Tuesday MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 6 Picks, Including Cubs vs. Mets, Tigers vs. Royals, More (June 15)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Timm Anderson tags out Taylor Walls at second base.
- Six bets for six games are in our staff's best bets for Tuesday's MLB slate.
- We have a plethora of picks to choose from, including Red Sox-Braves, Cubs-Mets and more.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets for tonight.
It’s another full slate of Major League Baseball action on Tuesday, with all 15 games taking place under the lights.
Our analysts have found plenty of action to recommend from the slate, including the showdown between the top two teams in the American League, the Rays and White Sox, in Chicago.
Here are our staff’s six best bets from Tuesday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Nationals
Sean Zerillo: Since helping the Nationals to a World Series win in 2019, Patrick Corbin has struggled, pitching to a 5.17 xERA in 2020 and a 6.54 mark this season. Both his xFIP (4.12, 4.50) and SIERA (4.42, 4.85) are more optimistic over the same period, but Corbin’s K-BB% (8.1%) has dropped to a career-low this season, and his hard-hit rate (43.9% in 2021, 44.2% in 2020) is up more than 5% from his career average (38.1%).
Moreover, both his swinging strike rate (10.2%) and called-strike plus whiff rate (25.5%) are down significantly from his 2017 peak (15.6%, and 32.3%, respectively).
Each of Corbin’s pitches have returned negative pitch values this season, including his slider, which still ranks third in total pitch value (+62.5) and 18th on a per-pitch basis since the start of the 2017 season.
Conversely, Pirates starter Tyler Anderson has regained his effectiveness this season after fading out in Colorado (8.47 xERA in 2019) and struggling in San Francisco (4.83 xERA, 4.93 xFIP in 2020).
Anderson is pitching back to his career averages (4.40 xERA, 4.34 xFIP, 4.26 SIERA, 14.9% K-BB% vs. career 4.28 xFIP, 4.35 SIERA, 13.5% K-BB%) while increasing his cutter usage to 28.2%; making it the second most-used pitch in his repertoire.
I projected the Pirates as a 47% underdog in Washington on Tuesday, and I like their moneyline down to +125. Moreover, I projected their odds for the first five innings (F5) at 49%, and I would bet their F5 moneyline down to +115, or split their F5 moneyline with some F5 spread (+0.5), up to -120.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Cleveland Indians
Collin Whitchurch: My colleague Sean Zerillo has made a sport out of fading Matt Harvey and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here, except instead of paying the juice on a straight bet on Cleveland, we’re looking at the total.
Nine may be a little high for two offenses that rank among the bottom-12 in baseball by wRC+, but Harvey really has been that bad for Baltimore and may be on his way to getting cut loose by arguably the worst team in baseball. Over his last six starts, Harvey has gotten through five innings zero times and allowed fewer than five earned runs once (a start in which he lasted just three innings).
The Cleveland team total has understandably been juiced here, but the full-game total is still a nice play because Harvey’s counterpart doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence either. Cal Quantrill’s full-season numbers are respectable, but he has an xFIP of 4.32 and DRA says he’s been even more fortunate (5.15). And even if he does pitch well, Cleveland has been limiting the 26-year-old to a time or two through the order max.
Cleveland has a top-notch bullpen, but used four of its top arms to cover five innings on Monday, with Nick Sandlin, Bryan Shaw and James Karinchak all throwing 22 pitches or more.
Even with a scuffling offense, Cleveland should beat up on Harvey, and a combination of an underwhelming Quantrill and a tired bullpen should allow Baltimore to scratch across enough runs for us to hit the over, which has plenty of value at plus money. I’d play over 9 to -110.
Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets
Tanner McGrath: Alec Mills vs. Taijun Walker is not a superstar pitching matchup. But, if meatballers Jake Arrieta and David Peterson can hit the under, these two can as well.
