MLB Odds, Picks: Wednesday Best Bets for Twins vs Mariners, Giants vs Reds
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Twins center fielder Byron Buxton.
We had plenty of fun during Wednesday's afternoon window, but now we turn our attention to Wednesday evening.
Our MLB writers came through with four best bets for tonight's games, including three ([) different bets on the Twins and another on the Reds.
Read on for all four of our best bets for Wednesday night.
Wednesday Evening's MLB Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from Wednesday evening's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Giants vs. Reds
By Sean Zerillo
I might have a toxic relationship with Graham Ashcraft. The 25-year-old righty regularly shows up as a model recommendation. He had an under-the-radar rookie season (4.02 xERA in 105 innings) but has seen his groundball rate dip (from an elite 54.5% down to 48.6%) and his home run rate increase (from 0.94 HR/9 to 1.33 HR/9) — causing his xERA (5.51) to implode.
Despite a mediocre K-BB% (career 7.8%), Ashcraft has a high-spin fastball that generally avoids the barrel of opposing hitters. His slider is a pitch model darling (165 Stuff+). It is highly effective (.229 expecting batting average or xBA against the pitch) and the same models like his cutter (114 Stuff+) too, but his sinker (67 Stuff+, .478 xBA) has gotten torched. Ashcraft needs a third pitch to complement his cutter and slider.
Graham Ashcraft's 5Ks thru 5. pic.twitter.com/nJ41UxKaB1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 30, 2023
Ross Stripling is a better pitcher than his underlying results (5.33 xERA) might indicate, but he’s dealt with a significant home run issue (2.36 HR/9) this season. His Stuff+ is down slightly (from 98 to 93) year over year, but Stripling has maintained excellent command (career 5.7% walk rate) and should see better results as his home run rate (26.7% HR/FB rate; 15% career) normalizes.
Still, I see an edge on the Reds in both halves of Wednesday’s contest; bet Cincinnati to -115 in the first five innings (F5) and -110 for the full game.
Twins vs. Mariners
It took some time for Kenta Maeda to build back to his pre-injury levels, but the underlying metrics suggest he's back.
He had a real home run problem early in the season and was briefly on the injured list as his fastball velocity and spin rates across the board really struggled to return. He had Tommy John surgery, so it's not a total shock that Maeda wasn't the same pitcher right away.
Now, Maeda's 3.86 xERA is comparable to where he has been for most of his MLB career. He had the one elite 2020 shortened season, but he had a 3.73 xERA in 2021, a 3.45 in 2018 and a 3.26 xERA in 2019.
His counterpart, Luis Castillo, has seen a dip in his fastball velocity all season long.
The strikeouts are up in general — a change in pitch mix away from a sinker is a major reason for that — but the fastball is more vulnerable at the slightly reduced velocity.
Castillo has been barreled on 9.6% of batted balls and really struggled against lefties because of the slightly reduced velocity and sinker usage. His expected ERA comes in at 3.81, the highest mark of his career since 2018. His average launch angle allowed is also at a career-high.
Castillo is still an effective pitcher; he's just not as good as the market has been pricing him most of the season. I'd bet Minnesota at +125 or better as a result.
Twins vs. Mariners
The Seattle Mariners will be trotting out ace Luis Castillo on Wednesday. Castillo has been great up to this point of the season. It may seem counter-intuitive to back a team going against someone in the 86th percentile in whiff rate, but here we are.
I like the Twins to get on top early in this game, even against a pitcher like Castillo.
When you look at how the Twins have hit Castillo, the decision to back the Twins begins to make more sense. Although we're working with a small sample size, the Twins have slugged for .450 against the Mariners ace.
Minnesota is also slugging .040 points better against right-handed pitching than left-handed, and that advantage also applies to its team batting average, which is .018 greater against right-handed pitching than southpaws.
Kenta Maeda is slated to get the start for the Twins, and he has made this Mariners lineup look. silly. He has over a 40% strikeout rate and 36% whiff rate in nearly 50 battles against the Mariners' bats.
Maeda has kept the Mariners slugging under .350, and I expect more of the same for this midweek matchup.
Twins vs. Mariners
By D.J. James
Luis Castillo has been a great ace for the Seattle Mariners this season, but he's getting a bit too much credit against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night. He'll be facing Kenta Maeda, who has been more of a victim of one sour start than anything else.
However, the moneyline doesn't hold as much value for the Twins as their team total does.
On the season, Castillo has an above-average strikeout rate and walk rate, but his ERA of 2.96 doesn't tell the whole story given his 3.79 xERA. After all, Maeda’s xERA is comparable at 3.85. That point aside, Castillo has worse expected stats than his results because he ranks in the 26th percentile in average exit velocity and the 20th percentile in hard-hit rate. His barrel rate is up nearly 10%, which is his worst mark in the last seven seasons for him.
Minnesota has a 10% walk rate, .798 OPS and 123 wRC+ off of righties since the beginning of July. They also have six batters eclipsing a .320 xwOBA. The majority of their lineup has done well with a righty on the mound, and these six don't include bats like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton or Joey Gallo, who all have power capabilities.
Castillo has allowed three or four runs in four starts over the last two months. Plus, if the Twins shorten his outing, it puts extra strain on one of the best bullpens in baseball.
With that being the case, a team total of 3 (-118) at open is far too low for the Twins. Take their team total to 3.5 (-120).