MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Mets vs Royals, Brewers vs Nationals (Tuesday, August 1)

MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Mets vs Royals, Brewers vs Nationals (Tuesday, August 1) article feature image

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Royals douse Kyle Isbel.

The Payoff Pitch podcast MLB experts break down their favorite picks from the day's slate every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, including each analyst's favorite underdog on the slate, and they've got two more to recommend today.

You can read about their picks below, and be sure to subscribe to Payoff Pitch for MLB picks and predictions all season long.

Mets vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET

José Quintana vs. Zack Greinke

Sean Zerillo: I like the Kansas City Royals. Today is the trade deadline, and they are playing a team in the Mets that is going to sell. If anything, the Mets are more likely to harm their roster than the Royals are, specifically for today's game.

Trading Justin Verlander wouldn't impact today's game, but if they deal any of their bullpen pieces or deal away Tommy Pham with Mark Canha already gone, they will be left without outfield depth and the potential to pinch hit in late innings. These rosters will be more comparable if the Mets deal more pieces.

Really, this bet is against José Quintana, whose velocity and Stuff+ are down relative to previous seasons. It's kind of easy to forget that Quintana, prior to his resurgence last season, was sort of falling out of baseball. His ERA and xERA climbed really high, and he had moved well away from the All-Star form he was in earlier in his career with the Cubs. The underlying metrics were still OK, and it seemed he was largely getting unlucky.

At the same time, he had been shifted from the rotation to the bullpen and was having difficulty finding a major-league job, which is why he ended up in Pittsburgh. He had a resurgence last year with the Pirates, got traded to the Cardinals, and got a nice contract with the Mets. Then he got hurt, and now his velocity is down a tick, and his Stuff+ is down relative to last season.

Under the hood, Zack Greinke has the better pitch modeling metrics. That's scary to say, because his career ERA and xERA are both above five. However, his pitch modeling metrics are better than what Quintana has shown this year. I still make Quintana the better pitcher, but the Royals' offense has actually been hitting for the past few weeks.

Bobby Witt Jr. is getting hot, and the rest of the offense is actually scoring runs. We've cashed a bunch of tickets on the Royals of late, and I really have not minded betting on them. They swept the Twins, and I was on them in two of the three games.

I like the Royals here down to +127 or better. I have them at +116, and that's before the Mets may deal off more pieces. I have the Royals today as an underdog playing a favorite that is likely to sell.

Brewers vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

Freddy Peralta vs. Josiah Gray

Anthony Dabbundo: The Nationals are certainly sellers, but I'm not sure what they have left to sell. They traded Jeimer Candelario, and they could move a reliever. Lane Thomas doesn't appear to be moving; they will keep him because he's under control.

I don't think the Nationals have a ton else left to give to other teams, besides maybe Hunter Harvey or Kyle Finnegan. I don't believe the deadline has a meaningful impact on the game tonight.

The Brewers could also buy, but none of the players they buy today would play tonight. They already acquired Mark Canha, but this offense has been such a house of cards all season long. You're kind of seeing the weaknesses now; when Corbin Burnes is just a little bit off in a start, they just don't have the offense to separate from Washington and Jake Irvin. For the season now, they are a bottom five offense in all of baseball, and they are the worse offense in this game.

Freddy Peralta just had his best outing of the season and arguably one of the best outings of his career. He struck out 13 Reds in that game last week, when the Reds struck out 18 times as a whole. However, he's been really Jekyll and Hyde. So which Freddy Peralta are we gonna get?

Just last week against the Braves, he gave up two homers, six runs and three walks. The command has still been a bit of an issue for him at times. He walked two or three batters per game in each of his last eight starts before his career outing against the Reds. You really just don't know what you're gonna get from Peralta on a game-to-game basis.

On the other hand, Josiah Gray is a guy who I'm surprised doesn't have better stuff than he actually does. When you look at the Stuff+, it really doesn't grade out all that well. Then you watch him pitch, and you look at his underlying whiff rates, which have gone in the right direction for him.

The underlying numbers have improved generally; his swinging strike rate was 14% in 2021 and is still holding at 12% this year, which is encouraging.

I really don't think there is enough here for Milwaukee to be a huge road favorite. Give me the Nationals at +130 or better.

Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Tuesday, August 1

At FanDuel, this parlay would pay out at +434 at the time of this writing.

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