MLB Odds, Picks & Previews: Expert Analysis of Wednesday’s Slate, Featuring Orioles vs. Blue Jays, Pirates vs. Cardinals (June 15)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Roansy Contreras
- The Wednesday MLB slate is off and running, but there's plenty more action to be mound.
- MLB betting expert Anthony Dabbundo is targeting a number of key spots on this evening's portion of the slate.
- Continue reading for Dabbundo's full card breakdown and where he's throwing down his money.
All 30 teams in Major League Baseball take the field on Wednesday in a full 15-game card. There’s a handful of games to provide some afternoon action, but nine of the games on Wednesday begin at 7:05 p.m. ET or later.
You can find my colleague Sean Zerillo’s projections for every MLB game in the Action Network App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub (which you should bookmark).
Follow all of Anthony Dabbundo’s bets in the Action Network app! Click here.
Here are some of my favorite angles and games I’m targeting across Wednesday’s evening MLB card.
MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wednesday, June 15
Braves vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET
Spencer Strider vs. Erick Fedde
Atlanta has won 13 consecutive games and looks to complete the sweep of Washington on Wednesday night. They’ll turn to their young flamethrower in Spencer Strider. I wrote about Strider on June 6 as one of the young pitchers who you should be looking to bet on.
Strider has a 140 Stuff+, according to Eno Sarris’s model from The Athletic that measures pitch velocity and shapes to determine potential effectiveness. That ranks first among all starters in MLB. The questions for Strider are his command issues and a lack of a reliable third pitch. But as a five-and-dive type pitcher, Strider can overpower even the best of lineups.
Washington has the 10th-highest chase rate on pitches outside of the zone. While the Nats don’t strikeout a ton because they make contact on a lot of those pitches and have a low whiff rate, Strider’s elite 13.38 K/9 and 15.7% swinging strike rate should be able to generate plenty of whiffs against a Nationals lineup that could well be without Juan Soto again.
Compare Strider — 2.83 xERA, 1.99 FIP, 2.83 xFIP — with his counterpart on Wednesday in Erick Fedde and there’s a pretty massive difference in starting pitcher quality. Fedde has a 4.35 xERA, 4.55 FIP and 4.48 xFIP and doesn’t measure out particularly well with his Stuff+ metrics either with an 84.3 rating.
I would lean toward the under in the first five innings in this game as Atlanta won’t be able to tee off on terrible pitching like it did the last two days against Erasmo Ramirez and Jackson Tetreault. Fedde is at least a competent MLB starter and the Braves‘ offense does have some regression coming with how hot it’s been in the last two weeks.
Strider should also be able to overpower a mediocre Nationals lineup.
Verdict: The number isn’t quite there for me as of writing, but I’d lean to the first five under 5 and play it if you can find an under 5.5 at -120 or better.
Rays vs. Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET
Shane McClanahan vs. Nestor Cortes
Based solely on xwOBA allowed, Wednesday’s pitching matchup is a battle of the two best starters in baseball to date. Nestor Cortes and Shane McClanahan rank first and second respectively with a .258 and .262 xwOBA allowed.
McClanahan has elite stuff with his power fastball that averages 97 mph and he’s improved his command with it. He also has three effective, established secondary pitches that he uses between 15-25% of the time to get hitters out. By any metric you look at, McClanahan is one of the best in the sport right now at 25.
He has the best K-BB% in the sport and is the only one over 30%. The next closest is Corbin Burnes at 26%. He’s reduced his barrel rate down close to league average, improved his groundball rate to nearly 50% and his hard-hit rate allowed dropped 12% compared to his rookie season last year.
Cortes doesn’t have the same stuff that McClanahan does and thus he strikes out fewer hitters, but he’s eighth in the K-BB% rankings and has allowed just a 4.9% barrel rate in 2022. He primarily uses three pitches and hides his low fastball velocity by instead throwing more cutters to keep hitters off balanced.
Given that his fastball sits at 91 mph, I’m a bit skeptical of him maintaining his strikeout rate at its current 28%. His Stuff+ rating is just 94 and his groundball rate is 36.4% this season. The fear with Cortes is that once his strikeouts start to drop again, he’ll get hit harder and allow more balls in the air.
The market is showing a ton of deserved respect for Cortes, but much like I did last week, I’m selling him here against the AL Cy Young favorite in McClanahan.
At +120, I think this game should be lined closer to a toss-up and thus I will take the underdog Rays on the road.
Recommended Bet: Tampa Bay +120 (+115 or better)
Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET
Bruce Zimmerman vs. Jose Berrios
José Berrios has been one of the worst starters in all of baseball to this point in the season and there’s a lot of concerning indicators for him. His xERA is sitting at 5.99, and his FIP and xFIP are both north of 4.20. It hasn’t even been a short-term run of home runs that has cost the Jays righty. His HR/FB rate is right around his career average, hitters are just elevating the ball a lot more against him.
