MLB Odds & Expert Picks: Betting Analysis for Phillies vs. Marlins, Rays vs. Blue Jays and More Wednesday Games
Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays.
- With all 30 MLB teams in action on Wednesday, there's plenty of value on today's slate.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down his projections and shares how to bet three of those matchups, including Rays vs. Blue Jays.
- Check out his picks and analysis below.
Wednesday features a 15-game MLB slate. Nine games begin at 6:40 p.m. ET or later, and I will touch on my favorite bets from the evening slate below.
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Using my projections, where can we find actionable value on Wednesday?
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET
Kyle Gibson vs. Edward Cabrera (full projections here)
The Marlins may have their hands on another young ace in the form of Cabrera — a 2015 international signing who began last season as MLB’s No. 29 overall prospect.
His cup of coffee in the big leagues last season was rough (seven starts, 26 1/3 IP, 5.81 ERA, 8.06 xERA, 5.15 xFIP). Cabrera couldn’t command his arsenal (19 BB, 4 HBP) and seemed like a mechanical mess.
He returned to Triple-A this season and shaved nearly five percentage points off of his walk rate year over year, and he’s returned to the big leagues for 10 starts with improved — albeit spotty — command.
Cabrera has nearly doubled his K-BB% (from 7.5% to 14.4%) over a 10-start sample while displaying electric stuff, highlighted by a 92.6 mph changeup that he throws harder than any starting pitcher in baseball (Jacob deGrom ranks second, at 92.4 mph).
Cabrera has had the 11th-most effective changeup amongst a group of 201 qualified starters on a per-pitch basis. And his slider ranks 20th amongst that same group of pitchers.
How about Edward Cabrera's 96 mph CHANGEUP 😱 pic.twitter.com/cwcR9orBp2
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 1, 2022
Like his teammate, Pablo Lopez, Cabrera throws the changeup to both left-handed (36.4%) and right-handed hitters (30.9%); and the combined usage is nearly a 10% increase relative to last season (from 23.4% to 33.5%).
Moreover, he’s mixed in some sinkers (11.4%) while halving his use of four-seam fastballs (down from 38.8% to 19.6%), to become as dominant as his player card in MLB the Show 21.
Steamer — my preferred projection system for pitchers — is extremely optimistic about the young righty, placing his rest-of-season FIP at 3.89, in line with his 2022 results (3.78 xERA, 4.04 xFIP, 4.06 SIERA).
As a result, I view Cabrera as a superior pitcher to Kyle Gibson (4.38 xERA, 4.11 xFIP, 4.20 SIERA, 12.2% K-BB%), and I favor the Marlins in the first five innings (F5) of Wednesday’s matchup.
While Miami’s offense has been in a funk since losing Jazz Chisholm Jr. to injury (70 wRC+, 30th) — ranking 10% worse than any other team — they are still far superior against righties (74 wRC+) than lefties (58 wRC+), and rank as the much better defensive team as compared to Philadelphia.
I projected Miami as -103 F5 favorites (50.7% implied) and +106 full-game underdogs (48.5% implied) for Wednesday’s contest, thanks to a bullpen advantage for the Phillies (3.4 vs. 4.24 Model Weighted ERA).
You can bet those lines down to +106 (48.5% implied) and +115 (46.5% implied), respectively, with either wager representing an edge of two percentage points or more relative to my projection.
I projected the total as 3.9 and 7.5, respectively, and don’t see value in either the over or under for either half.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
Tyler Wells vs. Patrick Corbin (full projections here)
Wells has been a favorite of the Payoff Pitch podcast all season long.
The 6-foot-8 righty isn’t a big strikeout guy (6.42 K/9). Still, his height creates an awkward downward plane for opposing hitters leading to a healthy number of unproductive outs via the popup (15.8%), the fifth-highest mark amongst 134 qualified pitchers (min. 90 innings pitched) this season.
Command (6.4% walk rate) may be his best skill, and Wells can typically get through six innings with an efficient pitch count. However, Baltimore has handled him with kid’s gloves — particularly of late. He missed time in July and August with an oblique injury but was on a pitch count before hitting the IL.
He was only permitted 34 pitches in his return on Sept. 7 and may not get more than 60-65 pitches on Wednesday. However, that may be enough to get through four innings against a Nationals offense that aggressively puts the ball in play.
