Free MLB Picks and Analysis For Wednesday’s Games

by Kevin Roberts
on April 26, 2017

Inclement weather forced a trio of postponements on Tuesday night, but the skies are looking friendlier as we head into play on Wednesday. We’ve got a few intense rivalry games on tap, as the Yankees and Red Sox will play their first head-to-head game of the season, and we’ve also got another Dodgers-Giants tilt to close out the night from San Francisco.

There aren’t too many elite arms taking the mound around the league, either, so this could be a big night for the bats. Here’s how the 15 games will play out from a betting perspective.

Cincinnati Reds (+1.5)
VS
Milwaukee Brewers (-1.5)
Total: 9.5
  • Rookie Davis (0-0, 6.43 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (3-1, 4.71 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Reds +115, Brewers -135
Betting Value: The Reds hold the value but Milwaukee is in a good spot at home and the best bet might be the Over.

The Reds visit Miller Park for yet another clash with the rival Brewers. We could get a very interesting battle in this one, as neither arm should strike too much fear into the opposition.

Rookie Davis offers some upside for Cincy, but he’s struggled in the early going and could be in a bad spot on the road against a pretty strong Brewers offense. Peralta, meanwhile, has been somewhat in control this year and actually handled these Reds fairly well (2 runs on 3 hits) in a win at the Great American Ballpark earlier this year.

Peralta is far from untouchable and both offenses promote the Over, but we like the Brewers at home.

Pick

Brewers
6
Reds
4
Kansas City Royals (+1.5)
VS
Chicago White Sox (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Nate Karns (0-1, 6.35 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (0-4, 6.17 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Royals +130, White Sox -150
Betting Value: The Royals carry the value as a road upset play but neither team is safe. Not surprisingly, though, the Under should be.

Nate Karns and Jose Quintana go head to head in a rivalry game between the Royals and White Sox on Wednesday, with both arms trying to put slow starts behind them. Both do have a shot in this matchup, as neither KC or Chicago have provided scary offense to this point in 2017.

Karns might be the pitcher that is more difficult to trust, however, as he’s always been the more volatile arm between the two and will be on the road against a White Sox offense that has been heating up lately. It’s anyone’s guess if that will bleed into this date, but Karns’ form to this point doesn’t help his chances.

Quintana also hasn’t been great early in 2017, but he at least boasts K upside and is a tough out for even the best offenses when he’s cooking. We don’t hate his odds to spin a gem at home against a very beatable Royals team. The lack of offense has us favoring the Under, while we’re backing Chicago to nab a win at home.

Pick

White Sox
5
Royals
2
Houston Astros (-1.5)
VS
Cleveland Indians (+1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • Lance McCullers Jr. (2-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (1-2, 6.35 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Astros -110, Indians +100
Betting Value: There isn’t much value in this one, but the Indians as the home underdog looks like the logical and most profitable play.

We could have a gem of a pitcher’s matchup on our hands in Cleveland on Wednesday, as Lance McCullers and Trevor Bauer wage war. McCullers has been the more potent arm to get 2017 going, but he’s arguably in the much tougher spot on the road against a powerful Indians offense.

McCullers has been largely impressive to this point and can make a lot of quality bats miss when he brings his top stuff, but his worst outing of the year unsurprisingly came on the road against the Athletics. Considering Cleveland mashes right-handed pitching (6th in batting average this year) this is not a favorable spot.

Bauer could easily implode, too, but he’s at home and he was passable in two starts (2-0, 3.75 ERA) versus these very Astros in 2016. It’s tough to complete vouch for him in this matchup, of course, as Houston ranks even better than the Tribe (3rd) against righties.

The pitching matchup could curb this game and keep the Under in play, but ultimately, we’re siding with the home team. Bauer should be able to keep it somewhat together, while McCullers just hasn’t proven yet that he can be dominant on the road on the regular.

Pick

Indians
5
Astros
3
New York Yankees (n/a)
VS
Boston Red Sox (n/a)
Total: N/A
  • Luis Severino (1-1, 4.05 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (1-1, 0.91 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Yankees n/a, Red Sox n/a
Betting Value: The Yanks aren’t a bad upset play but Sale has been dealing. We like Boston but we like the Over even more given the hot bats and the low Total.

