MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Our Best Bets for Saturday, Including Pirates vs. Cardinals, Phillies vs. Padres (Aug. 21)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola.
- With a full slate of MLB games on Saturday, there's plenty of value for bettors to find.
- Our team of MLB analysts have identified four games as having great value throughout the day.
- They lay out their picks with detailed breakdowns below.
We have a full slate of MLB games on Saturday, and a few of the matchups are hugely important for the postseason push.
Out west, the Giants and A’s are both jostling for playoff position and face off in a rivalry matchup at the Coliseum in Oakland. Later in the night, the Phillies look to keep up in the National League East against the Padres, who are on the verge of a full-fledged collapse.
Our team of MLB betting analysts have identified those matchups, as well as two more, as having value for bettors on Saturday.
MLB Odds & Picks
Giants vs. A’s
Tanner McGrath: The Giants and A’s are 3-1 to the under when playing this season. Today, I like more of the same.
That’s mostly because of lefty Sean Manaea, who is having a decent but unspectacular season. However, the Giants have not been hitting southpaws well recently, posting just a 91 wRC+ against them over the past 30 days.
If you expand those criteria to the Giants lineup vs. left-handed pitchers on the road, the picture gets even bleaker. Over the past 30 days and in that situation, the Giants are batting just .211 with a .663 OPS and a .276 wOBA — all terrible numbers.
Meanwhile, the Oakland offense has been stupid hot over the past month, and its lineup has kept them in the playoff hunt recently. However, today the A’s are running into the buzzsaw that is Kevin Gausman, who has been up and down but has a 2.80 ERA in August.
Finally, both bullpens have been rocking recently, with each team ranking in the top 10 in MLB in reliever FIP.
Angels vs. Indians
Kenny Ducey: This stance may wind up costing me some more money, but I believe Reid Detmers to be a good pitcher.
Detmers’ strikeout numbers in his one minor-league season were superb, and his stuff should really translate at this level. He’s dominated everywhere he’s pitched.
At long last, Detmers turned in a good outing a week ago. He allowed just one run on three hits against the Astros with six strikeouts, seeing the results he probably deserved for his profile, which includes a 30% hard-hit rate.
Now, he runs into an Indians club that is all the way in 25th against left-handers and hasn’t packed much of a punch in the second half of the season.
On the other side, we have Triston McKenzie, who has finally seemed to hone his electric stuff in recent months and rediscover how to pitch. He carries a 2.14 ERA in August into a matchup against one of the very worst offenses in baseball at the moment, which has looked rather lifeless (outside of a sweep of Detroit).
Pirates vs. Cardinals
Brad Cunningham: Dillon Peters has only pitched 4 2/3 innings in the big leagues this season, but his career in Major League baseball has not gone well, as evidenced by his 5.30 xFIP.
Peters is a soft-tossing lefty with a low strikeout rate who mainly relies on a fastball-changeup combination. The good news for him is the Cardinals are very average against left-handed pitching (.319 wOBA, 102 wRC+) and do not hit fastballs well (-30.8 run value).
J.A. Happ got traded to St. Louis at the deadline and has been an unmitigated disaster this season, posting a 5.59 xERA and a 5.30 xFIP. His main issue is he’s giving up way too much hard contact, as his hard hit percentage allowed is at 42.9%, which is one of the worst marks in baseball this season for a starting pitcher.
Also, the Cardinals bullpen as a whole is a big-time negative regression candidate. The St. Louis relief corps has the second-worst xFIP in baseball at 4.85 and the worst BB/9 rate at 4.84.
I think the Cardinals are highly overvalued with Happ on the mound, so I think there is some value on the lowly Pirates at +176 and would play it down to +160.
Phillies vs. Padres
Matt Trebby: If you just look at their peripheral stats, there has been no difference this season between Aaron Nola and Joe Musgrove.
Nola has a 3.60 xERA and 3.49 xFIP, while Musgrove has a 3.63 xERA and 3.49 xFIP. The difference is that Musgrove’s actual ERA is 3.11 and Nola’s is all the way up at 4.48.
A .311 BABIP hasn’t helped Nola this season. His strikeouts and walks per nine innings are both solid, with his walk rate the lowest it’s been for him in his seven-year career.
The Phillies right-hander has allowed at least four runs and three walks in two of his three starts in August. Nola seems to either pitch really well or really poorly. In his last eight starts, he’s allowed four or more runs five times and just three combined runs in the other three outings.
The Padres, meanwhile, are in free fall. They have lost eight of their last nine games, and those have come against the Marlins, D-backs, Rockies and these Phillies. They have a very, very difficult schedule to end the season, and they’ve started struggling before they even got there. It’s looking likely that if the Reds can get going, they’ll take over the second National League wild-card spot.