MLB Expert Picks for Wednesday: Should You Fade Jon Lester at Wrigley?

MLB Expert Picks for Wednesday: Should You Fade Jon Lester at Wrigley? article feature image

Matt Marton, USA Today Sports.

  • Our MLB staffers detail their favorite bets for Wednesday, September 18 including Reds vs. Cubs (8:05 p.m ET).

Sean Zerillo: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

Tyler Mahle (2-11, 5.11 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (13-10, 4.59 ERA)

  • Reds Moneyline: +145
  • Cubs Moneyline: -155
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET

All odds as of Wednesday afternoon. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Despite a 2-11 record, there is a lot to like about Tyler Mahle from a developmental standpoint. He’s young, has good command over a deep arsenal (up to seven different pitches), and his coaches continually express that they are encouraged by what he’s showing.

For the purposes of Wednesday’s start, Mahle owns better control over the strike zone, and allows less harmful contact than his opponent, Jon Lester:

Lester’s fastball has lost velocity in recent seasons, and he now sits in the bottom six percent amongst all pitchers:

In 2019, he ranks in the bottom 10% amongst pitchers in both xwOBA on contact and expected batting average.

This is the first season during which all five of Lester’s pitches (four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutter, changeup, curveball) have each returned a negative pitch value.

You can take your chances by playing the over on the Reds team total, but I prefer to back them here at plus-money.

I have Cincinnati as a 46.8% underdog (implied odds of +114) in the first five innings (F5), and a 45.6% underdog (implied odds of +119) over the full game.

I played both but would have a slight lean to the F5 moneyline; where I show the Reds as a smaller underdog.

The PICK: Cincinnati Reds F5 Moneyline

John Ewing: Seattle Mariners at Pittsburgh Pirates

Justin Dunn (0-0, 27.00 ERA) vs. Dario Agrazal (4-4, 4.91 ERA)

  • Mariners Moneyline: +105
  • Pirates Moneyline: -115
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Dario Agrazal will take the mound for the Pirates tonight. If you didn’t know, Agrazal is not a big swing and miss guy. He has only rung up more than two batters once in his past six outings.

Oddsmakers have accounted for his low strikeout potential by listing his over/under strikeout total for tonight at 3.5 Ks.

We’ve established that Agrazal doesn’t fan many opposing batters but he has a plus matchup tonight against Seattle. The Mariners are third in the majors in Ks. Seattle batters have swung and missed 1,479 times this season.

The FantasyLabs player prop tool projects Agrazal to have 4.2 Ks on average tonight. Against a lineup with high whiff potential there is value betting Agrazal over 3.5 Ks.

The PICK: Agrazal Over 3.5 Ks

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