MLB Betting Odds, Breakdown: Our Expert’s Top Picks for Wednesday, Featuring Cardinals vs. Braves, Giants vs. D’backs, More
Harrison Barden/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Cobb.
Twenty eight of 30 teams in Major League Baseball take the field Wednesday in a nearly full 14-game card. There’s four day games beginning at 1:10 p.m. ET as the Guardians visit the Tigers, but 10 of the games on the Wednesday card begin after 6:40 p.m. ET
You can find my colleague Sean Zerillo’s projections for every MLB game in the Action Network App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub (which you should bookmark).
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Here are some of my favorite angles and games I’m targeting across Wednesday’s evening MLB card.
Nationals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
Josiah Gray vs. Aaron Nola
There’s a lot of lineup uncertainty in this game because of injuries to both Nelson Cruz and Juan Soto for Washington. Soto didn’t start on Monday against Miami, but he did appear as a pinch-hitter. He didn’t play at all against Philadelphia on Tuesday and Cruz was a late scratch from the lineup.
The Nationals lineup lacks depth to begin with, but the absence of Soto and Cruz makes it difficult to expect a lot of runs from the Nationals. With that being said, it’s very hard to get a total as low as eight at Citizens Bank Park.
— Ballpark Pal (@BallparkPal) July 6, 2022
Throw in favorable conditions for offense in one of the bigger hitters’ parks and a pretty average pitcher in Josiah Gray and I have to look at the over. Gray has been better of late, but he’s still an extreme fly-ball pitcher. The Phillies lineup may not have Bryce Harper, but they have plenty of hitters who can get the ball into the hot, humid air at Citizens Bank Park.
Gray’s 30% ground-ball rate is a recipe for disaster on Wednesday night in Philly. Gray also still has a below average K/BB% ratio, in part because his command is below average and he walks too many hitters.
Aaron Nola has been one of the best pitchers in the National League, but he too has a tendency to run into some home run trouble when he’s a bit off. Despite elite K-BB% ratios and a near career-low xERA of 2.83, Nola’s barrel rate allowed remains below average.
Recommended bet: Over 8 runs (-110)
Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET
Luis Severino vs. Mitch Keller
Betting baseball every day means that you’re bound to run into these kinds of situations where you’re betting the Pirates — one of baseball’s worst teams — against the Yankees — baseball’s best team — on consecutive days. And that is exactly the case for me here. The Yankees have won 72% of their games at this point in the season, an unsustainable winning rate that would have them as the best team in MLB history.
The Pirates opened +200 on Tuesday night before they were bet down to around +160 at the close, a clear sign that the Yankees are being overvalued in the opening markets. The same is true on Wednesday.
Luis Severino is considerably better than Jameson Taillon, who started on Tuesday. But Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller has made significant improvements in the last six weeks too, since he added a sinker to his repertoire.
Keller has a 5.14 ERA for the season, but all of his underlying metrics are considerably better than that, nearly a full run better across the board. His xERA is 4.41, xFIP is 4.36 and FIP is 4.04. He’s due for some positive regression and has been seeing that with his new sinker.
Keller has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in the last six starts and the new and improved Keller isn’t being correctly priced into the market. Even if you consider that Severino is about a run better per nine innings, that doesn’t get you to the current prices being offered on the Pirates at home. Those starts for Keller included two runs allowed against the Dodgers, one earned run against the Giants and two runs conceded to the Cardinals.
The market has once again come down on Pittsburgh right to the range where I’d no longer see value on them. I’m splitting a unit on the Pirates in both the first five innings and full game on the moneyline.
Recommended bets: Pirates ML +165 or better | Pirates F5 ML +165 or better
Cardinals at Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Miles Mikolas vs. Max Fried
Max Fried has established himself as one of the premier starters in the National League, but he has a very difficult matchup on Wednesday night against St. Louis.
The Cardinals have a 121 wRC+ against left-handed pitching, which is the second best mark in MLB. Most of the Cardinals top power hitters — Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and, to a lesser extent, Juan Yepez — have crushed southpaws all season. Fried has cut his walk rate down to 4.0%, a career low and maintained his slightly above average strikeout and whiff rates.
But the Cardinals have seen plenty of good lefties this year and mashed most of them. When they saw Giants lefty Carlos Rodón, they tagged him for eight runs in May.
This game also represents an excellent buy low, sell-high opportunity and the price is clearly inflated on Atlanta after the Braves’ recent dominance. Not only did the Braves thrash the Cardinals in the first two games of the series, but they’re the hottest team in the league right now. There’s a big difference in the quality of starting pitching for the Cardinals in this game too. Instead of two of the worst regular starters in MLB — Dakota Hudson and Andre Pallante — Mikolas has solid underlying numbers that play well to his defense.
Mikolas doesn’t strike out many batters but he does have elite control and above average hard-hit and barrel rates allowed. The Cardinals also haven’t used either of their two best relievers in the last three games, which is different than Atlanta and could blunt the bullpen edge the Braves have in the later innings.
Even though Atlanta has the better bullpen and better starting pitcher, the handedness splits are enough for me to take a shot on St. Louis.
Recommended bet: Cardinals +150 or better
Giants at Diamondbacks, 9:38 p.m. ET
Alex Cobb vs. Merrill Kelly
Happy Alex Cobb day! The Giants right-hander is the current unluckiest pitcher in all of MLB to this point. Cobb has a career high strikeout rate and a very low walk rate. Given that K/BB% is one of the most predictive pitcher metrics after 60 innings, you’d expect Cobb to have an ERA around 3.00. He ranks 28th in baseball amongst starters in K-BB% but has an ERA of 4.59.
Cobb has both an xERA and xFIP under 2.70 and even though his stuff has dropped off a bit since returning from injury, you’d still expect him to be a 3.00 ERA type pitcher given his peripherals. But Cobb has an unsustainably high BABIP allowed of .352 (career average .294) and a ridiculously low strand rate of 57.8% (career average 71.4%).
The Giants defense won’t do him any favors, but he keeps enough balls on the ground and his bad luck extends well beyond bad defense at this point.
Cobb is countered by Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly, another favorite of mine to bet on this season. Kelly doesn’t have great stuff overall, but he’s displayed solid command this year and a slightly above average 100 Pitching+.
Kelly does have some home run regression coming, though, as he’s looking at just 0.59 HR/9 and a 6.5 HR/FB rate. Both of those will increase and his ERA will likely inflate a bit. But Kelly’s peripherals and barrel rates are both that of a pitcher who should be around a 4.00 ERA.
We’ve got two bets on pitchers for me in this game and I’m going to take the under because of that. Arizona has really struggled with right-handed pitching as well. The Giants bullpen is a mess right now, too, but I’m comfortable backing Cobb over Kelly in the first five innings.
Recommended bets: Giants F5 ML (-135 or better) | Under 8.5 runs (-115 or better)
Anthony Dabbundo’s Bets (June 30)
- Giants F5 ML (-135 or better)
- Giants/Diamondbacks Under 8.5 runs (-115 or better)
- Cardinals ML (+150 or better)
- Phillies/Nationals over 8 runs (-110 or better)
- Pirates ML (+165 or better)
- Pirates F5 ML +165 or better