MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Tuesday, Including Nationals vs. Cardinals, Tigers vs. Astros (April 13)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Joey Votto celebrates a home run with Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas.
- Five baseball analysts. Four different best bets.
- Check out our staff's top picks below on Tuesday's loaded MLB schedule, which features 17 games.
We have another loaded on Tuesday’s Major League Baseball slate.
Our Action Network analysts have uncovered their four top picks, with two coming from the showdown between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
Let’s take a look at their featured plays, which include first five innings, a run total and moneyline wagers, on the 17-game schedule.
MLB Odds & Picks
Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals
BJ Cunningham: This is a fantastic matchup between two of the best starting pitchers in the National League.
Stephen Strasburg has been one of the most consistent, elite pitchers, because he has yet to post an xFIP over 3.30, which is incredible. His 2020 season was cut short due to injury, but in 2019 opponents were only able to hit for a .208 average off him mainly due to the fact that his curveball and changeup were almost unhittable, yielding a wOBA under .210.
Those were the main two pitches St. Louis struggled against last season. In fact, they were the worst team in baseball against changeups at -19.3 weighted changeup runs.
Jack Flaherty had a breakout 2020 campaign, firmly placing himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He posted an xFIP under 3.5 with a K/9 around 11 last season, which is up there with some of the finest in the game.
He’ll have a great matchup against Nationals’ lineup that was average versus right-handed pitching, ranking 14th in wOBA last season. In addition, Flaherty mainly uses a fastball/slider combination, which are two pitches Washington struggled against last season.
I only have 2.86 runs projected for the first five innings in this game, so I think there is some value on Under 3.5 runs at -105 odds.
Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Ianniello: After allowing six runs through 4 1/3 inning in his Opening Day start, Jack Flaherty looked like his normal self in his follow-up appearance against the Miami Marlins. He went six innings, allowed no runs and just one hit. Flaherty also struck out six en route to the victory. That reminded us more of the guy we saw finish fourth in the Cy Young voting during the 2019 season.
He will oppose Stephen Strasburg who looked exactly as we expected in his first start, allowing no runs and just one hit in six innings of work.
In Monday’s game between these two, the Nationals came away with a 5-2 victory with the score 1-1 after five innings. Washington ranks 28th in the league in runs per game, averaging just 3.14 this season. The Cardinals’ lineup is super top heavy, and Strasburg should completely shut down the bottom half of the order. St. Louis ranks 21st in team batting average, 20th in wOBA and 19t in wRC+ as well.
The Nationals’ roster has just a .190 career batting average against Flaherty, and the Cardinals’ lineup has hit just .240 against Strasburg. You will have to hold your breath any time Juan Soto is at the plate, but I like the starters to keep this total under 3.5 runs against manageable lineups.
Detroit Tigers vs. Houston Astros
Jeff Hicks: The Houston Astros are the best team against left-handed pitching to start the campaign. They’re first in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage (.OPS of course) and Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), according to FanGraphs. The Astros also strike out at the lowest rate against southpaws.
Matthew Boyd has started well for Detroit, but his ERA is 1.5 runs lower than his Expected ERA and and two runs lower than his Expected Fielder Independent Pitching score.
Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox
Sean Zerillo: Tuesday’s state features several high-end pitching matchups, and I’m focused on the duel between 2020 AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and White Sox ace Lucas Giolito, who has finished sixth and seventh in AL Cy Young voting the past two seasons.
Statistically, there is very little separating these two pitchers and Giolito might be the underrated man as a result. Giolito’s xwOBA (.283, .269, .272; career .313) over the past few seasons show he has climbed into elite territory, while Bieber (.288, .246, .315; career .289) has achieved a higher peak, but seems more poised for regression.
Specific projection systems are higher on Giolito than others. Still, the range of outcomes for his projected FIP (2.93-3.90) relative to Bieber (2.86-3.23) shows the pair are relatively comparable, especially if you take a more optimistic view on Giolito due to his early career struggles and more recent breakout.
Since the start of last season, the pitchers rank second and third amongst MLB starters (behind Jacob deGrom) in swinging-strike rate, and second and 10th overall in called strike plus whiff rate (CSW%). Since the midpoint of the 2019 season, Bieber ranks fourth in MLB with a 2.78 xFIP, while Giolito ranks 7th, with a 3.30 xFIP.
I show this as a relatively close matchup over the first five innings — where I make the White Sox a 51.2% favorite — but Chicago should pull away in the later innings due to a reasonably significant bullpen advantage (expected ERA of 3.66 to 4.46).
I made Chicago a 56% favorite in this spot and would bet its moneyline up to -115 (implied 53.5%) at a 2.5% edge.
Cincinnati Reds vs. San Francisco Giants
Matt Trebby: I know Kevin Gausman had a solid 12-game season in 2020 and has pitched well twice this year. Yet, when facing a Reds team that has scored the most runs in baseball and has its ace on the mound, the Giants shouldn’t be favored.
I’m not totally fading Gausman this year. His track record says he’s a good, but not great ,starting pitcher who is dependable and can stay healthy to lead an average team’s rotation.
Castillo, though, has a 3.35 ERA over the past two seasons, and is due for a good start. His 4.60 FIP isn’t great, but indicates some regression to the norm is due in comparison to his 6.97 ERA. Plus, he has that lineup backing him.
You can get the Reds as underdogs at -105 on DraftKings. Given their recent form and ace on the mound, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Play this game to -130 since the wrong team is favored.