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Tuesday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Bets for White Sox vs. Pirates, Marlins vs. Braves, More (Sept. 8)

Tuesday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Bets for White Sox vs. Pirates, Marlins vs. Braves, More (Sept. 8) article feature image

Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Sixto Sanchez

  • Looking for betting picks for Tuesday's MLB slate? You're in the right place.
  • Our experts have made picks on three more of tonight's games: Rays-Nationals, White Sox-Pirates and Marlins-Braves.
  • Check out our top picks and betting analysis below.

Another day of doubleheaders in baseball means another more-than-full slate through which bettors can sift. Tuesday’s docket brings with it 18 games, and our experts have come up with four top spots on the following matchups.

  • Twins vs. Cardinals Game 1 (3:15 p.m. ET)
  • Rays vs. Nationals (6:05 p.m. ET)
  • White Sox vs. Pirates (7:05 p.m. ET)
  • Marlins vs. Braves (7:10 p.m. ET)

Note: Odds as of 12:45 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.

Danny Donahue: Twins vs. Cardinals Under 6.5 (+105)

A combination of power ratings and historical trends brings me to this Twins-Cardinals Game 1 under.

Starting with the former, Sean Zerillo’s projections suggest a total of 5.8 in this game, giving a pretty strong edge to a plus-money bet at 6.5. And while that alone would probably be enough to put me on this play, combining with our PRO System, Contrarian Unders for Winning Teams, makes it my top spot.

Since 2005, games between two teams with winning records that have seen the under receive no more than 35% of bets have hit the under 55.1% of the time on a sample of more than 1,600 games. This afternoon’s matchup is getting just 28%, which gives it a pretty good chance of closing as a system match.

BJ Cunningham: Rays Team Total Over 5.5 (+112) vs. Nationals

Anibal Sanchez has been an unmitigated disaster so far this year. In his seven starts so far in 2020 he’s posted a 6.48 ERA and 5.58 xFIP. At 36 years old, Sanchez is clearly way past his prime and it’s showing, as he’s having real difficulty getting batters out and keeping the ball in the yard.

His WHIP is all the way up at 1.80 and his HR/9 is up at 2.43. His split-finger and changeup are his only two pitches that have been somewhat effective, as the rest of his arsenal is allowing a wOBA above .400.

Tampa Bay’s offense has done most of its damage against right-handed pitching this season, producing a .327 wOBA and 109 wRC+. It’s also been hitting the ball fairly well over the past two weeks, slugging 20 home runs and accumulating a .323 wOBA. Brandon Lowe has led Tampa Bay’s offense this season, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 28 runs, which is double the output of the next closest Ray.

I have the Rays projected for 6.17 runs tonight, so I think this is a good opportunity to pick on Anibal Sanchez and take the Rays team total of over 5.5 runs at +112.

Collin Wilson: White Sox vs. Pirates Under 9.5 (-106)

Another White Sox total comes under target, but this time it will be an under in a game with the Pirates. With a 13-26 record that puts them nine games out of the NL Central, the Pirates may pack it in for the season if their offense has not already. They are dead last in wRC+ and ISO against right-handed pitching, and to compound their offensive problems, they have the second lowest walk rate, making Dylan Cease a viable streaming target in any format.

Chicago is not nearly as potent against right-handed pitching against southpaws. A wRC+ that ranks 11th is still above MLB average, but a strikeout rate of 25.2% may be in play against Joe Musgrove. The Pirates righty has a boost in strikeouts per nine against career norms at 10.7. An xFIP of 4.47 is much lower than Musgrove’s 6.62 ERA, making him a candidate for positive regression.

Sean Zerillo: Miami Marlins F5 Moneyline (+100) vs. Braves

The Miami Marlins (18-18) have been one of 2020’s most pleasant surprises, and their success has been largely driven by strong starting pitching and team defense.

Miami’s offense has posted only an 88 wRC+ (23rd in MLB) while its bullpen ranks 28th with a 5.43 xFIP, but its starting pitching ranks 12th with a 4.32 xFIP, and they have +15 defensive runs saved in 2020; third-most in the National League.

Sixto Sanchez has only made three starts at the MLB level, but the 22-year-old righty, who was acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade alongside Jorge Alfaro, is already looking like a top-of-the-rotation arm after beginning 2019 in High-A ball.

MLB’s No. 22 overall prospect is averaging 97.8 mph on his fastball — a number only bested amongst starting pitchers by the two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom (98.5 mph).

His secondary stuff includes a changeup (89 mph), slider (89 mph) and curveball (84.2 mph), but the fastball velocity and the movement on his changeup makes it a special combination:

Sixto Sánchez, Dirty 90mph Changeup…and K Pose.

I love this dude. ♥️

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 3, 2020

It’s reminiscent of the dominant fastball-changeup combination for Reds’ starter and former Marlins’ farmhand Luis Castillo, who ranks just below Sanchez in fastball velocity amongst starting pitchers. But Sixto also has better breaking stuff than Castillo, and his command is more refined at a younger age.

I project the Marlins at 62.3% in the first five innings on Tuesday. I would bet their F5 moneyline up to -140, and I would make a small play on their F5 spread (+0.5) up to -140 too.

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