MLB Expert Predictions for Tuesday: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Bets, Including Cubs vs. Giants

Credit:

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kris Bryant

  • There are 15 games on Tuesday's MLB slate.
  • Our experts give out their favorite plays for the night, including two on both Phillies-Tigers and Cubs-Giants.

John Ewing: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates

Dakota Hudson (9-4, 3.57 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (3-6, 5.36 ERA)

  • Cardinals Moneyline: +115
  • Pirates Moneyline: -125
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Chris Archer’s ERA is north of 5.00 because he gives up a lot of longballs. His 22 dingers allowed are tied for the fifth-most in baseball this season.

The Pirates starter has allowed a home run in 13 of his past 14 outings and has managed to keep opponents in the park in just three of his starts in 2019.

FanDuel is offering odds for Cardinals hitters to take Archer deep tonight:

Paul Goldschmidt is second in the team in home runs and has smashed five round-trippers in July — tied for the most he has hit in any month this season. Getting nearly 4-1 on my money against a pitcher that is prone to giving up moonshots seems like good value. Plus, the home run doesn’t have to come against Archer. Goldy can put one in the stands at any point in the game and this bet will cash.

Full disclosure, I’m a Redbirds fan. So this is a pure homer bet (pun intended).

THE PICK: Goldschmidt to hit a home run +390

Sean Zerillo: Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers

Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.77 ERA) vs. Matthew Boyd (6-8, 4.13 ERA)

  • Phillies Moneyline: -145
  • Tigers Moneyline: +135
  • Over/Under: 8 (o-120)
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

The Phillies are supposedly targeting both Matthew Boyd and Tigers closer Shane Greene in a trade, which could make this Boyd’s last start in a Tigers uniform; potentially coming against his future club.

The Tigers have the worst run differential in baseball (-189), two runs worse than the Orioles (-187). The Marlins (-106) and Mariners (-105) are the next closest teams, so there is quite a substantial drop-off to Baltimore and Detroit at the bottom of the standings.

The Tigers went 13-14 through April, but they have fallen apart with an 8-33 record and a -101 run differential since the start of June; losing by an average margin of -2.46 runs per game.

With the Phillies sitting a half-game out of a wild card spot and taking 85% of the moneyline cash and tickets in this matchup, one would assume that this line would have swung drastically towards their side.

Instead, the Tigers opened as a +130 underdog, and we have seen a virtual line freeze — indicating sharp liability on the home team.

In 2019, Boyd has a 3.55 FIP and 3.37 xFIP while allowing a .289 xwOBA — out-pitching his counterpart in Aaron Nola (4.28 FIP, 3.96 xFIP, .305 xWOBA).

Boyd’s ERA is 6.08 since the beginning of June, but his xFIP is 2.92, with 72 strikeouts against 9 walks in 47.1 innings pitched.

Over the same period, the Phillies offense ranks 28th, with an 84 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, and Nola has pitched to a 4.08 xFIP despite a 3.32 ERA.

THE PICK: Tigers +135

Danny Donahue: Phillies at Tigers

Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.77 ERA) vs. Matthew Boyd (6-8, 4.13 ERA)

  • Phillies Moneyline: -145
  • Tigers Moneyline: +135
  • Over/Under: 8(o-120)
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Oh boy. Aaron Nola goes up against the second-worst club in baseball and is just a -145 favorite? Yes, I get why 85% of bettors have taken the Phillies tonight. But, I also know that oddsmakers aren’t stupid. They’re well aware of how their customers are betting each game, and by holding this line more or less steady since opening, they’re essentially betting on the Tigers tonight. In a battle of Joe Publics vs. the books, I’m always taking the latter.

Believe it or not, teams in the Tigers spot have actually been profitable in past seasons. Bad teams coming off of wins are generally undervalued, as bettors tend to fall victim to the Gambler’s Fallacy and use the previous victory as a reason to expect a loss. When that bad team is also drawing an extreme minority of bets (less than 20%), that profit grows even more.

To be specific, sub-.400 teams (through at least a quarter of the season) that are coming off a win and getting less than 20% of bets have gone 181-226 since 2005, per Bet Labs. While that’s a losing record, the plus-money payouts on these bad teams have generated a 59.4-unit profit, good for a 14.6% ROI.