Rain issues cancelled Tuesday’s tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox, so we’ll need to be on the lookout for any major changes to this game. For the moment, we may have a true pitcher’s duel at Fenway Park, as Chris Sale should toe the rubber for the Sox and Luis Severino should gear up to hit the mound for New York.

This is an intense rivalry and these pitchers only enhance it. The big problem is both offenses are quite capable of covering this Over on their own, while Tanaka has not been great to start 2017. Sale certainly has been the ace the Red Sox thought they were getting, though, so all things considered, we like Boston at home, but don’t at all mind targeting the Over.

Pick

Red Sox
6
Yankees
4
Tampa Bay Rays (+1.5)
VS
Baltimore Orioles (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Alex Cobb (1-2, 4.88 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (3-1, 1.37 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Rays +137, Orioles -147
Betting Value: The Rays carry marginal value but we like the Orioles at home. Baltimore’s power promotes the Over in a hitter’s park, as well.

This AL East clash between the Rays and Orioles isn’t the Yankees/Sox, but it’s still a fun rivalry game to check out. It could be a good place to bet the Over, too, as Baltimore is always a threat at home offensively, while Camden Yards gives way to run production from both sides.

Alex Cobb hasn’t been amazing to start 2017, either, so this could be a spot where we especially favor the Orioles and their explosive offense. On the other side we have Dylan Bundy, who got knocked around by Boston in his second start of the year, but has otherwise been elite.

Bundy has kept the ball out of the stands all year and hasn’t even allowed a single run across his last two starts. It’s worth noting the Rays slapped him around pretty good (8.10 ERA) across 10 innings in 2016, but we feel inclined to favor his 0.64 ERA at home at the moment. Bundy should remain in top form and a strong offense backing him leads us to an Orioles win.

Pick

Orioles
6
Rays
2
Miami Marlins (n/a)
VS
Philadelphia Phillies (n/a)
Total: N/A
  • Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 3.94 ERA) vs. Vince Velasquez (0-2, 7.20 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Marlins n/a, Phillies n/a
Betting Value: There isn’t much value in this game other than riding with the Over.

We get an interesting one in Philly on Wednesday, as the so-far stable Chen battles the volatile Velasquez in Philly. Chen has kept things together so far in 2017 but could always have trouble on the road against some hefty bats, while Velasquez offers high K numbers but a ton of hard contact.

Chen got knocked around in his second start of the year, but has otherwise been brilliant in his other two 2017 starts (2-0, 1 earned run). He’ll look to keep up his good form on the road against a Phillies team that gave him trouble (0-2, 5.51 ERA) across three starts a year ago.

Velasquez would be a fun guy to get behind normally, as he’s at home and can really put some heat on the ball. Unfortunately, he’s constantly giving up hits (5 per game) and can’t shed the long ball (4 total dongs allowed in 3 contests). Miami certainly packs a punch in the power department, too, so there is valid concern here. That being said, Velasquez was pretty rock solid at home last year (2.88 ERA) and also handled these Marlins (2.50 ERA) across 18 frames.

Still, the Marlins mash pretty well and it’s never easy to trust someone who is giving up so much hard contact. Due to that, we’ll get behind Chen and Miami’s offense and chase the Over.

Pick

Marlins
5
Phillies
4
Chicago Cubs (+1.5)
VS
Pittsburgh Pirates (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66 ERA) vs. Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Cubs -168, Pirates +158
Betting Value: The Pirates hold the clear value at home but it’s tough to bet against Lester and the Cubs. We like Chicago and the Over in this matchup.

Jon Lester toes the rubber for the Cubs on Wednesday, as he tries to help Chicago get a big road win over the NL Central rival Pirates. The young Tyler Glasnow will hit the mound for the Pirates in a matchup that looks rather daunting on paper.

