The MLB season is in full swing and early season games present us with unique betting angles as pitchers come out of the gates hot and many offenses come out of the gate the exact opposite. Without a ton of data to base our decisions on, it’s imperative to take advantage of current form while factoring in production from the 2020 season.
The difference in baseball compared to other sports is how the spreads (run lines) are measured. Unlike in other sports where the size of a spread can vary, baseball’s spreads are defaulted to 1.5 runs, with the odds being juiced one way or another. This makes targeting games before all the odds are up a bit easier, especially for the sake of these articles.
Below are two of my favorite bets for Wednesday around the MLB.
San Diego Padres at Pittsburgh Pirates
The pick: Padres -1.5 (-120, PointsBet)
This is a rather straightforward pick and one that I expect to be popular, as we have one of the most potent offenses in baseball facing off with one of the worst. While the Padres' 4.09 runs per game are rather disappointing to open the gate (20th in baseball), they’ve seen that jump to 5.0 over their last three games and 6.0 last game. The Pirates are trending in a similar direction, averaging 5.67 runs over their last trio of games compared to their 3.6 on the season.
However, that won’t deter me here. The bigger factor aside from the clear discrepancies in offensive talent is the individuals taking the mound. Tyler Anderson shouldn’t be a tall task for this Padres’ offense, especially after allowing 15 hits and six earned runs through his first 10.1 innings on the season. His counterpart, Joe Musgrove, has been the hottest pitcher in baseball this season, failing to allow a single run through his first 15 innings and fresh off the first no-hitter in Padres’ history. This is one of the more lopsided matchups on the slate. Take advantage.
Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
The pick: Washington ML (+110, William Hill)
The Nationals have struggled out of the gate. There’s no denying it. That said, they have the potential to win another game in the series with the Cardinals on Wednesday against struggling veteran Adam Wainwright. Through his first two starts, he’s posted his lowest strikeout rate since 2017 (17.9%), a WHIP approaching 2.0 (1.96), and the highest hard-contact percentage of his career (39.3%). Obviously, this is an incredibly small sample size, but he’s not fooling anyone at the plate.
This is a great time to get some value on an underdog that has enough talent in the offense to pull this out. Given the plus-money odds here, it carries as much value as a run-line bet with some additional safety.