MLB Best Bets Today | Odds, Picks for Rays vs Angels, Diamondbacks vs Padres, More (Friday, August 18)

MLB Best Bets Today | Odds, Picks for Rays vs Angels, Diamondbacks vs Padres, More (Friday, August 18) article feature image

Rebecca Sasnett/Getty Images. Pictured: Manny Machado and Ha-Seong Kim.

Ladies and gentlemen, the weekend.

Friday has a loaded MLB slate with 16 games, including a doubleheader between the Tigers and Guardians, and Royals vs. Cubs gets us started this afternoon.

Our MLB analysts are looking late for their value plays, however, with four evening picks on Brewers vs. Rangers, Rays vs. Angels, Diamondbacks vs. Padres and Marlins vs. Dodgers.

Here are our best bets from the MLB slate on Friday, August 18th.

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
8:05 p.m. ET
9:38 p.m. ET
9:40 p.m. ET
10:10 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.

Brewers vs. Rangers

Friday, August 18
8:05 p.m. ET
Brewers ML (+110)

By D.J. James

As good as the Texas Rangers have been offensively, there are very few opportunities to get Brandon Woodruff as an underdog. His opponent will be Andrew Heaney, who definitely has some expected negative regression in the cards.

Woodruff has only started four games, but he has a 1.99 ERA and 2.71 xERA with 14 strikeouts against four walks. In two of those starts, he had to face the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, so the lineups are not exactly slouches, either.

Last year, Woodruff held a 3.05 ERA against a 3.15 xERA. In 2021, he was at a 2.56 ERA against a 3.27 xERA. He is one of MLB’s most underrated starters, so expect him to put together a solid performance.

Heaney has a 4.17 ERA against a 4.72 xERA. His Barrel Rate is nearly 11%, and his walk rate is almost 10%.

Since August 1, the Brewers have a 102 wRC+ off of lefties. They have a sub-19% strikeout rate and a .768 OPS, so this should be enough to get the job done.

Yes, the Rangers carry a 132 wRC+ off of righties in August into this game, but they have not faced a healthy Woodruff, so they will likely underperform.

Finally, the Brewers have a 4.02 xFIP in relief with multiple reliable arms under a 4.00 xFIP.

With this being the case, the Brewers are the right bet. Take them to -125 with Woodruff starting.

Pick: Brewers ML (+110)

Rays vs. Angels

Friday, August 18
9:38 p.m. ET
Angels F5 ML (-115)

By Kevin Rogers

The Angels avoided the sweep by blanking the Rangers on Wednesday night and now return home to battle Tampa Bay.

The Rays remain out west after taking two of three at San Francisco and are set to face the left-handed Tyler Anderson tonight.

Anderson doesn’t have great overall numbers (5-4 record, 5.28 ERA), but the Angels are 7-2 in his nine home starts in the first five innings. The Halos have scored four runs or more in five of those games in the first five innings, so the lineup has supported Anderson at home.

Erasmo Ramirez counters for Tampa Bay, making his second start of the season. Ramirez made a spot start at Detroit earlier this month as the Rays jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in a 10-6 victory. The right-hander lasted three innings and this looks to be another bullpen game for Tampa Bay.

The Angels have scored one run or fewer in each of their last five games in the first five innings, so they hope to turn it around tonight against Tampa Bay’s group of pitchers.

In the last three series openers, the Angels have faced San Francisco’s Logan Webb, Houston’s Justin Verlander, and Texas’ Max Scherzer, so it will feel like a reprieve tonight against Ramirez.

Let’s back the Angels in the first five innings against the Rays. I would play this to -125.

Pick: Angels F5 ML (-115)

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for MLB bettors
The best MLB betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

Diamondbacks vs. Padres

Friday, August 18
9:40 p.m. ET
Over 8.5 (-115)

By Tony Sartori

I believe this total will move to 9 before first pitch on Friday evening, but I would still rather lay more juice at 8.5 than take this over at 9 if you can find it anywhere below -135.

With housekeeping out of the way, let's look at the starting pitching matchup for this contest. Right-hander Brandon Pfaadt takes the mound for Arizona and should be a good candidate to fade.

Through 11 starts, the rookie is 0-6 with a 6.92 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. His underlying metrics suggest that positive regression is unlikely as Pfaadt ranks in the 17th percentile or lower in average exit velocity, HardHit%, xERA/xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and Barrel%.

Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Seth Lugo gets the nod for San Diego. It has been a tough campaign for Lugo, who is 4-6 with a 4.16 ERA and 1.25 WHIP through 18 starts. His analytics are also poor, ranking in the 39th percentile or lower in average exit velocity, HardHIt%, xERA/xwOBA, xBA, xSLG and Barrel%.

Not only are both of these starting pitchers poor, but both lineups are more than capable of holding their own. Currently, each team ranks in the top half of the league in runs scored per game, SLG and OPS.

Finally, there have been nine or more total runs scored in seven of the Diamondbacks' past 11 games and in nine of the Padres' past 15.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-115)

Marlins vs. Dodgers

Friday, August 18
10:10 p.m. ET
Marlins ML (+122)

By Tanner McGrath

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Sandy Alcantara has re-established himself as MLB’s premier workhorse.

He’s all the way back. Alcantara’s numbers over his past seven starts:

  • 2.31 ERA
  • 46 strikeouts
  • 7 walks
  • 119 Stuff+ (ninth in baseball, sandwiched between Gerrit Cole and Spencer Strider)
  • 59% ground-ball rate
  • 85 ground balls
  • 38 fly balls

Yes, he’s pumping in 99-mph fastballs, and his changeup is dialed in. But the key for Alcantara is generating those ground balls.

When he can force grounders early in counts and games, he can rip through seven-pitch innings and go deep into games. Combine that with his legit, superstar-level stuff, and he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Alcantara tossed a 116-pitch complete game against the Yankees last time out, only allowing one run because of bad umpiring (thanks, Angel Hernandez). He induced 14 ground balls, went out for the ninth inning, and struck out Giancarlo Stanton with a 99-mph sinker on his 110th pitch.

Sandy Day.

— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) August 18, 2023

That’s the pitcher I know and love. That’s my favorite player in baseball, not whoever was pitching in the first half.

He’ll share the mound with Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin, and I’ll once again try and fade the guy who consistently overperforms his expected peripherals (5.30 xERA).

However, some regression has hit Gonsolin in recent weeks. He boasts a 6.28 ERA over his past 10 starts, allowing at least four earned in seven. He blew up against the Padres, Giants and Blue Jays.

It’s always tough fading the Dodgers, who have the better lineup and bullpen. However, I think the Fish have a sneaky bullpen advantage today.

The Dodgers used Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson last night in a 1-0 win over the Brewers (Phillips tossed moore than 20 pitches in the save), while the Marlins had an off day.

The Fish have several high-leverage left-handed relievers in the back end of the bullpen (Tanner Scott, Andrew Nardi, A.J. Puk, Steven Okert), which would put the Dodgers in their weaker split in the latter frames.

And hey, the Fish might not need their bullpen after Alcantara pitches another classic.

Either way, I think there’s value on the Friday Fish as road dogs behind their Cy Young winner. I’m playing them down to +110.

Pick: Marlins ML (+122)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.