He’s missing fewer bats in the zone — Z-Contact rate is up to 91% from 86% and his swinging strike rate has dropped four percent below league average. His strikeouts are down seven percent, his walks are down and his barrel rate allowed is over 11%. The question is what is really wrong and how fixable is it? On one hand, Berrios’ Stuff+ rating is right around his normal numbers, just a tick lower.
On the other hand, Berrios has always been a bit inflated in the market and that remains true in this situation as a -250 favorite against a Baltimore lineup that has shown signs of life recently.
Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays have shown significant skill development and improvement this season in the middle of the Baltimore lineup with career high barrel rates. Trey Mancini and Cedric Mullins remain dangerous around them as well. Baltimore’s bullpen is also an underrated group and enables them to hang around late if needed thanks to the elite pitching from Jorge Lopez and Felix Bautista at the back end of the bullpen.
Baltimore probably isn’t going to win this game but the number on them is deflated. Pythagorean wins suggest that Toronto has been pretty fortunate to have the record it does and I’m willing to take a small shot on Baltimore at +220 or better.
Recommended bet: Baltimore +260 (+220 or better)
Brewers vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET
Corbin Burnes vs. David Peterson
It’s easy to see a cheap favorite number next to Corbin Burnes’s name and immediately fire on the Brewers right-hander. Burnes has really struggled in back-to-back starts, though. The Padres tagged him for five runs in three innings and then Burnes walked four Phillies and couldn’t get through the fifth inning in his last start.
Command issues are uncharacteristic for the reigning NL Cy Young winner and Wednesday presents an opportunity for him to get back on track. There’s nothing in the underlying numbers that would suggest a drop-off in his stuff, velocity or movement. He’s still second in baseball in K-BB%, has a 3.08 xERA, 3.08 FIP and 2.75 xFIP.
Peterson has produced decent underlying numbers at this point in the season and has a favorable matchup with Milwaukee, too. The Brewers rank just 27th with an 85 wRC+ against southpaws in 2022. It’s not just a small sample, either. Milwaukee had a 90 wRC+ against lefties last season too.
Peterson doesn’t have overwhelming stuff (94 Stuff+) but he has improved his hard-hit rate and barrel rate allowed considerably. Given that two of the Brewers’ best hitters — Rowdy Tellez and Christian Yelich — hit from the left side, Peterson should be able to keep this close in the first five innings.
Verdict: I would have bet the Brewers at the open at -125, but the number has drifted to -135 now and I’m not going to play this unless Milwaukee falls below -130 again.
Pirates vs. Cardinals, 7:45 p.m. ET
Roansy Contreras vs. Jack Flaherty
Happy Roansy day! He’s now allowed five earned runs in his first 20 1/3 innings as a starter in the big leagues. While he has allowed a couple of home runs, the Pirates young prospect has displayed elite stuff and solid command in his time as a starter. Atlanta’s bats were able to get to him in the fourth and fifth innings, but that lineup is considerably better than the one he’ll face for St. Louis on Wednesday.
The Cardinals‘ offense is 22nd in xwOBA, 25th in barrel rate and 28th in hard-hit rate. Outside of the red-hot Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis doesn’t project that well against hard throwing right-handers. The Cardinals win by putting a lot of balls in play but Contreras has the kind of arm that can overwhelm most of their hitters.
St. Louis has a 105 wRC+ against righties this season and was just a 90 wRC+ last year. The Cardinals have excelled in clutch hitting situations this year and that’s not something that’s typically sustainable for the long term.
The Cardinals are boosted by the return of Jack Flaherty to the rotation on Wednesday. He’s battled a shoulder injury throughout most of September 2021 and the offseason. It’s a major question mark how healthy he really is and how effective he will be when he does return.
Flaherty’s underlying metrics in 2020 and 2021 were not particularly inspiring. He had a 5.03 xERA in 2020 and 4.89 xERA in 2021. He saw a steady increase in his barrel rate the last two seasons, was hit harder last year and that led to the inflated underlying metrics.
Given all of the question marks surrounding Flaherty, and the inflated price on the red-hot Cardinals (and ice-cold Pirates), I’m taking Pittsburgh in both halves of this game.
Recommended Bets: Pittsburgh F5 +130 or better, Pittsburgh ML +140 or better
Anthony Dabbundo Betting Card (Wednesday, June 15)
- Pittsburgh F5 (+130 or better)
- Pittsburgh ML (+140 or better)
- Baltimore ML (+230 or better)
- Tampa Bay ML (+115 or better)
- Watching Braves/Nationals F5 under at 5.5 (-120 or better), or under 5 at plus-money
- Watching Milwaukee ML at -130 or better
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