MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Reds vs. Orioles, Twins vs. Braves (Monday, June 26)

MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Reds vs. Orioles, Twins vs. Braves (Monday, June 26) article feature image

Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Twins pitcher Sonny Gray.

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.

Reds vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET

Brandon Williamson vs. Cole Irvin

Sean Zerillo: I'm going to go with the Cincinnati Reds but for the first five innings only.

The full-game price target has moved out of my range; I like that down to +125 and bet it at +130 last night. It has moved down closer to +115, but a number that I do still like down to +115 is their first five innings moneyline.

I actually project these two starting pitchers as relatively comparable between Cole Irvin and Brandon Williamson. Irvin has an xERA north of 8.00 this season. Williamson is over 5.00, and that's roughly where he pitched in the high minors, too, before the Reds called him up.

He had expected indicators in the fives and did not have great numbers in Triple-A or Double-A prior to getting the call, but the Reds clearly saw something. He has basically matched those results in the Major Leagues, which is actually better than you would have expected translating to a higher level of baseball.

Williamson has been pretty enigmatic; his Stuff+ is better than what Irvin offers. Irvin offers better command, but these are both below-average starters.

The Reds can throw out nine right-handed bats; they're gonna throw out eight and put Joey Votto in the lineup. The Orioles, in the same way, can throw out nine right-handed bats against Williamson, but I do project the Reds offense as better than the Orioles offense.

The Orioles only have a projected 98 wRC+ for me, and I actually make the Reds closer to 114. Baltimore is a below-average offense, and Cincinnati is an above-average offense. Also, the Reds are the No. 1 base-running team in baseball, and there are hidden advantages there.

Since they brought up Elly De La Cruz, they have a top-four offense in baseball. This team is absolutely electric.

Just going hitter-for-hitter down these lineups, I think the Reds have a deeper lineup than the Orioles do. The Orioles lineup after the four- and five-spots really starts to drop off once you get to guys like Aaron Hicks.

I prefer the Reds lineup in a matchup between two below-average left-handed starters, so give me the Reds in the first five innings at +115.

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Twins vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET

Sonny Gray vs. Spencer Strider

BJ Cunningham: I'm gonna fade Spencer Strider and the Braves, who are the hottest team in baseball, and I'm gonna take the Twins at +190.

Sonny Gray has been pretty good this season. He has overperformed; he has a 2.56 ERA with an xERA of about 3.70. One of the reasons why he's overperformed is because he's only given up two home runs in 15 starts. Eventually, a guy who is below the 30th percentile in average exit velocity allowed and barrel rate allowed will regress.

Especially facing the Braves lineup, it's a little bit concerning, but Gray does have a good pitch mix and good usage of the five pitches he throws. All of them are used at least 15% of the time. If you dig into his Stuff+ numbers, he has a Stuff+ 0f 101, which is above average, and he has three pitches with a Stuff+ of above 100.

The Twins' lineup has been much better against right-handed pitching. They are 12th in WRC+ against righties and 27th against lefties, so it's good they are facing a righty tonight.

I don't know what to make of Strider.

If you look at his Stuff+ numbers, he is by far and away the best pitcher in baseball. His Stuff+ is 127, which is above Gerrit Cole and [Shohei] Ohtani.

However, he's had some shaky starts. He gave up eight runs to the Mets, gave up five to the Tigers, and his last start against the Phillies was pretty good. In the 10 starts before his start against the Phillies, he had given up at least two runs in each.

His xERA is now at 3.36. For context, last season he was almost a full run lower at around 2.30. He's very reliant on his fastball, and it's very good. He's averaging 97 mph velocity on it, but last season he was averaging 98.2, so there has been a little bit of a dip in velocity. Now, he's allowing an expected weighted OBP of .340 on his fastball, when last season he was allowing .280.

Then you look at the bullpen matchup here, and the Twins have the exact same Stuff+ numbers as the Braves. They also have a very similar xFIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio and left-on-base percentage.

I made the Braves -152, so there's some decent value on the Twins. If we had a large, 15-game slate, I don't think I'd be using the Twins as my underdog to fade Strider. But given the short slate, I like the Twins at +190.

Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Monday, June 26

  • Reds F5 +115 vs. Orioles
  • Twins +190 vs. Braves

At FanDuel, this parlay would pay out at +491 at the time of this writing.

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