MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 5 Best Bets for Brewers vs. Cardinals, Phillies vs. Diamondbacks & More (Wednesday, Aug. 18)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Our team of MLB betting analysts have targeted four games throughout Wednesday for their best bets.
- The night slate features the Brewers vs. Cardinals and Phillies vs. Diamondbacks.
- Check out their picks and analysis below.
Wednesday’s 15-game MLB slate features five days games and 11 matchups in the evening anchored by a key meeting between the surging New York Yankees and the slumping Boston Red Sox.
With a robust schedule of games to choose from, our analysts have zeroed in on two early matchups and two games at night.
Here are our five best bets from Tonight’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
San Diego Padres vs Colorado Rockies
Mike Ianniello: Monday was a monumental day for both baseball bettors, and science. The Padres officially proved that you cannot kill what is already dead. Just four days after his release from the Cubs, the Padres signed the corpse of Jake Arrieta, who will take the mound at Coors Field where he allowed four runs and three home runs earlier this month.
Once one of the game’s most dominant pitchers, Arrieta has a 6.88 ERA this season (13.83 ERA since July 1) and opposing batters are hitting .315 off of him. He ranks in the bottom 5% of the league in xERA and xwOBA and has been teed off to a 44.9% HardHit%.
For bettors, seeing Arrieta back on the mound is a good thing. He has been one of the most profitable pitchers to fade in the league this season.
This game was initially supposed to feature Austin Gomber opposite Arrieta, but because he was placed on paternity leave, it will be Chi Chi Gonzalez instead. That does give me a little hesitation, but he doesn’t need to pitch well, just better than Arrieta.
We all know that the Rockies’ offensive numbers get a boost when at home, but never to this extent. On the road this year, Colorado ranks last in the league in batting average, wOBA and wRC+ and runs per game, by a fairly large margin. Well in the magical confines of Coors Field, they have been the best offense in the league, ranking first in batting average and wOBA. They lead the league with 5.9 runs per game at home this year.
Over the past 30 days, the Padres offense has been below average, ranking 20th in wOBA and 22nd in wRC+. Even with the boost of Fernando Tatis back in the lineup, it will take more than El Niño to overcome the Día de los Muertos that has become Jake Arrieta Day.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Washington Nationals
Sean Zerillo: I find myself betting against José Berríos pretty often — the data that I use for my model grades him slightly worse than the betting markets — with consistency.
Arguably, he’s been better than ever before in 2021, with career-high marks in strikeout minus walk rate (18.7% vs. 15.9% career), xFIP (3.77 vs. 4.25 career), and SIERA (3.83 vs. 4.18 career), though his expected ERA (4.02) per Statcast, pales in comparison to his 2017 and 2018 seasons (3.73 and 3.42 respectively).
Still, the market typically treats Berríos more like an Ace than a No. 2 type starter, which his underlying metrics support. Much of his value comes from his ability to eat innings (eighth in MLB since 2018) and take the ball with consistency — but he does get overrated on a game-to-game basis.
And I like what I’ve seen from young Josiah Gray, the key pitching piece that Washington acquired in the Max Scherzer and Trea Turner trade. After dominating the high minors, Gray has posted a 31:9 strikeout to walk ratio in five major league outings. The longball (nine HR allowed) has been an issue, but Gray is precisely the type of arm talent you want to invest in as a sizable underdog.
I projected the Nationals around 45% for the first five innings and closer to 46% for the whole game on Wednesday afternoon, and I would play those moneylines down to +135 and +133, respectively.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Kenny Ducey: The Brewers are one of the hottest teams in baseball with seven wins over their past 10 games, and will be put to the test against a St. Louis team that’s making a late push for October with eight wins over that same span. While both have produced at the plate, I think the underlying numbers should tilt this one towards Milwaukee.
The pitching matchup here is rather damning for the Cardinals. Yes, they have one of their best and brightest in Jack Flaherty taking the ball, but he’s been a ticking time bomb.
The righty’s 4.39 xERA casts a dark cloud over his 2.65 real-life ERA, and the reason for that number is the career-high 39.8% hard-hit rate he carries into this start. He’s bailed himself out with a 26.3% strikeout rate, but that shouldn’t be there for him on Wednesday.
The Brewers have struck out just 17.8% of the time over the past two weeks, and turned around with a .216 ISO, meaning Flaherty’s issues with hard contact should loom large, and his strikeouts should come down for this one.
Opposing Freddy Peralta, one of the league’s best strikeout talents, should be daunting, especially with a 21.4% strikeout rate on the other side of the matchup. The Brewers deserve to be steeper favorites.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Brad Cunningham: Jack Flaherty returned from injury this past week and showed why he’s still one of the best young pitchers in baseball, tossing six scoreless frames, while only giving up two hits.
Flaherty utilizes his fastball fairly often, going to is 50% of the time this season, but it’s been his slider and curveball that have been his best two pitches, as they’re both allowing a wOBA under .275 and have a whiff rate over 36%. The Brewers are average at best against right handed pitching (.312 wOBA, 93 wRC+) and they do not hit sliders or curveballs well at all, as they have a -44.6 run value against those two pitches.
I’ll be honest, its hard to find a lot of negatives about Freddy Peralta right now. The 25 year old has posted a 2.50 xERA, 12.22 K/9 rate, and opponents are only hitting .140 against him this season. The Cardinals have been hitting the ball well over the past 30 days (.334 wOBA, 110 wRC+), so I think there is a chance they could get to Peralta.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Collin Whitchurch: Ranger Suárez has been solid for the Phillies since converting to the quasi-opener role at the beginning of August. In three “starts,” he’s gone a combined 10 innings and allowed just one run on three hits, and the first two outings he held the Nationals and Mets hitless. There’s some smoke-and-mirrors going on there, though, as in those 10 innings Suárez has walked six.
Arizona has been a lot closer to league-average offensively over the last month and a half or so, and the Diamondbacks’ for the season have hit southpaws to the tune of a 98 wRC+. I think their offense is actually a bit undervalued as we come down the stretch as their horrendous start to the season is still too fresh in everyone’s memories.
Humberto Castellanos will be making his second start for Arizona and the 23-year-old simply walks too many batters to be trusted to turn a lineup over more than once. The Phillies have also been in the top-half of the league offensively since they started their second-half surge.
This pitching matchup in general portends a lot of scoring. Even if Suárez and/or Castellanos get through three or four innings unscathed, this game is going to be in the hands of the bullpens for a majority of the night, and I don’t trust either unit to get through 5-6 innings against these solid offenses.
I would play the over on 9.5 up to -110.