Nationals Brewers Baseball
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto is safe at home as Milwaukee Brewers catcher Manny Pina is late with the tag during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MLB Best Bests, Aug. 22

As the MLB heads into the home stretch of the regular season, postseason starts to creep in, and for teams inside or just outside of the bubble, each game has greater impact on their playoff dreams. Due in part to the massive payroll gap between organizations, the writing is on the wall for mostly all clubs at this point so it is important to take advantage of some of the blatant late season mismatches. Major League Baseball is a sport that relies heavily on its various categories of statistics, and in the regular season they are a great tool to use for betting, unlike for a game 7 in the postseason where you throw statistics out the window. After analyzing the data, I was able to spot some Sunday locks for this MLB slate.

(Nationals vs. Brewers) (Brewers -1.5)
Beginning with the Brewers, Milwaukee plays at home against a Nationals team that recently cleaned house of their 2019 World Series squad. The current line has the Nats at dog odds of +180 and Milwaukee’s money line is favored at -215. Washington holds a 53-68 record and are virtually eliminated from playoff contention, while their opponent has a record of 74-49, fighting for the NL pennant. So far in this 3 game series the Nationals have been on the winning side, but with the pitching and offense the Brewers possess, don’t expect to see them struggle in yet another big game for them. It’s not bad when you have three starting pitchers with ERAs under 2.5, but also having depth with pitchers like Adrian Houser doesn’t hurt either. Houser is a 4-5 man in the rotation for Milwaukee, but with a 3.55 ERA and 7-5 record he serves as a valuable low man in the rotation. While Milwaukee has been able to hold the 4th best ATS cover percentage this season at 55.3%, Washington has the 5th worst cover percentage at 44.6%. On one side you have players checking out for the rest of the season, and on the other side there’s a team gearing up for a championship run who are hungry for whatever is in front of them. I know which side I’m taking.    

(Pirates vs. Cardinals) (Cards -1.5)
In this NL Central bout, veteran Adam Wainwright takes the hill opposite Stephen Brault for Pittsburgh as the Cardinals play the Pirates. Pittsburgh is the underdog with ML odds of +188 and the Cardinals favored at -225. The Pirates have pretty much been the laughingstock of the league this year and the fact that they’ve been in control of this series is an anomaly. Pittsburgh is ranked last for total offense in the league and their bats are complemented by an even worse pitching staff. Pittsburgh ranks 23rd in opponent batting average, whereas the Cardinals bullpen ranks 8th in that category. Being at home during this time of the season also helps when you’re in the playoff hunt, the Cardinals currently hold a 54.5 win percentage at home this season despite an underwhelming performance to this point. St. Louis has dominated the Pirates all season long so taking them at home with their ace pitcher on the mound, after back to back losses at home against the worst team in the league, is a pretty safe bet.

(Giants vs. A’s) (Giants ML)
In our last pick, Logan Webb gets the ball for San Francisco against Frankie Montas for the A’s in Sunday’s rendition of the Bay Bridge series. The ML for this game is almost at pick’em odds, with both teams being listed at -110. With an excellent WHIP of 1.14 and ERA of 2.9, Logan Webb should be able to hold off the Oakland bats with the mighty San Francisco offense by his side. Opposing pitcher Frankie Montas currently posts an ERA over 4 and let up two runs, three walks, in five innings pitched in his only other game against San Francisco this year. Although Oakland is no slouch of a ball club and the Giants are short road underdogs, they currently hold the best record in the entire MLB. Additionally, anytime there is a sizeable gap in payroll between two teams is a good time to slam the bet button on the wealthier team for quite obvious reasons. The Oakland A’s total expected payroll for 2021 is around $87 million dollars, whereas the Giants organization has a payroll around a cool $160 million dollars. Despite their excellent performance this year, San Francisco currently lies outside the top five in betting future markets for this year’s World Series. While Vegas has continued to count out San Francisco since the beginning of the year, I will remain loyal to the Giants and the evident potential oddsmakers refuse to acknowledge.           

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