-hot Cubs. Entering this matchup amid a 22-9 stretch, Chicago is playing its best ball of the year as it continues to lean on its well-rounded and strong lineup.
The Cubs rank in the Top 10 of the league in runs scored per game, hits per game, BA, SLG and OPS. Not only does Chicago feature the much stronger lineup, but it also boasts a stronger starting pitcher.
While left-hander Drew Smyly is not very good, he paces Olson in average exit velocity, xERA/xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and Barrel%. With the better lineup and starting pitcher, back the hotter team to take care of business once again as short road favorites.
Cardinals vs. Pirates
By Kevin Rogers
The Pirates rolled past the Cardinals 11-1 Monday night to improve to 6-2 against St. Louis this season.
Adam Wainwright has put up solid numbers in his career against Pittsburgh, but this is a different season for the veteran. Wainwright is winless in his last four starts overall, while giving up 22 runs in a 16-inning span.
Johan Oviedo was traded from the Cardinals to the Pirates last season and shut down his former team at Busch Stadium earlier this season with 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
Oviedo doesn’t own great career numbers (10 wins in 34 career decisions), but the Pirates are 4-2-2 in their last eight home games in the first five innings.
The Cardinals are mired in a 1-5 slump in the last six games in the first five innings, while scoring one run or fewer in all five losses.
In spite of Wainwright being listed as an underdog here, it’s tough to make a case for him with St. Louis compiling a 1-7 record in his last eight starts in the first five innings.
Let’s back Pittsburgh in the first five innings tonight up to -140.
Nationals vs. Yankees
By D.J. James
Carlos Rodón’s Yankees tenure has been less than ideal. After returning from the injured list, he carries a 7.33 ERA and 5.40 xERA into this start against the Nationals. His Barrel Rate is over 10% and his Average Exit Velocity is 92.9 mph with a Hard Hit Rate of 44.9%. He has pitched in only six games, but he has four starts of allowing four or more runs.
Josiah Gray has a 3.96 ERA against a 4.72 xERA, so negative regression would be expected. However, he has an 8% Barrel Rate, 87.5 mph Average Exit Velocity, and a 35.9% Hard Hit Rate. He is walking more than 10% of hitters, but thankfully for him, the Yankees have not hit right-handed pitching well in August.
The Yanks may own a 12.3% walk rate, but if Gray can command the strike zone, they are doomed. They own a 26.6% strikeout rate this month with a .641 OPS and 82 wRC+ off of righties.
Meanwhile, the Nats have hit lefties well. They have a 8.2% walk rate, 16.4% strikeout rate, and .763 OPS in August off of southpaws. Their wRC+ is also 106.
Shockingly, Washington has a bullpen xFIP of 3.99 this month, while New York’s is 4.12.
If Gray can limit the walks in this game, he should go deep and keep the Yankees’ lineup in check. Look for Rodón’s struggles to continue once more. Take the Nats to +120.