Monday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Cardinals vs. Brewers, Braves vs. Orioles (Sept. 14)
G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Need some quick MLB bets for Monday's slate? Our staff highlights their favorites.
- Brad Cunningham is on the Braves team total while Sean Zerillo is backing the Cardinals as a short underdog.
A short MLB slate — made even shorter by the fact that it consists of six seven-inning games — will get underway Monday, but that hasn’t stopped our experts from finding a couple spots worth betting.
Here are our favorite baseball bets today, coming from the first of a Cardinals-Brewers doubleheader (5:10 p.m. ET) and Braves vs. Orioles (7:35 p.m. ET).
Note: Odds as of 1 p.m. ET.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
Sean Zerillo: Cardinals Game 1 Moneyline (+104) vs. Brewers
The Cardinals and Brewers will play a pair of seven-inning games on Monday, and I show expected value on the Cardinals for both games, with a larger edge in Game 1. Additionally, I cannot predict the Game 2 bullpens with 100% certainty without knowing the Game 1 result, so I am much more confident in the projection.
For example, if both Devin Williams and Josh Hader pitch for the Brewers in Game 1, the Cardinals chances increase substantially for Game 2.
I set the Cardinals as 57% favorites in Game 1, with Kwang-hyun Kim facing Josh Lindblom. It’s an interesting matchup between two Korean imports, but the former SK Wyverns ace, Kim (.311 xwOBA), has been slightly more effective to date than the 2019 KBO MVP, Lindblom (.318 xwOBA).
Kim primarily relies on his four-seam fastball (46%) and slider (33%), showing less confidence in both his curveball (12%) and changeup/splitter (9%). He’s a soft-tossing lefty who generates a lot of weak contact (91st percentile in hard-hit rate).
Kwang-hyun Kim, Filthy 85mph Slider. 😷 pic.twitter.com/yIqSzMlBG5
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2020
Lindblom has thrown a varied arsenal, with six pitches (fastball, cutter, slider, splitter, changeup and curveball), while recording a healthy 13.6% swinging strike rate. But when he does get touched he allows hard contact (.397 xwOBA on contact), so getting strikeouts is vital.
I’m comfortable with betting the Cardinals in Game 1 down to -115 (implied 53.5%), which represents a 3.5% edge compared to my projected line at -133.
BJ Cunningham: Braves Team Total Over 5.5 (-114) vs. Orioles
Atlanta’s offense has been on fire as of late, checking in with a .405 wOBA and 152 wRC+. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have all been fantastic at the top of the team’s lineup this year. The trio has combined for 35 home runs and 107 RBI, and each of them has a wOBA over .425.
The Braves have done most of their damage against right-handed pitching this year (.366 wOBA), so they should have no trouble against a below-average righty like Jorge Lopez of the Orioles.
Lopez has been floating between the bullpen and the starting rotation for the entire length of his career. He’s a below-average righty in this league (4.74 career xFIP), who mainly goes with a curveball-fastball combination. None of his pitches were really that effective last season, as he allowed a wOBA above .340 on all but his curveball.
Lopez was also terrible in his last start against the Mets, giving up five runs on six hits in only 4.2 innings of work. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to improve against the best offense in baseball. The Orioles also traded away their best two relievers at the trade deadline, and ever since then things have gone downhill. Baltimore’s relievers now have a 5.15 xFIP over the past two weeks, which is the fifth highest in MLB. So, the Braves should be able to feast on the depleted bullpen.
I have the Braves projected for 6.89 runs today, so I think there is plenty of value on their team total of over 5.5 runs at -114.