The MLB schedule is a long journey lasting more than half of the year. While that makes it a grind, it also makes it a tremendous betting opportunity. It gives our MLB picks ample time to build a sample and hopefully overcome variance, and it provides the biggest menu of bets (and potential value) when compared to almost any other sport.
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MLB Picks For Wednesday, Aug. 10
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Tampa Bay Rays At Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee has been atrocious hitting lefties all year, which makes sense with the top of the lineup anchored by Christian Yelich and the heavily reverse-splitting Willy Adames. They rank 25th as a team, and Jeffrey Springs provides further menace to them due to his excellent changeup. Lefties with good changeups have bedeviled them all season, and Springs’ is one of the best, accumulating -6 runs per Baseball Savant.
The Rays’ lineup has gotten healthier and looks a little stronger after the changes at the deadline. David Peralta should be a solid addition against right-handed pitchers. Not carrying the likes of Brett Phillips, Roman Quinn and Yu Chang into battle every day will do wonders. They look like the stronger lineup here and Brandon Woodruff, while great, isn’t far enough ahead of Springs to merit being this big a favorite.
My main concern is wondering when the team decides to start limiting Springs. He’s almost doubled last year’s inning count. He has still gone 6 IP several times recently so we haven’t seen any signs of it but it’s something to look out for. An extended look at the Rays middle relief wouldn’t be ideal. The market seems to believe in their chances here but I still like a play down to +120.
Current best price: Rays
Washington Nationals At Chicago Cubs
Justin Steele has been pretty good this season for the Cubs but he doesn’t look appreciably better than Josiah Gray. While Gray’s 4.92 ERA looks ugly, he has a 3.96 SIERA with a very solid 28.8% called strike+whiff rate. As an extreme fly baller, Wrigley Field looks potentially dangerous for him. However, the conditions set up well today with a mild 78-degree temperature and a wind that’s blowing in softly from center. The Nationals have a putrid lineup for sure, but without any meaningful edge on the mound, it’s just hard to get the Cubs up close to a 2-to-1 favorite here, especially after they gutted their bullpen at the deadline.
I got a bit of a rogue number for this one with a +170 at BetRivers on Wednesday morning. That number is now gone and I think at best it’s worth a small play if you can get +155.
Current best price: Nationals
Atlanta Braves At Boston Red Sox
I think I’ve documented Nick Pivetta’s roller coaster of a season pretty well, and his velocity has mostly been down of late. He did have one start a couple of appearances back where he was up closer to 94, but he’s been working 93 or lower in four of his last five. He has been pretty fastball-heavy overall this year, throwing it about 50% of the time, and throwing a 93 mph heater a bunch of times to the Braves seems like a recipe for disaster. Atlanta has hit four-seamers better than any other team this year.
I just think the Braves are better across the board here, and one factor that makes me like them a little more is that both teams spent bullpen bullets heavily on Tuesday. But the Braves just have a deeper group by far, and Kyle Wright has averaged more than 6 IP per start this season. So I think we’re a little more likely to see longer outings by worse relievers from Boston. Particularly so with their two best relievers injured (Matt Strahm) and potentially unavailable (Garrett Whitlock fired 2 IP yesterday).
Current best price: Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates At Arizona Diamondbacks
Back for more pain after the Pirates put forth a couple of somewhat decent efforts but fell short for me two days in a row. I swear this isn’t me ignoring sunk costs. As always for me for about the past month or two, this comes down to Mitch Keller since he switched his primary fastball to a sinker. His triple slash since June 29: 3.29 ERA/3.72 FIP/3.54 xFIP. These are tremendous numbers for a guy with a career 5.32 ERA. I think he’s likely a better pitcher than Madison Bumgarner right now, 3.96 ERA be damned. Arizona’s edge on offense and defense just doesn’t do enough to get to a large favorite for me, so I pounced on the Pirates pretty early yesterday evening even as I endured another loss.
Luckily for everyone else who wants to tail, you’ll be spared this one. The market has come in very heavily on Pittsburgh and I no longer see enough value for a play around +130. At +135 you can consider a smaller-sized wager.
Current best price: Pirates
Minnesota Twins At LA Dodgers
The Dodgers went with a late pitching swap here that substitutes Ryan Pepiot in for Andre Jackson, likely a very good thing for their chances. Even still, I think Sonny Gray is far enough ahead of Pepiot in talent level that the Dodgers should be shorter favorites here closer to -130. Admittedly, this is a difficult spot to handicap as Pepiot’s projections are kind of all over the place, ranging from 4.17 to 4.9. He’s definitely walking way too many guys — 6.61 per 9 at the MLB level this season — and Minnesota will take its walks, ranking tied for ninth in BB%.
Sonny Gray has been his usual excellent self this season. He’s limited hard contact (5.9% barrel rate) while posting an above-average called strike+whiff rate of 29.4%. With the Twins having something close to their full healthy lineup, they aren’t terribly far behind the Dodgers offense (110 wRC+ vs. 121). It’s enough for a play up to +135.
Current best price: Twins
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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