MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: 2 Best Bets for Saturday for Marlins vs. Braves & Orioles vs. Angels (July 3)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Cedric Mullins.
- No holiday weekend in the summer is complete without baseball, and our experts are here to help make some money.
- Sean Zerillo is getting the afternoon started by looking at Marlins vs. Braves in Atlanta.
- And then, D.J. James is wrapping up the night with the Orioles and Angels playing in what he anticipates to be a high-scoring game.
No Fourth of July weekend is complete without some Major League Baseball, and Saturday could bring some early fireworks with 15 games scheduled throughout the day.
Our staff is focusing on Marlins vs. Braves to start the afternoon, and then turning to Los Angeles for the Orioles vs. Angels game to cap off the night.
MLB Odds & Picks
Marlins vs. Braves
Sean Zerillo: Sandy Alcantara is a pitcher who I’ve backed consistently this season since he tends to get underrated in the betting markets.
The 25-year-old righty ranks 14th amongst qualified starters this season with a 3.23 xERA, with increased changeup usage (up 16.3% year over year, to 26.4%) driving his success.
Alcantara throws the hardest fastball (average 97.8 mph) amongst starting pitchers outside of Jacob deGrom. Yet, he’s throwing his fastball and sinker (combined 48.3% usage) less frequently than ever before — a decrease of more than 7% vs. his career mark.
The revamped pitch mix is allowing both his slider and changeup to play up. Alcantara’s slider ranks 20th amongst qualified starters on a per-pitch basis, and his changeup ranks eighth in offspeed pitch value, just behind deGrom.
Increased changeup usage has also led to an increase in Alcantara’s groundball rate (to 53.3%, +6% vs. his career mark), and if he can find a way to bump his strikeout rate one more level, then he’s going to end up in a future Cy Young discussion.
Orioles vs. Angels
DJ James: Alex Cobb versus Jorge López is not necessarily a matchup of aces. With the top-heavy Los Angeles Angels taking on the Baltimore Orioles, offense should be overwhelming for both pitching staffs, but can they hit over the total?
For one, most casual baseball fans only know the Orioles by a few names. Their 27 wins are nothing to write home about, but they have a few weapons against right-handers in Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle and Trey Mancini.
Unfortunately since June 1, only three starters sport over 100 wRC+ facing righties, so missing a guy like Freddy Galvis hurts. Mancini has been slumping, but Maikel Franco has filled into those shoes nicely. However, with a subpar starter like Cobb on the hill for the Angels, the Orioles offense should be just fine. They are used to battling the tops of the league in pitching from the rest of the American League East. Cobb does not fit into that tier.
The Angel bullpen only maintains a 4.73 ERA with a 4.43 xFIP. Having used five key relievers in Friday’s 8-7 win, they are strapped for innings if Cobb struggles.
The Angels are known for their lineup, so this should be no contest to get runs off of López. They have six batters over 100 wRC+ in June against right-handers. Jared Walsh, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton all eclipse the 180 mark. Those three alone should be able to propel this team over five runs with their torrid hitting months, but the lineup is complete, and Baltimore’s bullpen, like Los Angeles’, is below average.