THE PICK: Tigers +135

Collin Wilson: Kansas City Royals at Atlanta Braves

Danny Duffy (4-5, 4.52 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 3.58 ERA)

  • Royals Moneyline: +200
  • Braves Moneyline: -220
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET

An interleague game in Atlanta will have the Kansas City Royals scrambling in the lineup. The combination of Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier and Whit Merrifield has been the constant rotation at the DH spot. Without the designated hitter in play, Kansas City will be down a stick for the series against the Braves. The Royals have been a lifeless offense against lefties since May 1st, and with Dallas Keuchel on the mound, tonight should be no different.

Since May 1st, Kansas City is 27th in wRC+ and wOBA against southpaws. A top-10 BABIP illustrates regression is on the way for the Royals. Conversely, the Braves haven’t been that stellar against left-handers in the same time frame. Atlanta is 24th in wRC+ and 20th in wOBA against southpaws as Danny Duffy takes the hill tonight. Look for both offenses to struggle tonight.

THE PICK: Under 9.5

Evan Abrams: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.58 ERA)

  • Cubs Moneyline: -113
  • Giants Moneyline: +103
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 9:45 p.m. ET

The Madison Bumgarner trade rumors seem like they have been swirling for months now. They’ve gone on so long that the Giants went from dead in the water to 16-3 in their last 19 games and just two games back of the final wild card spot.

In the meantime, Mad Bum has been beyond stellar. He owns a 1.55 ERA in his last five starts with 34 strikeouts, 5 walks and 5 earned runs allowed in 29 innings pitched. Bumgarner has made nine home starts since May 1st and he has a 2.45 ERA and the Giants are 7-2 in those games.

Since 2013, Bumgarner has faced the Cubs seven times and the Giants are 6-1 behind his 1.68 ERA, with the Cubs hitting .182 against him. Looking down the Cubs heart of the order, here is how they have performed against Mad Bum …

Schwarber: 1-6, 2 K
Baez: 1-10, 5 K
Bryant: 2-11, 2 K
Rizzo: 3-16, 7 K
Heyward: 3-15, 4 K

The Giants beat the Cubs 5-4 with some clutch late offense on Tuesday, and this season San Francisco is 20-17, +$812 on a $100 per game basis after scoring five runs.

The issue for Bumgarner this season is that he’s receiving just 3.94 runs of support per start, 68th of a qualified 77 starters. Over the last two seasons he is receiving only 3.35 runs per start, which is 130th of a total of 131 qualified starters.

I may stepping in front of a train here betting against Yu Darvish, who has allowed no earned runs in his last two starts at home against the Pirates and Reds, but I won’t be passing up Bumgarner as a home dog tonight.

THE PICK: Giants +103

Josh Appelbaum: Cubs at Giants

Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.58 ERA)

  • Cubs Moneyline: -113
  • Giants Moneyline: +103
  • Over/Under: 7
  • First pitch: 9:45 p.m. ET

Break up the G-Men!

The Giants took the series opener 5-4 last night, pushing them above the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Giants’ turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable (16-3 since June 30) and the public is starting to take notice.

So of course sharps are licking their chops to sell on good news and bet against them.

This game opened with Bumgarner and the Giants listed as short -115 home favorites and the Cubs -105 dogs. Despite 67% of bets loading up on San Fran, the line has completely flipped away from the Giants (-115 to +103) and toward the Cubs (-105 to -113).

What caused this massive movement that turned Chicago from a dog to a favorite? Smart money, of course.

We’ve tracked three steam and reverse line moves on the Cubbies, coming at +102, -101 and -103. We haven’t seen a single conflicting play (or buyback) on the Giants, which means their support is purely public.

Victor Carapazza is also behind the plate, which benefits Chicago. Since 2005, home teams have lost 11.25 units with Carapazza calling balls and strikes.

Chicago also matches several profitable Bet Labs systems, including Non-Division Road Favs (60.4%, +13.72 units this season) and Favorites Sub 50% bets (57.7%, +8.57 units this season).

THE PICK: Cubs -113

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