Washington sees the second-fewest pitches per plate appearance (3.79) in MLB; only the White Sox (3.78) are more aggressive in their approach.
While the Nationals have swung hot bats since trading Juan Soto (106 wrC+ vs righties, 10th in MLB), Baltimore has crushed lefties over the same stretch (116 wRC+, eighth); and I project their lineup about 7% better in this matchup.
Moreover, I view Wells (3.78 xERA, 4.66 xFIP, 4.58 SIERA) as a significantly better pitcher than Patrick Corbin (6.66 xERA, 4.17 xFIP, 4.32 SIERA).
While the pair carries an identical 11.2% strikeout minus walk rate, they get to that number differently, as evidenced by the StatCast data behind xERA. And although Corbin has been better of late, with a 3.77 ERA and a 4.26 xFIP in his past five starts, he’s still allowed six home runs over that span and a staggering 64 round-trippers in 59 starts dating back to last season.
I trust xERA much more than I do XFIP or SIERA — particularly over a larger sample — because it captures a pitcher’s ability to generate weak contact and limit hard contact.
Wells (18.2% soft contact, 27.6% hard contact) has a clear advantage over Corbin (13.3% soft, 39.3% hard) in those areas.
A career-high 7 K's for Tyler Wells! 👏 pic.twitter.com/rxcp6OgJRh
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 3, 2022
While you should avoid Wells’ strikeout prop for Wednesday given the uncertainty surrounding his pitch count, he should pitch deep enough to substantially impact the F5 outcome.
I projected the Orioles as -158 F5 favorites (61.2% implied) and would bet that line up to -145, at a two percentage point edge compared to my number.
However, I don’t see value in either the full game line (projected -135) or the total in either half (projected 4.51 and 8.5).
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET
Drew Rasmussen vs. Ross Stripling (full projections here)
I was surprised to see how comparable Ross Stripling (3.44 xERA, 3.57 xFIP, 3.60 SIERA) and Drew Rasmussen (3.47 xERA, 3.36 xFIP, 3.55 SIERA) have performed this season; I would have assumed offhand that Rasmussen was having a superior year.
While the latter generates slightly more strikeouts, Stripling limits free passes to a similar degree, and the pair have an almost identical strikeout minus walk rate (17.6% and a 17.5%).
Additionally, they both generate weak contact (14.8% for Stripling, 13.5% for Rasmussen) and limit hard contact (30% and 31.4%) at similar rates, though Stripling does have a slight edge there.
Both pitchers have modified their mix this season. Stripling has eased off his fastball (-9.5% year over year) and curveball (-5.5%) in exchange for more changeups (+11.5%) and sliders (+3.5%); continuing a trend since arriving in Toronto midway through the 2020 campaign:
Stripling has shown reverse splits throughout his career (3.52 xFIP vs. lefties, 4.02 vs. righties), and that has continued this season (3.35 vs. lefties, 3.76 vs. righties).
Rasmussen used to deploy his four-seamer more than 65% of the time but has nearly halved its usage in 2022 (37.2, -27.8% year over year) while adding a cutter (32.8%) to his arsenal. He’s also opted to throw cutters (average 90.5 mph) at the expense of his slider (84.6 mph), with the pair essentially functioning like a fastball-changeup combination relative to one another:
Drew Rasmussen, Nasty 90mph Cutter. ✂️
8th K thru 5. pic.twitter.com/ecf75rb2mz
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 10, 2022
The Blue Jays have the superior offense, particularly against right-handed pitching (116 wRC+, third; vs. 102 wRC+ and 12th for the Rays), and rate as the better defensive team both in the season-long metrics (seventh vs. 15th in Defensive Runs Saved) and in my model.
And the bullpen metrics for the two teams are comparable for the season (14th and 15th in xFIP; eighth and 10th in K-BB%) and in my model.
After factoring in home-field advantage, I’m uncertain why the Jays are a pick’em at home for Wednesday’s contest.
I projected Toronto as a -129 F5 favorite (56.3% implied) and a -122 full-game favorite (54.9% implied) for Wednesday’s matchup. You can play those lines up to -119 and -112, respectively, with either wager representing an edge of two percentage point or more against my number.
However, I don’t see an edge on the total in either half, projecting those at 3.87 and 7.58, respectively.