Saturday MLB Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets on Indians vs. Twins and Mariners vs. Athletics (August 1)
Pictured: Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
- Looking for a few MLB betting picks to tide you over on Saturday? Our staff put together their favorite bets on the slate.
- They're eyeing a couple of short underdogs and one total.
- Get our staff's full breakdowns of their picks for Saturday below.
As the NBA and NHL join the sports mix this weekend, some bettors might be letting baseball slip down the totem pole a bit.
Our crew is certainly not among that group.
Saturday evening’s slate offers 12 games, and our staff’s favorite bets are below. Let’s get to it.
Odds as of 12:00 p.m. ET.
BJ Cunningham: Indians vs. Twins Over 9 (+100)
Carlos Carrasco’s indisputable best pitch is his slider. He throws it the most of any of his pitches (34.1%), and opposing hitters reported a paltry .248 wOBA against it in 2019.
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.
Other than Carrasco’s exceptional slider, his other three pitches are nothing to write home about. His fastball, changeup, and sinker each allowed a wOBA over .365 last season.
Carrasco’s relatively weak command of his lesser pitches could cause him trouble against a loaded Twins lineup. Minnesota feasted on fastballs and sliders last season, ranking in the top-three against both of those pitches.
However, the Twins did somewhat struggle against changeups and sinkers. So, Carrasco must utilize those pitches effectively in order to navigate Minnesota’s intimidating batting lineup.
Kenta Maeda mainly has a three-pitch arsenal that consists of a fastball, changeup, and slider. Among those three pitches, Maeda’s below-average fastball is clearly his Achilles’ heel. Opposing hitters punished that pitch to the tune of a .381 wOBA in 2019.
To contrast, Maeda’s slider and changeup are both very effective, producing a 35% whiff rate and holding opponents under .250 wOBA. Cleveland struggled against those two pitches last year but feasted on fastballs. So, Maeda will have to lean heavily on his off-speed pitches in this game.
With two high-powered offenses and two average starters on the mound, I think this will be a high-scoring game. I project the total for this game at 10.05 runs, so I am betting over 8.5 runs at -110 (PointsBet). In fact, I would still bet the over at -110 even if the run-total moved back to 9.
Stuckey: Indians Moneyline (+106) vs. Twins
I don’t disagree with BJ on the Indians over call. Moreover, I’m surprised it came down to 8.5 overnight. But, I actually fancy the side more in this game. Give me the Tribe in this spot with a little sprinkled on the first 5 as well.
Kenta Maeda is absolutely devastating against right-handed batters but really struggles against lefties:
Vs L: .330 OBP | .435 SLG | .326 wOBA
Vs R: .251 OBP | .342 SLG | .256 wOBA
That’s not good news for the Twins starter, because Cleveland has constructed one of the most flexible lineups in all of baseball with an abundance of switch-hitters. The Indians will likely deploy seven lefties against Maeda tonight. Carrasco also looked very strong in his first start and should have ample run support.
Two other dogs worth looking at are the Snakes and Halos.
Christian Walker’s three-run double last night should go a long way in loosening up the Arizona lineup and helping them break out of a slump. I love the Diamondbacks against lefties as well, but Urias reports extreme reverse-splits, for what it’s worth. Additionally, the Dodgers’ top bullpen arms have gotten plenty of work over the past few outtings.
The Angels have been a dumpster fire, but I see some value on Los Angeles tonight against Greinke. He performed poorly in his first start and mentioned arm fatigue after that game. On the other side, I love Canning’s stuff. I know the Angels’ bullpen is a train-wreck but so is the Astros’ right now.
Collin Wilson: Mariners Moneyline (+132) vs. Athletics
The Mariners’ win on Friday granted them a half-game lead over Oakland and brought them within a half-game of Houston. These are exciting times for a young squad featuring Kyle Lewis.
Yusei Kikuchi gets the nod for Seattle after a disastrous first start, but Oakland’s quite bats may help Kikuchi rebound strongly. The Athletics have the highest strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching in all MLB.
Mike Fiers draws the start on the mound for Oakland, and his most recent performance bodes poorly in this matchup. In his opening start, Fiers gave up four runs and seven hits in only four innings of action. He also failed to record a strikeout before making an early exit.
The Mariners rank third in wRC+ and wOBA against right-handlers and are poised to jump all over Fiers early in the contest.
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.
Oakland is overvalued as a favorite, and Seattle is in prime position to exploit the Athletics’ myriad deficiencies. Give me the Mariners on the moneyline at +132 (DraftKings).