Lester has appeared to be in full control throughout his 2017 appearances, but surprisingly is still seeking his first victory of the year. Chicago’s potent offense seems to be touch and go this year, naturally leaving him stranded in his plight for a ‘W’. He should have a pretty good chance at nabbing that elusive win in this road tilt, especially if he delivers like he did earlier this year against these Pirates (3 hits, 0 runs).

Glasnow may be Lester’s main path toward his first win, though, as the Pirates do have a capable offense. Glasnow will be going up against a talented (and stacked) Cubs unit, though, and to this point he’s had issues with walks and allowing too much contact. He has a lot of upside to his game, but he hasn’t displayed enough strikeout ability yet and isn’t a great bet to limit the Cubs in this spot.

It’s easy to get behind Lester and Chicago’s offense in this one and if the Cubs can heat up a bit in a favorable matchup, the Over seems to be in play, as well.

Pick

Cubs
6
Pirates
3
Seattle Mariners (-1.5)
VS
Detroit Tigers (+1.5)
Total: 8.5
  • James Paxton (2-0, 1.78 ERA) vs. Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.71 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Mariners -120, Tigers +110
Betting Value: The total is too high, so go Under.

Here we’ve got a pair of intriguing young left-handed talents going toe-to-toe. James Paxton allowed a run for the first time this season in his last start in Oakland, and lasted just 4.1 innings in an eventual 9-6 defeat. That looks like something of an anomaly, though, considering he’d breezed his way through potent Houston and Texas lineups in his first three outings.

The Tigers will counter with Daniel Norris, who may finally be finding some footing at the big league level. He was terrible in his last game against the Rays (4.2 innings, five runs, eight hits), but before that held a very talented Indians lineup scoreless on only two hits in six innings of work. We can also expect some positive regression on the K front, as Norris has only whiffed 14.3% of batters in the early going. He was at 23.5% in the same category last year.

Detroit’s lineup isn’t firing on all cylinders these days, so we do like Paxton to rebound from his lackluster showing against the Athletics. He’ll get the better of Norris in a pitcher’s duel.

Pick

Mariners
3
Tigers
2
Atlanta Braves (+1.5)
VS
New York Mets (-1.5)
Total: 6.5
  • Julio Teheran (1-1, 3.52 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 1.73 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Braves +175, Mets -186
Betting Value: Leaning a bit on the Under.

These two teams got rained out last night, which means the Braves will put last night’s scheduled starter, Julio Teheran, out there tonight opposite Noah Syndergaard. These two pitched against one another back on opening day, and neither was willing to give an inch. Syndergaard struck out seven over six scoreless innings, while Teheran struck out six over six scoreless.

For this game to hit the over on 6.5 runs, we’re likely going to need the Mets to do a bit of damage against Teheran and then continue to feast on a very shaky Atlanta bullpen. Teheran was rocked by the Nationals in his most recent start for seven runs on seven hits in just four innings. New York obviously doesn’t boast the same kind of offensive firepower, but Thor won’t exactly need a ton of run support in order to get the W here.

Mets all the way here.

Pick

Mets
3
Braves
1
Minnesota Twins (+1.5)
VS
Texas Rangers (-1.5)
Total: 9
  • Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.19 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.77 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Twins +145, Rangers -155
Betting Value: Sneaky spot for the Under despite the hitter-friendly ballpark.

We’ve got a couple of southpaws set to do battle deep in the heart of Texas in this one. Cole Hamels is coming off a strong outing against the Royals in which he allowed just a run on three hits over eight innings. Strikeouts haven’t really been there for him (no more than five in any start), but he’s keeping the ball on the ground and keeping his pitch counts down.

Santiago is looking like the player that was an AL All-Star a few years ago during his time with the Angels. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first four starts against the Royals, Tigers, White Sox and Tigers again. Texas is less efficient against lefties than they are against right-handers, but they do still have plenty of bats in the lineup capable of mashing left-handed pitching.

We like siding with aces at home, and that means we’re taking Texas here. The total looks a touch high, so you can hit the under if you buy both of these arms.

