MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Nationals vs Phillies, Brewers vs Pirates (Friday, June 30)
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: The Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate.
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.
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Nationals vs. Phillies, 6:05 p.m. ET
Josiah Gray vs. Cristopher Sánchez
BJ Cunningham: Give me the Nationals +158. One of Anthony's favorite pitchers, Josiah Gray, has been a slightly below average pitcher this season by all his expected metrics. He has a 4.33 xERA, but he has made improvements. His HR/9 rate in the last two seasons has been over two; he's lowered that to around 1.2 this season.
Gray does rely on a fastball/slider combination, he throws that over 50% of the time, which could work against a Phillies offense that has a -12.7 run value against the right-handed version of those two pitches this season.
Christopher Sánchez will be on the mound for the Phillies. He's been good in a limited sample size this season of only three starts. He's pitched 66 innings in the big leagues, and he's been, between the bullpen and the starting rotation, very average. He's right at a 4.00 xFIP pitcher, which is right around the major-league average.
Projection systems have him at around a 4.40 ERA type of pitcher, so him vs. Gray kind of cancel each other out in a very even matchup.
Sánchez is a ground-ball pitcher. It's sinker, changeup and slider with everything down in the zone. In Triple-A and the minor leagues, his ground ball rate was always over 50%. The Nationals are not only eighth in Major League Baseball in weighted OBP against lefties, but they also have the fourth lowest ground ball rate against lefties.
I think this is a decent matchup for Washington, I hope they ruin Anthony's night, and I like them at +158.
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Brewers vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET
Freddy Peralta vs. Osvaldo Bido
Anthony Dabbundo: The Pirates cashed all three games as pretty sizable underdogs against the overvalued and fraudulent Padres. The Pirates have made a couple of call ups this week. Henry Davis came up and provided a little bit of a spark. He had a couple of big hits and lengthens this lineup.
Bryan Reynolds is expected to play, and he has not played for the last 10 days with an oblique issue. He returns to the lineup, and he's the Pirates' best all-around hitter. That's a huge boost to a lineup that, if you look at it on paper otherwise, is not particularly impressive.
The Brewers had to use all of their high-leverage arms yesterday; for the Pirates, it was pretty much just David Bednar. Bednar would be available today, I'd imagine, even though he threw about 20 pitches yesterday.
I'm interested and intrigued by Osvaldo Bido, the starter for the Pirates. This is why I love Stuff+; if you look at this guy's minor-league track record, you wouldn't be all that impressed. Yet, he comes up to the majors, and he's been a solid starter thus far in his brief outings.
He had a 4.50 ERA in Triple-A, which is not all that impressive, and had real command issues. However, the stuff has always been there. His cutter is excellent, and that's what I'm extremely impressed by and think can neutralize this Milwaukee lineup. It has a 134 Stuff+, with an overall Stuff+ right around the league average for a starter.
Can he project as a 4.50 ERA pitcher going forward? If he can, I love the Pirates +120 or better tonight at home against Milwaukee, who I continue to think is one of the most overrated teams in the league. The projections systems don't really see the strikeouts. They're seeing Bido at 7.19 K/9 and a 5.00 ERA; I think he can be better than that.
If he's beating the projections and he's generally undervalued, then I'm interested enough in Bido tonight to bet on him as a dog.
Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Friday, June 30
- Nationals moneyline
- Pirates moneyline
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