Saturday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Reds vs. Indians & Phillies vs. Braves (May 8)
Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Anderson
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A short moneyline favorite. A first five innings angle.
Our crew of MLB betting analysts have done your Saturday homework to identify the best values on the board. Find their picks for Reds-Indians and Phillies-Braves below.
MLB Odds & Picks
Reds vs. Indians
Tanner McGrath: Luis Castillo has not been the ace of year’s past. In fact, he’s been downright terrible this year.
He’s made seven starts this season and has gone further than five innings just once while posting a 6.07 ERA, a 4.66 FIP and a 1.62 WHIP. After two straight seasons of striking out 11 batters per nine innings, he’s striking out just seven per nine innings this season and his whiff rate is way down.
Meanwhile, Aaron Civale hasn’t been an elite pitcher, but he’s been very consistent in the Indians’ rotation. He has yet to go shorter than 5 1/3 innings this season and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in five of his six starts.
Every time he’s on the mound, Civale gives the Indians a chance to win. Saturday should offer an especially good chance, because while Castillo has been terrible, the Cincinnati lineup has been equally as bad. Over the past two weeks, Cincinnati has posted just a .635 OPS and a 75 wRC+, both second-worst in MLB.
Additionally, even if Civale struggles, the Cleveland bullpen will be there to shut down the struggling Cincinnati offense. The Indians’ relievers have posted a 3.04 FIP and a .94 WHIP over their past 50 relief innings.
Finally, there are three MLB PRO Report signals indicating there’s value with Cleveland, including sharp money, where the Indians ML is receiving just 63% of the tickets but over 90% of the handle (check real-time public betting data here).
I love the Indians as short home favorites. PointsBet is offering the best line as of writing (-116), but I would be willing to bet them up to -125.
Phillies vs. Braves
Kenny Ducey: Vince Velasquez has been an absolute disaster so far this season, walking an unsightly 15.5% of the hitters he’s faced, coupling that with a horrific 40.4% hard-hit rate. He’s somehow allowed six barrels already despite pitching just 18 1/3 innings, and has been an auto-fade all season long.
I’d already be looking to take the Braves in this spot, but the fact that they have one of my favorite young pitchers going on Saturday in Ian Anderson makes me even more inclined to do so.
Anderson hasn’t been quite as dominant yet in 2021 as he was in 2020, but his swing-and-miss stuff has still been there, and as a result he’s still seen a good number of strikeouts. His problem has been that his fastball has yielded more hits this season, but the Phillies aren’t a very good fastball-hitting team, with just a few guys sitting above-average against the pitch.
The Braves, on the other hand, are top-10 in walk rate and have great lifetime numbers against the blowup risk that is Velasquez.
There’s a clear edge here, and Anderson should start to turn his season around against an offense that’s been wildly inconsistent. I’ll take the first five innings to bet on both these starters.