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MLB Picks For Tuesday, Aug. 16
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San Diego Padres At Miami Marlins
It hasn’t been the best season for Sean Manaea as he has his worst called strike+whiff rate (26.2%) since 2018. His bloated 4.76 ERA does have some bad luck baked in though, as all his estimators are around a 4 ERA. Still, he matches up pretty well here as Miami has the very worst wOBA against left-handed pitching this season. Even that might overstate things as those numbers include much healthier versions of the team that included Jorge Soler and Jazz Chisholm. They’re the worst in MLB against left-handed sinkers and third-worst against left-handed sliders, two of Manaea’s main offerings.
And Edward Cabrera, while a tantalizing talent missing a crazy-high number of bats (14.3% swinging strikes), simply can’t reliably find the zone. His 36.7% zone rate is abhorrent and all of the projections are on board with the idea he can’t throw strikes. He has given out almost six free passes per 9 IP in his career and the Padres have one of the more disciplined lineups. I know they’ve been disappointing since adding Juan Soto but this looks like a good spot for them.
Current best price: Padres
LA Dodgers At Milwaukee Brewers
Early Monday evening, you could find Brewers +105 at Caesars Sportsbook, a price I directed some folks in the Discord to grab. I didn’t have access at the time but still think they’re in play for a small bet around -120.
In any case, they just have a far superior pitcher on the mound here. Ryan Pepiot looks like he’ll also be handing out plenty of free bases here. He has an even worse walk rate than Cabrera, a ghastly 6.53 BB/9. And the Brewers have even more discipline than the Padres, ranking sixth in walk rate with the fourth-lowest O-Swing%. Brandon Woodruff has put together his usual strong campaign and looks about 1.5 runs better than Pepiot in true talent level. Given how much better he is, even with the Dodgers having an edge at the plate and potentially in the bullpen, I had the Brewers closer to -135 here.
Current best price: Brewers
Seattle Mariners At LA Angels
The Mariners came through in somewhat absurd fashion yesterday with an Angels bullpen and defense blow-up. I still like them again today, although Jose Suarez is a bit tough to read. He’s in the midst of a tremendous three-start stretch without a single earned run allowed, but those came against Oakland twice and Kansas City. The last time he faced an offense with a pulse, he allowed 6 ER to the Dodgers. I just have a hard time buying that he’s suddenly a league-average arm. The projections aren’t buying either, estimating he’s somewhere between below average and replacement-level.
If that’s true, the Angels should be in trouble. Robbie Ray has been crushing it since he regained most of his velocity. The Angels have had the worst offense in MLB since Mike Trout got hurt. Lefties have dominated them all season, holding them to an 82 wRC+, third-worst, which includes plenty of Trout games. Throw in the massive bullpen edge here and I had the Mariners closer to -200, but the market doesn’t seem to have an opinion. Perhaps I’m underestimating Suarez.
Current best price: Mariners
Arizona Diamondbacks At San Francisco Giants
My favorite play of the day, which the market has agreed with fully. I was at the head of the Merrill Kelly fan club early in the season, but I have to say, I simply don’t believe in either his 2.95 ERA or even the credit Statcast gives him with a 3.15 xERA. I just don’t see anything different happening to where he’d have a jump in true talent level like that. I’m guessing he’s still around a 3.9 ERA pitcher. And I actually have Jakob Junis a tad stronger than that, contrary to what the projections say. Since leaning more heavily on his slider (he’s at a whopping 53.7% this year), he has been a different pitcher. That slidepiece has the 14th-best run value of any in baseball this year, per Statcast. And if the Giants have a slightly better pitcher on the mound, and surely a better offense (14th in wRC+ vs. RHP, Diamondbacks rank 24th), I can’t see how they aren’t a bigger favorite than the -112 I found on FanDuel last night.
Alas, that price looks long gone and big Giants steam around morning to noon today has cleaned out some of the value here. I still think around -125 is playable, with -130 being the highest price I’d consider.
Current best price: Giants
What to know about using MLB Picks
Generally, when looking over these MLB lines and breakdowns, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, it’s a long season. There will be hot and cold streaks. Swings of 20+ units will happen. While I’ve had multiple winning seasons, there’s no guarantee I’ll come out ahead this year or any other. Always bet responsibly, and always line shop using our MLB page to find the best lines available at legal sportsbooks in your state. That will give you the best chance of turning a profit.
- MLB futures bets from TheLines writers Eli Hershkovich and Mo Nuwwarah
Furthermore, note that because of the process I’ll be using (attacking overnight markets), lines may shift significantly by the time you read this if you’re checking it out on game day. Hopefully the lines have moved in my favor, and if that’s the case – use your best judgment as to whether you still think the bet is as good as the current line.
I’ll base my plays heavily on starting pitchers, like most any MLB bettor. If you want to learn more about baseball so you can do your own handicapping, start with these resources breaking down a variety of useful metrics:
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