Wednesday MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Favorite Bets for Rays vs. Red Sox, Dodgers vs. Cardinals & More (Sept. 8)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Wainwright and Harrison Bader
- There's a full slate of Major League Baseball games on the schedule for Wednesday.
- Our analysts have found angles to bet three of our evening games.
- Continue reading for our best bets below for more detailed information.
It’s an action-packed Wednesday in Major League Baseball with a handful of games getting us started in the afternoon before a full slate of evening games.
Our analysts have found angles on three games from the evening slate: Rays vs. Red Sox, Phillies vs. Brewers and Dodgers vs. Cardinals.
Here are our three best bets from Wednesday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|7:45 p.m. ET|
Rays vs. Red Sox
Sean Zerillo: Shane McClanahan is already one of my favorite pitchers in the majors, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I have an emotional attachment to the young lefty because he’s part of the reason I work for The Action Network — in a roundabout way.
McClanahan was one of the first players that I ever scouted from a professional standpoint, and is the first of those players to arrive in the major leagues. I still have the document — which was included among my résumé and other materials when I applied as a baseball contributor — and it’s incredible to see how much he has developed in the past 2 1/2 seasons, post-college, since I created the report.
McClanahan throws harder than any left-handed starter in the major leagues (96.5 mph), and his fastball velocity ranks eighth among all starting pitchers (min. 100 IP in 2021). Still, the offering has produced a negative pitch value at the MLB level, while his two breaking pitches (slider and curveball) have been significantly more effective offerings.
Excellent command (20.6% K-BB%) and a solid groundball rate (45%) has led to a 3.19 xFIP and a 3.58 SIERA in his age-24 season, but a 4.65 xERA undercuts those indicators.
When McClanahan gets tagged, the damage is significant. His hard-hit rate (44.4%) ranks 128th out of 137 qualified starters (min. 80 IP in 2021), among a group that includes Jake Arrieta, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, and Garrett Richards — all pitchers I generally consider to be among the worst pitchers at the MLB level.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi can match McClanahan in command, and his underlying indicators (3.52 xFIP, 3.64 SIERA, 3.50 xERA) are a bit more stable, especially in the context of his larger data sample (3.32 xFIP, 3.45 SIERA, 4.16 xERA in 2020).
McClanahan has the potential to compete for a Cy Young award — maybe as soon as next season — but the Red Sox have the advantage in this pitching matchup, and I projected them as 57.7% favorites for the first five innings (F5) and 55.6% favorites for the whole game on Wednesday.
I would bet those moneylines up to -125 and -115, respectively, and we’ll hope that Alex Verdugo (-6 Defensive Runs Saved in center, +3 in left, +1 in right) doesn’t gift the Rays any additional runs with his adventurous outfield play.
Phillies vs. Brewers
DJ James: Kyle Gibson steps to the mound to face Freddy Peralta in Milwaukee in a matchup where both strong starters will look to rebound from poor outings last time out. Peralta only pitched two innings and allowed four earned, while Gibson went 5 1/3 and allowed eight. Neither had their best stuff, but that should change in this outing.
However, the Philadelphia Phillies get a slight advantage. They own a 107 wRC+ against righties since August 1, while the Brewers are slightly below at 104. Sure, Rhys Hoskins is on the injured list, but that does not stop the rest of the lineup from functioning. Bryce Harper, Brad Miller, and Odúbel Herrera are slugging above .600 since mid-August, which is stellar.
Willy Adames has landed on the injured list for the Brew Crew, so each team is missing a significant bat in the lineup. Manny Piña is also sidelined. Without those two, only five consistent bats in the order are over the 100 wRC+ mark. This give the Phillies their advantage.
Sure, Milwaukee has plenty of firepower, but given how the Phillies are major underdogs, they have great value on the moneyline. Grab the Phillies at +145 and play to +115. This should be closer to an even-money game.
Dodgers vs. Cardinals
|7:45 p.m. ET|
Collin Whitchurch: Adam Wainwright keeps defying both age and his peripherals, now at the age of 40 after having a birthday a little more than a week ago.
After turning in 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the rival Brewers last time out, Wainwright now sports an amazing 2.91 ERA that’s nearly a run lower than his xERA, FIP and xFIP.
At this point in the season, it’s time to stop expecting regression from pitchers and take them more at face value, and at 176 innings, this is the pitcher Wainwright just is in 2021.
Opposing Wainwright is Mitch White, who has been solid in spot-start duty for the Dodgers, but generally can’t go more than three or four innings without giving up a few runs, and LA may overextend him today after using a whopping nine pitchers in a bullpen game on Tuesday.
The Dodgers’ offense scares me enough that I’m staying away from the full-game number, but I think St. Louis has the significant pitching edge here and I’ll bet their first five innings moneyline at any number with a plus in front of it.
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