Wednesday brings with it a full day of baseball, with plenty of afternoon games followed by a jam-packed slate in the evening.
Our analysts have their eyes on four games in particular, including an afternoon game between the Reds and Diamondbacks and wrapping up in California as the Angels and Dodgers match up once again.
Here are our four best bets from Wednesday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Cincinnati Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Sean Zerillo: The Diamondbacks represent my most significant projection edge on Wednesday’s slate for the first five innings (F5) and the full game.
I view Zac Gallen (2.95 xERA, 3.86 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA) as a superior pitcher to Luis Castillo (3.23 xERA, 3.58 xFIP, 3.81 SIERA) — though not necessarily by a wide margin. And I project these two bullpens as relative equals.
However, I do project Arizona’s lineup as the better one — both offensively (by 0.3 runs per game) and particularly defensively, where I add between 1.5% to 2% to their win probability for this matchup.
The Reds have been one of the worst defensive teams in baseball for several seasons, and that trend has continued into 2022 (24th in Defensive Runs Saved or “DRS,” 23rd in Outs Above Average or “OAA”).
Conversely, Arizona has typically ranked as an above-average defensive club in the past decade (though not in 2021), and has excelled this year, too (13th in DRS, 4th in OAA).
Rookie Alek Thomas has been particularly impressive, turning the D’backs from arguably the worst team in center field (30th in DRS, 28th in OAA) in 2021 to a top-10 team up the middle of this season — and he’s only played in 53 % of their games.
Moreover, Christian Walker (+9 DRS, +7 OAA) ranks as the best defensive first baseball in the league, on top of his 16 homers.
While the Reds have played much better baseball after their abysmal April (20-21 since May 1), I projected the Snakes F5 line at -158 (61.2% implied) and their full game line at -141 (58.5% implied) — a substantial difference relative to listed odds at -120 (54.5% implied) in either half.
You can bet those lines up to -145 and -130, respectively, with either bet representing a two percent edge compared to my projection. However, I have a larger bet on the F5 line at a more significant edge.
Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals
Jules Posner: The Atlanta Braves go for a 14th-straight win Wednesday night and I don’t see why they won’t go ahead and do it. They’re absolutely on fire and the Washington Nationals are still rubbing two sticks together trying to create a spark.
Spencer Strider has stepped into the Braves’ rotation and excelled. As a starter, he’s posted a stingy 2.57 ERA and a 2.92 FIP. He’s also backed by one of MLB’s best bullpens.
On the other side, Erik Fedde has struggled at … everything. His 5.02 home ERA and 4.74 home FIP do not inspire much optimism that he can cool off a scorching hot Braves’ offense.
The Braves’ offense has been the best unit against RHP on the road over the past three weeks. The Nats’ offense has put up respectable numbers at home against RHP over that same time period, but the Braves have already kicked it into another gear.
Presently the Braves’ run line is in the -115 range and should be taken to the -120 threshold.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs St Louis Cardinals
Anthony Dabbundo: Happy Roansy day! He’s now allowed five earned runs in his first 20 1/3 innings as a starter in the big leagues. While he has allowed a couple of home runs, the Pirates young prospect has displayed elite stuff and solid command in his time as a starter. Atlanta’s bats were able to get to him in the fourth and fifth innings, but that lineup is considerably better than the one he’ll face for St. Louis on Wednesday.
The Cardinals’ offense is 22nd in xwOBA, 25th in barrel rate and 28th in hard-hit rate. Outside of the red-hot Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis doesn’t project that well against hard throwing right-handers. The Cardinals win by putting a lot of balls into play but Contreras has the kind of arm that can overwhelm most of their hitters.
St.Louis has a 105 wRC+ against rights this season and was just a 90 wRC+ last year. The Cardinals have excelled in clutch hitting situations this year and that’s not something that’s typically sustainable for the long term.
The Cardinals are boosted by the return of Jack Flaherty to the rotation on Wednesday. He’s battled a shoulder injury throughout most of September 2021 and the offseason. It’s a major question mark how healthy he really is and how effective he will be when he does return.
Flaherty’s underlying metrics in 2020 and 2021 were not particularly inspiring. He had a 5.03 xERA in 2020 and 4.89 xERA in 2021. He saw a steady increase in his barrel rate the last two seasons, was hit harder last year and that led to the inflated underlying metrics.
Given all of the question marks surrounding Flaherty, and the inflated price on the red-hot Cardinals (and ice-cold Pirates), I’m taking Pittsburgh in both halves of this game.
Los Angeles Angels vs Los Angeles Dodgers
DJ James: Both of these two teams have struggled over the course of the last month. After eking out a win on Tuesday, the Dodgers remain tied with the Padres in the NL West standings.
Both of these teams have had some trouble hitting left-handed pitching, and there just happens to be a pair of southpaws on the mound tonight. Since the beginning of June, the Dodgers hold a 102 wRC+, while the Angels rank 26th with 76 wRC+. That is absolutely abhorrent and Tyler Anderson is pitching so well, they may not be able to force too many runs across home plate.
One hindrance to possibly taking the under in this game is that the Angels’ bullpen has a 4.06 xFIP in the last month. Still, they have enough arms to supplement what should be a solid start from Reid Detmers.
Take the under in this game. Play it to 8 (-110).