MLB Odds, Expert Picks: 2 Best Bets For Saturday, Featuring White Sox vs Tigers, Padres vs Diamondbacks (September 17)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Carson Kelly and Zac Gallen
There's two doubleheaders on the slate which means we have a whopping 17 games to pick from, and our analysts have found value on two of them: White Sox vs. Tigers and Padres vs. Diamondbacks. We have a team total and a first five total to pick from.
Here are our two best bets from Saturday's MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
White Sox vs. Tigers
DJ James: The Chicago White Sox are back to crushing left-handed pitching, as they were in most of 2021. They will face Eduardo Rodríguez and the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night in a key American League Central matchup. Johnny Cueto will go for Chicago.
The Sox hold a team wRC+ of 169 off of southpaws since August 17. In that time, they also boast an OPS of .939 with a 10.3% walk rate. They have nine hitters with a .365+ xwOBA in that same timeframe and another (Andrew Vaughn) above .325. This is heavy right-handed lineup, and they could do some damage with Rodríguez pitching.
Rodríguez holds teams to weaker-than-average contact, but his other peripherals are less than encouraging. He has an xBA of .266 and xSLG of .435. Both of these rank in the 16th percentile of MLB. He also has a 7.31 ERA in September in three starts. All of these signals an offensive outburst for the South Siders.
Lastly, the Tigers have four relievers out of nine who are lefties. The chances are that if Rodríguez exits early, at least one of these pitchers is entering the game.
Padres vs. Diamondbacks
Collin Whitchurch: Saturday's premiere pitching matchup is between two pitchers many casual bettors might be somewhat unfamiliar with — Joe Musgrove and Zac Gallen.
Gallen, in particular, is in the midst of an insane stretch where, until five days ago in Denver, he went eight starts and 44 1/3 innings without allowing a single earned run. Although he allowed three runs in that start, he still struck out 11 and walked zero, meaning since the All-Star break he now sports a 0.97 ERA in 10 starts and 65 innings.
If Sandy Alcantara didn't exist, Gallen would be the favorite for the NL Cy Young, despite pitching in the obscurity of a non-contender in the desert.
Generally when two elite starting pitchers face off, I look for a contrarian over, but I can't find an argument for betting against Musgrove nor Gallen at this stage of the season.
While Musgrove hasn't been anywhere near as dominant as Gallen of late, he's still among the best pitchers in the National League, with a 3.28 ERA that's backed up by solid expected indicators, a miniscule walk rate, and a keen ability for limiting both hard contact and the long ball.