MLB Betting Picks: Bet on Weather in Brewers vs. Cubs (Thursday, August 13)


Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Schwarber (left) and Anthony Rizzo.

One of the quietest MLB slates of the season presents itself on Thursday, as several teams have the day off in preparation for their respective weekend series.

As such, it’s a been a bit more difficult for bettors to find value today, but our baseball crew still has located a pair of plays worth making on the mini docket.

Here are our two favorite spots on Thursday (odds as of 11 a.m. ET):

BJ Cunningham: Orioles Team Total Over 3.5 (-136)

Surprisingly, Baltimore has been on fire offensively. It ranks fourth in baseball with a .339 wOBA and 117 wRC+. Most of that success has come lately, as the Orioles have scored 38 runs in their last five games. The crazy part of their success offensively is the four players with wOBAs over .400: Renato Nunez, Chance Sisco, Jose Iglesias and Pedro Severino.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

Arrieta has taken a big step back since joining the Phillies. The reason for that is his sinker is a lot less effective than it used to be.

During his breakout season in 2015, Arrieta was dominant with his sinker, allowing only a .191 BA and a .236 wOBA to his opponents. Fast forward to 2019, and he allowed a .304 BA and a .366 wOBA against his sinker. However, his changeup and curveball were pretty effective in 2019 with a wOBA against below .275.

With Jake Arrieta’s career trending downward, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Orioles keep their hot streak going on Thursday because they’ve been crushing right-handed pitching to the tune of a .323 wOBA and 113 wRC+ so far in 2020.

I have the Orioles projected to 4.63 runs in this game, so I think there is value in riding their red-hot offense on Thursday.

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Danny Donahue: Brewers vs. Cubs Under 8.5 (-118)

Mother Nature failed me last night in Milwaukee. I suppose I shouldn’t have counted on Miguel Sano to not hit a ball into orbit even with the wind blowing in his face.

But such is the territory with playing the weather. It’s a small edge, but it’s been a consistent one over a long period of time. So while you’ll win more than you lose, you certainly will lose, and you can sometimes look pretty silly in the process.

So yes, I’m betting on weather again tonight. This time, though, we get the added edge of Wrigley Field — the most affected-by-wind ballpark in our database.

Since 2005, the under has hit at a 54.9% clip (901-739-85) in games where the wind has been blowing in from centerfield at at least 5 mph. At Wrigley Field specifically, that win rate shoots up to 60.1% (94-61-10).

Tonight’s forecast is calling for 7-8 mph winds blowing straight in, so I’ll ride the historical data and play the under again.

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