Wednesday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Indians vs. Cubs, Cardinals vs. Brewers, More (Sept. 16)

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Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images. Pictured: Pitcher Aaron Civale #43 of the Cleveland Indians

Sep 16, 2020, 06:00 PM EDT
  • Looking for some quick MLB betting picks for Wednesday? You're in the right place.
  • Sean Zerillo and BJ Cunningham are each targeting moneyline plays in Indians vs. Cubs -- one for the first five innings and one for the full game.
  • Read on for a complete breakdown on each of our favorite Wednesday night MLB bets.

Major League Baseball slates clearing the 15-game mark on a given day has become close to the norm at this point, as postponements have led to doubleheaders in a season that already has reason to rush to the finish line.

Today the doubleheader comes via the Brewers and Cardinals, one game of which has attracted a bet from our baseball experts. Here are the three games we’re betting Wednesday, with our picks and analysis below.

  • Athletics vs. Rockies (3:10 p.m. ET)
  • Brewers vs. Cardinals Game 1 (5:10 p.m. ET)
  • Indians vs. Cubs (8:15 p.m. ET)

Note: Odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

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.


Stuckey: Rockies Moneyline (-122) vs. Athletics

A good late season situational spot to fade the Athletics this afternoon. Oakland has to be absolutely gassed as today’s game will mark its 19th game in the past 16 days.

And it’s much worse than that as Oakland played four games in three cities in different time zones over a 60-hour period between Sunday and Tuesday. That included a double-header in Seattle with awful air quality that some on the team said left some lingering side effects. Not ideal to then travel to the altitude in Denver.

The A’s must really be looking forward to a much needed day off on Thursday. From a motivation perspective, Colorado is trying to make a last push for a postseason spot while Oakland knows it will be there. You may seem some key bats rest to get two days in a row off after such a tiring stretch.

The Rockies also have a distinct starting-pitching edge with Marquez toeing the rubber on Wednesday. His stuff has been very good all year but he was just running into some bad luck before his past two starts, in each of which he went seven innings and gave up only two runs. And if you want to bet against this A’s lineup, it’s best to do it with a good righty arm on the hill.

While Marquez has an xFIP and FIP that both sit below 4.00 on the season, Fiers’ are both north of 5.00. He’s been really poor all season, striking out a pitiful fewer than six batters per nine innings for the first time in his career as a result of a velocity dip.

Marquez’ arsenal also should work better in Coors as he gets a much higher ground-ball rate than Fiers. In his only career start at Coors, Fiers lasted two innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits.

Yes, the A’s have the bullpen advantage but at least the Rockies got a CG from Senzatela last night, so their best relief arms got a night off. However, I still will throw a bit on the F5 as well. I think the Rockies sweep the season series on Wednesday at Coors.

Danny Donahue: Brewers Game 1 Moneyline (-150) vs. Cardinals

If you’ve followed along this season, you might have an idea where I’m going with this. While I find that the majority of my MLB plays come on underdogs, my favorite plays to make are, appropriately, favorites — in the right situation, of course.

That situation presents itself in the form of the Brewers in the first of tonight’s doubleheader with the Cards. Despite being a sizable favorite, Milwaukee comes into this game attracting just 30% of moneyline bettors. And even with that minority backing, the Brewers have become an even bigger favorite. Which brings us to that “right situation” I mentioned.

In our database, teams that have opened favored higher than -130 and seen the line move at least 10 cents in their direction on no more than 45% of bets have gone 133-43, winning 35.4 units for a 20.1% ROI.

BJ Cunningham: Indians Moneyline (-106) vs. Cubs

Aaron Civale has been an unexpected bright spot in the Indians rotation. He’s posted a 3.88 ERA and a 3.55 xFIP, which ranks inside the top 20 qualified starting pitchers. He’s mainly a sinker-ball guy, with a nasty wipeout slider. He’s been on point with his control this season, surrendering only 10 walks and seven home runs in 58 innings.

His changeup and curveball have been by far his best two pitches as the two combined have held hitters to a .174 average and have produced over a 38% whiff rate. The Cubs have struggled against both curveballs and changeups, so I expect Civale to feature those two pitches a lot on Wednesday night.

The fade-Jon Lester crowd, of which I am a standing member, has been very profitable. He was really good in his last start in Milwaukee, but he had allowed 24 earned runs and eight homers in the previous five starts.

It’s no secret that Lester is starting to fall off a cliff as he gets into his late 30s. He’s posted an xFIP over 4.00 in each of his previous two seasons and this year his xFIP is all the way up at 5.05, which is the highest of his career. Even though the Indians haven’t been hitting the ball well this season, I don’t think they should have any trouble getting to Lester.

I am going to fade Lester again and back the Indians to get back on track offensively at a pick’em.

Sean Zerillo: Indians F5 Moneyline (-118) vs. Cubs

I’m admittedly confused by this line for Wednesday night’s contest between the Cubs and Indians. The Indians opened as -114 favorites, but the Cubs have taken slightly more of the cash even though the moneyline ticket count is split 50-50 as of writing.

As a result, this game has become a pick’em in the betting markets, even though I make Cleveland a 56.6% favorite (implied odds of -130) for this game.

Furthermore, I have Cleveland’s chances of winning the first five innings (F5) at 60.1% (implied odds of -151), but there is less than a 10-cent difference between their F5 and full-game moneylines at most books.

Despite being a relatively soft-tosser (91.8 mph fastball), Aaron Civale (3.55 xFIP) has been ace-like in 2020, with a five-pitch arsenal including a cutter and high-spin curveball to keep hitters off balance. Visually, he offers a ton of movement on his pitches:

Conversely, Jon Lester remains on the downside of his career, and near the top of my fade list, with a career-low fastball velocity, swinging-strike rate, xERA (5.02) and xFIP (5.05).

Lester’s fastball (90.8 mph) is a full tick below his 2019 level, which was already a full tick below anything else he had done in his career.

You can bet the Reds F5 moneyline up to -130, a 3.5% edge compared to the projection.

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