MLB Expert Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Wednesday Bets, Including Pirates-Angels

MLB Expert Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Wednesday Bets, Including Pirates-Angels article feature image

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Archer

  • Our experts detail their favorite bets for Wednesday's MLB slate, including Pirates at Angels (8:07 p.m. ET) and Cardinals at Royals (8:15 p.m. ET).

Collin Wilson: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins

Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 2.77 ERA) vs. Elieser Hernandez (2-4, 4.94 ERA)

  • Dodgers Moneyline: -280
  • Marlins Moneyline: +255
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

When Clayton Kershaw takes the mound, it’s expected there will be a minimum number of runs from the opposing team. The southpaw will be helped by a Marlins team that is dead last in wRC+ and ISO against left-handers. The Dodgers are one of the best hitting teams in the league, but Miami starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez will look for continued success.

Hernandez threw six innings with seven strikeouts against the Braves in his last outing. The Marlins’ 24-year-old did not issue a walk and continues to benefit from a BABIP of .256.

And finally, the umpire rotation indicates Hernandez and Kershaw should keep steady in their strikeout rates. Ron Kulpa will be behind the dish in Miami: He brings a lifetime 172-130 record for under bettors, winning them +28.22 units.

The PICK: Under 8

John Ewing: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Angels

Chris Archer (3-8, 5.23 ERA) vs. Dillon Peters (2-1, 3.45 ERA)

  • Pirates Moneyline: +115
  • Angels Moneyline: -125
  • Over/Under: 10.5
  • First pitch: 8:07 p.m. ET

Chris Archer’s strikeout prop for Wednesday’s game against the Angels is 6.5 Ks. The Pirates starter can ring up opposing batters — he forced nine Cardinals to whiff in his last outing — but there is reason to believe he won’t have as much success against L.A.’s lineup.

For starters, the Angels are good at avoiding strikeouts. David Fletcher and Albert Pujols are in the top-10 in fewest Ks among qualified hitters. As a club, the Angels have totaled only 890 strikeouts this season — the second fewest in the majors.

The FantasyLabs prop tool projects Archer to have 5.3 Ks. The 1.2 strikeout difference between projected Ks and the odds is the largest on Wednesday’s slate. The under 6.5 Ks has a Bet Quality Rating of 10 out of 10.

Facing a lineup that rarely strikes out, Archer’s under 6.5 Ks is offering bettors a lot of value.

The PICK: Under 6.5 Ks

Sean ZerilloSt. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals

Dakota Hudson (10-6, 4.01 ERA) vs. Brad Keller (7-12, 4.09 ERA)

  • Cardinals Moneyline: -127
  • Royals Moneyline: +118
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET

Every so often, I see an underdog priced higher in the first five innings market than in the full game market. It’s typically when they have a slight advantage or are relatively even in the starting pitching matchup.

Let’s break down the two pitchers in Wednesday’s Cardinals-Royals game:

Both righties have ground-ball rates higher than 50%, which allows them to get away with their big sinkers and lesser strikeout stuff.

Keller has made some mechanical tweaks, improved his fastball velocity and seen an uptick in performance as the 2019 season has gone on.

Over the past two months, his strikeout-minus-walk rate has increased to 13%, and Keller has carried a 2.87 ERA (despite fielding independent metrics closer to 4.30).

Hudson has been hit hard all year and has carried a FIP of 6.18 for the past two months. He walks far too many batters and doesn’t strike out nearly enough.

Hudson’s 1.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second lowest among qualified starters (only Sandy Alcantara is worse), and while Keller ranks fourth-lowest (1.91), he has consistently shown signs of improvement of late, with a ratio of 3.08 since the beginning of July.

The PICK: Kansas City Royals (+131) First Five Innings Moneyline

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