MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Saturday: 3 Best Bets, Including Cubs vs. Marlins, Blue Jays vs. Mariners (August 14)
Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- There's plenty of Major League Baseball action to be found on Saturday evening.
- Our staff has found value on three different games from the slate.
- Continue reading for our best bets on Nationals-Braves, Cubs-Marlins and Blue Jays-Mariners.
Our analysts have found angle on three different games on the slate, with value picks on Braves vs. Nationals, Cubs vs. Marlins and Blue Jays vs. Mariners.
Here are our three best bets from Saturday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Braves vs. Nationals
Tanner McGrath: Max Fried has finally started pitching similarly to his old self. However, the combination of a hapless Patrick Corbin, two lackluster bullpens and two explosive bullpens make this total too low.
Corbin has been roughed up all season, but has been particularly bad in this recent stretch. He already ranks among the bottom 8% of qualified pitchers in xERA (5.85), xBA (.285) and xwOBA (.363), but he also posted a 7.18 ERA in July and has allowed at least four runs in each of his last five starts.
Meanwhile, Corbin’s relief hasn’t helped much. The Nationals’ bullpen — now completely decimated by the trade deadline — has posted the third-worst FIP (5.45) over the past 30 days. The Braves’ bullpen has been better, but Atlanta’s relievers have tossed 15 2/3 innings over the past three days, indicating they should be a little tired.
Finally, the Nationals may have sold a couple of key offensive pieces, but Juan Soto and Co. have still been able to knock the ball around. The Nationals have hit the over in 10 of their last 13 games.
That goes for the Braves as well, who have hit the over in six of their last nine.
I’m expecting a lot more runs today than the total indicates. Our Action PRO model is projecting this total at 10.12, and I’ll happily play over 9 at -120 or better.
Cubs vs. Marlins
Collin Whitchurch: Sometimes it’s nice just to ride a wave.
I hate run lines and rarely bet them, but the Cubs’ play of late has turned them into an auto-fade. On Friday, they jumped out to an early 4-1 lead against the Marlins after an inning and a half, only to turn around and surrender 11 runs in the bottom of the second on their way to what was ultimately a 14-10 defeat.
The Cubs used six relievers behind Adbert Alzolay and four of them — Dan Winkler, Rex Brothers, Codi Heuer and Adam Morgan — threw at least 21 pitches.
Zach Davies takes the ball on Saturday, and the veteran is coming off back-to-back miserable outings of seven earned runs each. Given their pitching woes, the Cubs will likely hang Davies out regardless of how he performs here, and even if he gives them length, the Chicago bullpen is simply in shambles.
There’s always risk in betting Miami with its overall underwhelming offense — Friday’s outburst notwithstanding — but I like them even more today with Zach Thompson on the mound. The rookie walks too many batters overall (20 in 46 2/3 innings), but has some solid swing-and-miss stuff (45 punchouts), including an 11-strikeout outing against the Nationals in late June. He matches up well as a fastball-heavy pitcher against a team that does not hit fastballs at an above-average clip.
The Cubs will surely win again eventually. (…right?) but we’re not going to overthink it here. I would roll with the Marlins’ moneyline if you could find it in the -140 range (the best I could find at the moment is -145) but also take a stab at their run line, which you can find as long as +140. I would bet that to +125.
Blue Jays vs. Mariners
Kenny Ducey: The Blue Jays mash lefties, and the Mariners do not. The methodology is simple, but an offense as hot as Toronto’s at -150 in a matchup like this can’t be ignored.
Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn’t been the model of consistency in 2021 that we’re used to seeing, but he’s proven capable of turning in big strikeout nights against poor offenses, namely an eight-punchout night against the Indians a couple of weeks ago. While The Mariners were able to touch up Ryu for four earned runs in July, I’m still not buying that they’ll win this one.
Seattle stands 27th with a .686 OPS against left-handers this year, and has fallen victim to the strikeout to the tune of a 26.5% punchout rate within the split. Even Andrew Heaney was able to stifle these bats as he flirted with a double-digit strikeout game last weekend. Another area where they’ll be up against it is versus Ryu’s fastball, considering the Mariners rank 28th against the pitch this year in weighted runs.
Toronto, meanwhile, has the league’s third-best OPS against lefties at .777 and, with the most barrels per plate appearance in baseball, should victimize Yusei Kikuchi, who owns a bloated 9.9% barrel rate and 44.4% hard-hit rate. He shouldn’t have the same luck here as he’s had all season.