MLB Best Bets Today | Picks, Odds for Red Sox vs Astros, Cubs vs Tigers, More (Monday, August 21)

MLB Best Bets Today | Picks, Odds for Red Sox vs Astros, Cubs vs Tigers, More (Monday, August 21) article feature image

Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Verdugo.

It's a lighter day in Major League Baseball on this Monday, with 20 of the 30 teams in action and 10 games all taking place this evening.

Our analysts have keyed in on three of those games in particular, with betting recommendations on Cubs vs. Tigers, Red Sox vs. Astros and Reds vs. Angels.

Here are our best bets from the MLB slate on Monday, August 21.

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.

GameTime (ET)Pick
6:40 p.m. ET
8:10 p.m. ET
9:38 p.m. ET
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

Monday, August 21
6:40 p.m. ET ET
Cubs ML (-117)

By Tony Sartori

Right-hander Alex Faedo takes the mound for Detroit this evening and could be a good fade candidate in this matchup.

It has been a rocky sophomore campaign for the right-hander, who is 2-4 with a 5.16 ERA through nine starts. The results have been extremely volatile since returning to the rotation in July.

In his four starts since returning to the rotation, Faedo put together two scoreless starts but also surrendered 10 total runs over the other two outings. While it remains to be seen which side of Faedo we get in this contest, I am wagering that we will see the weaker side given that he is going against a red-hot Chicago lineup.

Entering this matchup amid a 21-9 stretch, the Cubs are playing their best ball of the year as they continue to lean on their well-rounded and strong lineup. Chicago ranks in the Top 10 of the league in runs scored per game, hits per game, BA, SLG and OPS.

Right-hander Javier Assad joined the Cubs' starting rotation this month after spending the majority of his sophomore campaign coming out of the bullpen.

Over his past two starts since returning to a starting role, Assad boasts a 2.08 ERA. Chicago won each of those two games.

Pick: Cubs ML (-117)

Red Sox vs. Astros

Monday, August 21
8:10 p.m. ET ET
Red Sox F5 ML (+102)

By Brad Cunningham

Should James Paxton really be an underdog versus Cristian Javier? Paxton through 16 starts has a very similar ERA to his expected metrics, sitting around 3.40.

What he’s done a fantastic job of is dominating with his secondary pitches. He throws his fastball over 55% of the time, but over the years he has lost a lot of velocity on it. However, his main two offspeed pitches of cutter and curveball both are generating a whiff rate over 34% and are allowing a xwOBA under .280.

He’s been really good with his command, as his Location+ rating is 102, so he will make life difficult on a Astros lineup that does hit left-handed pitching well but is very average against left-handed curveballs and cutters.

Things are not going well for Javier. He has gone nine straight starts of allowing at least two runs. The problems for him have been well identified in the fact that he has only two pitches — a fastball and a slider — and the effectiveness of those two pitches have gone down significantly. Javier now only has a Stuff+ rating of 100 and a Pitching+ rating below 100.

His main problem is he cannot get lefties out. He’s allowing only a .270 wOBA to righties, but a .354 wOBA to lefties. The Red Sox have the sixth-best wOBA against right-handed pitching and have six left-handed bats in their lineup.

I have the Red Sox projected as -118 favorites for the first five innings, so I like the value on them at +102.

Pick: Red Sox F5 ML (+102)

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By Kevin Rogers

The Red Sox travel down to Houston after pulling off a three-game sweep of the stumbling Yankees this past weekend in the Bronx.

The Astros look to rebound after they were swept by the Mariners at home. Houston has now lost four straight games at Minute Maid Park.

Boston has posted a solid 9-3-2 mark in its last 14 road series openers in the first five innings, while scoring 12 runs in the last two opportunities in this situation.

James Paxton takes the mound for the Sox tonight, and Boston is 2-0-1 in his three starts as a road underdog in the first five innings. Paxton is coming off a loss at Washington his last time out as a -150 road favorite, but the southpaw has allowed two runs or less in four of his previous five starts overall.

Houston owns a dreadful 1-6 record the last seven games in the first five innings, while compiling a 2-12-4 mark the last 18 games in the first five innings in series openers.

Cristian Javier heads to the hill for Houston, and the Astros have led through five innings only once in his past six starts.

Let’s back the Red Sox in the first five innings at +100 or better.

Pick: Red Sox F5 ML (+102)

Reds vs. Angels

Monday, August 21
9:38 p.m. ET ET
Angels ML (-132)

Editor's Note: This game has been postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

By Kenny Ducey

While this line may feel like bait, I think it’s only fair that we give Lucas Giolito another chance.

The righty has struggled mightily since putting on an Angels uniform, posting a dreadful 8.14 ERA in four starts. While that sounds pretty damning, you have to consider that Giolito actually recorded a quality start with seven strikeouts against the Giants and was shelled by the Blue Jays, Braves and Rangers – three of the best offenses in baseball.

The Reds have hit just .227 since the All-Star break with an 81 wRC+, but worst of all they’ve struck out in an extremely poor 27.5% of plate appearances.

As we know from years of watching Giolito, he’s been victimized by hard-hit balls for his entire career but has managed to pitch around them with elite strikeout numbers. While he’s had another down year in that department, the Reds should give him a ton of help considering their very poor plate discipline numbers.

That’s enough for me to take the Angels here as a short favorite. Graham Ashcraft has looked better lately, but aside from his start against the Dodgers he’s faced some of the worst offenses in baseball, in stark contrast to what Giolito’s been dealing with.

Ashcraft’s xBA for the last two months still sits around .250 with poor strikeout and walk numbers, so a competent Angels offense should be able to break through here.

Pick: Angels ML (-132)

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