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Wednesday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for White Sox vs. Indians, Cubs vs. Pirates

Wednesday MLB Betting Picks & Predictions: Best Bets for White Sox vs. Indians, Cubs vs. Pirates article feature image

Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Rizzo

  • Looking for a few quick MLB bets for Wednesday's slate? Our staff breaks it down.
  • They're targeting White Sox vs. Indians and Cubs vs. Pirates.

In what has become a rare scene in the 2020 MLB season, we have a full 15-game slate that does not feature a single doubleheader.

As such, our experts have found a few spots worth betting:

  • White Sox vs. Indians (6:10 p.m. ET)
  • Cubs vs. Pirates (7:05 p.m. ET)

Check out our pair of picks plus analysis below.

Note: Odds as of 1 p.m. ET.

BJ Cunningham: White Sox F5 Moneyline (+138) vs. Indians

Lucas Giolito has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. His 3.53 ERA and 3.41 xFIP each ranks 13th in MLB — and it’s due to his fantastic command of his arsenal. He has an incredibly high strikeout rate (11.67 K/9), combined with a very low WHIP 1.03, indicating that his control has been on-point.

Giolito is mainly a fastball/changeup pitcher, and he’s very effective with that combination. This season, opposing hitters have managed only a .180 average against those two pitches, and they’ve produced more than a 30% whiff rate.

Cleveland’s offense has been awful this season, checking in with a .303 wOBA and 86 wRC+, each of which ranks 26th in MLB. In fact, Jose Ramirez is the only Indian with a wOBA over .350.

The Indians have particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, posting a .229 batting average and a .305 wOBA against righties this season. So, Giolito should have a good matchup against them.

Shane Bieber has been the best pitcher in baseball. He leads all qualified starters with a 2.07 xFIP and a 13.94 K/9 rate.

The reason he’s been so good is because he’s made a commitment to throwing his off-speed pitches more often. In 2019, he threw his fastball 45.7% of the time, whereas in 2020 he’s down to throwing it only 36.6% of the time.

His fastball is a little above average — it has average velocity — but he’s been on point with his location. His fastball is producing a 24.0% whiff rate this year, compared to only a 13.7% whiff rate in 2019.

Bieber’s curveball and slider have produced terrific results in 2020. He’s allowed only 13 hits against his curveball and slider, which he’s thrown a combined 399 times. That translates to a .112 batting average against those two pitches.

The White Sox offense has been outstanding this season, accumulating a .341 wOBA and 118 wRC+. They’ve been the best team against left-handed pitching this year, but they’ve been no slouch against righties either. Chicago has a .328 wOBA and 110 wRC+ against righties, which ranks 10th in MLB. Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu have led Chicago offensively, as they both have a wOBA above .400.

The White Sox offense is top five against fastballs and curveballs, so I expect Bieber to feature his cutter and slider a lot tonight.

I have the White Sox projected at +120 for the first five innings, so I think there is some value on them at +138 — especially since they have a much better offense than Cleveland.

Danny Donahue: Cubs vs. Pirates Over 8 (-118)

Whether it be in terms of time or a number of chances, we know how long to expect the games we bet on to last (with the only unpredictable factor being overtime). Football games go 60 minutes, basketball 48 minutes and baseball games go nine innings.

That’s obviously important for betting, and specifically so on totals, which are extremely dependent on the length of the game in question. But in baseball, not all nine-inning games are created equal. In fact, a great deal of them end before the better team gets its ninth at-bat.

This one won’t.

As the road team, the Cubs will surely see the plate at least nine times tonight. And as a road team that’s also the heavy favorite, it should be able to ensure nine plate appearances for the Pirates as well. That bodes well for the over.

Since 2005, games in which the home team was at least a +200 underdog have hit the over at a 56.1% rate (157-123-15). That record improves to 96-64-6 when focused on higher totals (8 or more) that have not fallen since opening (to void out any sharp unders).

For those curious, the same theory applies to unders with the home team listed as a heavy favorite, and the filters reversed accordingly.

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