St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jon Lester
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jon Lester throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

MLB Best Bets, Aug. 30

While it may be tempting to overlook the daily MLB betting slate because of the kickoff of football season, things are really heating up in the sport and there are always interesting matchups to make serious bread on. Aside from the traditional moneyline and runline plays, plenty of props for MLB games show a lot of potential for big money. There are a lot of valuable lines on the books that it’s hard to pick just a few, so strategically diversifying the types of bets out there can work as a great hedge. Here is a mixed bag of player props and team results to have profit with.

Cardinals (+1.5)
In an NL Central contest, the St. Louis Cardinals head to Cincinnati to face off against the Reds. Five time All-Star, Jon Lester will be on the mound for St. Louis versus righty Luis Castillo for the Reds. If you’re a risk taker and want to trade insurance for value, the current ML odds for the Cardinals sits at a profitable +160. Cincinnati is four and a half games ahead of St. Louis in the division at 71-60 versus the Cardinal’s record of 66-62. There is not much separation of overall skill between these squads, but the Reds have had the upper hand in the head to head this year with a record of 7-5. However, in the past 15 days, the Cardinals offense has been on fire ranking in the top 10 in batting average and OBP. Cincinnati is ranked a mediocre 16th in the league in batting average allowed, so look for the Cardinals to strike hard on offense. After falling to the worst team in the league, the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis will definitely be playing with an edge in this battle for a Wild Card spot. With bats that are this hot and a pitcher who has been locked in his whole career, I have no issue backing the Cards.      

Yankees @ Angels (Judge HR +300 or Stanton HR +310)
After having their 13 game-winning streak snapped in Oakland, the Yankees travel south to Los Angeles in a match against the Angels. Although New York ML is currently -156 and are moderately favored in this one, the premier bet for this game lies in player props for homeruns. The Yankees are the tenth leading team in the league in home runs and they have players who can smack the ball around throughout their order. They have gone yard in nine out of their last ten and either Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge have homered in eight of those games. They both hold a value of around +300 to hit a dinger, and against an Angels pitching staff who is in the bottom tier of home runs given up, these odds are very juicy. If bettors are looking to maximize their potential profits, then consider locking in a wager on one or both of these hitters (as a hedge), whose value to hit the long ball lately is tragically underestimated by Vegas.

Dodgers (-1.5)
In a different LA showdown, the Dodgers host the Atlanta Braves in  NL matchup. Despite the Dodgers ML odds being around -280, they have won 13 of their previous 15 and are 19-5 this month, which leaves little doubt that anyone can beat them once, let alone in a series. Additionally, the -1.5 runline odds of -128 is always a great value play with a team as dominant as LA. One of the best pitchers in the league, Julio Urias, will take the bump for the Dodgers versus a less formidable foe for Atlanta, Drew Smyly. While the pitching edge clearly goes to the Dodgers, the advantages that they have on offense makes the Braves offense look like the Bad News Bears. LA leads in nearly every hitting category imaginable, and they hope to swiftly take control of their meeting with Smyly. After having rare difficulties in their series with Colorado, I imagine a couple losses in the last series will only motivate them to get a W in this one. Take LA.    

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