Mills has plenty of red flags. He’s posted a 6.08 ERA and a 1.52 in mostly relief appearances this season and strikes out fewer than 14% of batters faced while posting a walk rate near 10%. However, he’s also got an xERA more than a point lower (4.68) and pitched three shutout innings against the Mets earlier this season.
Plus, I wouldn’t expect Mills to go that deep into this game, and over the past seven days, the Cubs’ relief squad is third in FIP (2.66) and fifth in WHIP (0.98). Look for Chicago to string together enough arms to keep them in this one.
Meanwhile, Walker has been excellent this season. He’s posted a 5-2 record in 11 starts with a 2.07 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. But he is not immaculate either. He’s recorded a 3.37 xERA this season behind a very low BABIP (.240) and a very low groundball rate (39.4%). I would look for some regression from Walker in the future.
But not tonight. First, because the Cubs’ offense hasn’t been great recently, posting a .288 wOBA BA and an 82 wRC+ over the past two weeks — both numbers that rank among the bottom-five teams during that stretch. Second, because Walker is a fastball-sinker pitcher, and the Cubs are dead last in MLB in weighted sinker runs created (-5.9).
Plus, the Mets still have a top-five bullpen, ranking third in FIP (3.45) and second in xFIP (3.70) over the course of the season.
Finally, the wind is blowing in from left field at around 10 mph, likely keeping more of those right-handed pull balls in play. Our Action PRO report has tracked sharp money on the under, and I’m looking to play under 8.5 at -115 or better.
Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves
DJ James: Eduardo Rodriguez has been incredibly unlucky to start the season, but that luck should not turn around just yet. He faces Tucker Davidson of the Atlanta Braves in a matchup of southpaws.
The Boston Red Sox struggle against left-handers like Davidson. Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe and Bobby Dalbec are the only regulars above the 100 wRC+ mark. On the opposing side, they have five hitters above that mark, so if Rodriguez still struggles, Atlanta should make its mark early.
Boston definitely has the advantage between the bullpens, but Davidson has shown his ability to make it at least five or six innings in each game he has started.
Ronald Acuña Jr. left Sunday’s game with right pectoral tightness, but the Braves expect him to possibly be back in this lineup tonight. Even without him, they are in better shape than Boston. Play this to -120.
Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals
Kenny Ducey: A $100 bettor would be up $709 if they took the under in every Casey Mize start this year. It’s hit in 10 of his 12 starts this year, and in six of the last seven, making it one of the most profitable trends in baseball so far. There’s also just so much to love about the way Mize is throwing right now.
The former No. 1 overall pick has tamed some of the best lineups around in his first full major-league season, including the White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox and Astros. The Royals can be added to the list of teams he owns, too; after a brutal start against KC in April, Mize has rebounded to allow just three runs on six hits and three walks in his last two starts against Detroit’s division rival, with 10 strikeouts.
That should be more than enough to get us to the under, but there’s even more to love here. Detroit has posted the worst wRC+ in baseball against lefties, with a strikeout rate of nearly 30%, and will now draw a southpaw in Mike Minor whose strikeout numbers have climbed up for a fourth year in a row.
Put it all together, and we should see a pitchers’ duel in Kansas City.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Brad Cunningham: Shane McClanahan has been pretty good for the Rays this season, posting a 4.13 xERA and a 3.08 xFIP, but this is a really bad matchup for him. The White Sox lineup absolutely crushes left-handed pitching, as they have a .352 wOBA, which is the best mark in baseball. The White Sox have also had a ton of success against fastballs and sliders, as they are top 10 against both pitches, which also happen to be McClanahan’s two main pitches. Combined, he throws them more than 80% of the time.
Dallas Keuchel has not been very good this season and he’s due for some regression. His ERA is currently sitting 4.14, but his xERA is almost two runs higher at 6.02. He’s mainly a sinkerball guy and this will be a bad matchup for him because the Rays have four guys in their lineup with a wOBA over .400 against sinkers.
I have 4.71 runs projected for the first five innings, so I think there is some value on the First Five innings Over 4.5 runs at +107 and would play anything plus money.
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