MLB Odds, Expert Betting Picks: Saturday’s 4 Best Bets Include Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks, Angels vs. Tigers (August 20)
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt
- Our staff's first best bet from today's MLB slate gets going early this afternoon between the Angels and Tigers.
- But there's plenty more to come after that, including picks on Athletics-Mariners and Cardinals-Diamondbacks.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of our best bets from today in Major League Baseball.
Another Saturday means another day chock full of baseball. The earliest games get started at 1:05 p.m. ET and run throughout the day with several matchups featuring important playoff implications.
Our analysts have plays on three games, with picks on Angels vs. Tigers, Mariners vs. Athletics and a pair of bets in agreement on Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks.
Here are our four best bets from Saturday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Angels vs. Tigers
Collin Whitchurch: It’s been a weird season for Reid Detmers. After a decent start to the season, he reached the top of the mountain when he threw a no-hitter in May. Six starts after that, he found himself back in Triple-A.
Since returning to the rotation at the start of July, he’s made six starts and has a 1.50 ERA with 47 strikeouts against just 13 walks in 36 innings.
The Tigers have a miserable offense but left-handed pitching is their better split. They’ve been around league-average, in fact, with a 98 wRC+. However, this team still has a lot of swing-and-miss in its lineup and walks at the third-lowest mark against lefties despite having a bit more success putting the bat on the ball.
Detmers’ resurgence has also been coupled with a change in his pitch mix. He’s upped his slider usage significantly — even going so far as throwing it 40 percent of the time two starts ago against Seattle. The Tigers are the second worst slider-hitting team in baseball at a -31 run value, ahead of only Oakland.
On the other side, the Angels will also take their swings against a southpaw — Tyler Alexander. The 28-year-old is spectacularly unremarkable, but even with Mike Trout returning from his lengthy IL stint, I don’t trust the Angels offense to hit literally anyone right now. Their 83 wRC+ against lefties is third-worst in the majors, and since the start of July they’re a whopping 36 percent below average against lefties. Trout will help, but he can only do so much.
With a resurgent Detmers on the mound and the Angels’ offense flailing, there’s tremendous value on the first five innings under. I recommend under 4 at -115 or better, but if you want to play it a little more cautious and take under 4.5 at a higher price, that’s fine too.
Mariners vs. Athletics
Brad Cunningham: The total is way too low with these two starting pitchers on the mound.
Logan Gilbert is a negative regression candidate. His ERA is currently sitting at 3.51, but his xERA is at 4.33 and his xFIP is at 4.00. He’s allowing one of highest hard hit rates (47.5%) and average exit velocities (91.4 mph) is all of baseball, which is really concerning.
He’s a heavy fastball pitcher, going to it over 53% of the time and he has not been effective with it, as it’s allowing a .358 xwOBA. Oakland has been hitting fastballs well as of late, as they have a +12.5 run value against them over the past 30 days.
Gilbert has also faced the A’s once this season and it did not go to according to plan. Oakland tagged him for eight hits, four runs and two home runs.
James Kaprielian is very similar to Gilbert in the fact that he also is a heavy fastball pitcher and he as well has not been effective with it, as his is allowing a .383 xwOBA.
Kaprielian has not been good this season. His xERA is sitting at 4.79 and his xFIP is 5.13, which are well below the MLB average. He’s also going on nine straight starts where his individual xFIP for each start has been above 4.00.
The only pitch the Mariners have a positive run value against is fastballs, as they’re currently sitting with a +16.7 run value, so they shouldn’t have much trouble getting to Kaprielian.
I have 8.1 runs projected for this game, so I like the value on Over 7 runs at -110 and would play it up to -120.
Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks
DJ James: Dakota Hudson is lucky to own only a 4.17 ERA because his xERA is 5.33, which ranks in the bottom 8% of the MLB. Similarly, Madison Bumgarner has a 4.37 ERA against a 5.13 xERA.
Both have been extremely fortunate and they will run into hot lineups on Saturday. The Cardinals own lefties right now with a team 149 wRC+ in August, and the Diamondbacks have a 111 wRC+ off of right-handers. With two starters who are due for bad outings, the total is the correct line to target.
In addition, St. Louis has five hitters eclipsing a .400 xwOBA off of southpaws this month. This encompasses the majority of the heart of the order. Bumgarner ranks in the 10th percentile in average exit velocity and 13th percentile in hard hit percentage, so the Cardinals will take advantage.
On the other side, the D’backs have four batters above a .390 xwOBA off of righties. Hudson ranks in the 14th percentile in average exit velocity and hard hit rate. This will not bode well for him either.
Take the over in this game from 8.5 (-120). Play to 9 (-130).
Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks
Mike Ianniello: Madison Bumgarner is still a big name, but he has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this year. He has a 4.37 ERA and a 5.13 xERA. He ranks in the bottom 10% of the league in average exit velocity allowed. Bumgarner has allowed at least four runs in four straight starts, and five of his last six outings.
Dakota Hudson hasn’t been much better. He has a 4.17 ERA and 5.33 xERA this season and opponents have racked up a .354 xwOBA against him. Hudson has one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball, punching hitters out just 13.4% of the time, the second worst among all starting pitchers.
St. Louis has been mashing the ball on offense, led by MVP favorite Paul Goldschimdt. The Cardinals lead the entire league in wRC+ and wOBA over the last month. They also absolutely crush left-handed pitching better than any team in the baseball. They have a .348 team wOBA versus south paws.
While I expect the Cardinals to do most of the heavy lifting, Arizona ranks 10th in wOBA over the last month. The Snakes are plenty capable of chipping in some runs themselves to help push this total over.
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