Pick

Rangers
4
Twins
2
Toronto Blue Jays (+1.5)
VS
St. Louis Cardinals (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Mat Latos (0-0, 7.20 ERA) vs. Carlos Martinez (0-3, 4.76 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Jays +164, Cardinals -174
Betting Value: Cards are justifiably heavy favorites. No real value, though, unless you want to take them on the -1.5 run line.

The Blue Jays had to start Russell Martin at third base last night, which tells you all you need to know about how much of a disaster this team is at the moment. Injuries, regression and a noteworthy offseason departure (Edwin Encarnacion) have left a once-powerful lineup looking emaciated and powerless.

So, this looks like a spot for Carlos Martinez to come out and dominate. The Cards’ ace hasn’t been very ace-like to start 2017, but there’s no real reason to expect he can’t mow down this lackluster Toronto group of bats. He’s walked way too many batters so far (10.6% walk rate), but the strikeout numbers are through the roof. Martinez’s strikeout rate of 29.8% so far is 11th-best in baseball.

On the flip side, we have a gas can. The Jays were forced to call Mat Latos up from the minors to make a start last week against the Angels, and LA touched him up for four runs on six hits in five innings. He did a fine job of inducing grounders, but we’re not picking him to come into St. Louis and out-duel a pitcher of CarMart’s quality.

Pick

Cardinals
6
Blue Jays
2
Washington Nationals (+1.5)
VS
Colorado Rockies (-1.5)
Total: 11.5
  • Tanner Roark (2-0, 3.65 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 4.10 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Nats -105, Rockies -105
Betting Value: Over! Over!

It’s going to be another cool night in downtown Denver, but precipitation shouldn’t be an issue as it was last night. That means improved hitting conditions in what’s already the league’s premier hitter’s haven. Tanner Roark and Tyler Chatwood have both flashed major upside in the past, but it’s impossible to really side with a pitcher whenever a game takes place at Coors Field.

Tanner Roark is the opposite of flashy, but he has a way of getting the job done at the end of the day. He’ll give up a handful of runs in a typical start, but more often than not he pitches well enough to keep the Nationals in games. He’s been rather weak against left-handed bats so far (.326 wOBA allowed), which doesn’t exactly bode well for him going up against a lineup that features guys like Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez.

Tyler Chatwood is a ground ball pitcher that just can’t seem to figure out how to pitch at home. He’s given up eight earned runs in 11.1 innings at Coors so far this season after possessing a bloated 6.12 ERA at home last season. Chatty has also served up five dongs on the young season, which could prove problematic against a very powerful Washington offense.

11 runs is the highest total of the night, but give us the Over in this one.

Pick

Nationals
7
Rockies
6
San Diego Padres (+1.5)
VS
Arizona Diamondbacks (-1.5)
Total: 10
  • Trevor Cahill (1-2, 3.44 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (2-1, 4.57 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Padres +130, Diamondbacks -140
Betting Value: Inflated total. Go Under.

We’ve got a potential shootout on our hands here with the Padres visiting the Diamondbacks for the third straight night. Chase Field typically concedes runs in bunches, though we have a couple of starters that may not be as bad as some may think here tonight in Trevor Cahill and Taijuan Walker.

Cahill was spot-on in his last outing, limiting the Marlins to just a run on three hits over seven innings. He’s at his best when he’s inducing grounders, and he did just that, as he got Miami to roll 13 ground balls in that one. This D-Backs offense poses more of a power threat than the Marlins do, but keeping the ball on the ground is obviously a good way to limit homer damage.

Strikeouts have been there for Walker, and the talented young right-hander has a K-rate of nearly 23 percent in the early going. He’s walked just one in three of his four outings, as well, which bodes well considering he has faced command issues in the past. This Padres lineup has some pop, but we’ve also seen them strike out at a high rate.

The implied total of 10 for this feels a touch high, though. If one or both of these pitchers is on top of their games, runs could be tougher to come by than you might think. We’ll give AZ the slight edge in their home yard.

Pick

Diamondbacks
5
Padres
3
Oakland Athletics (+1.5)
VS
Los Angeles Angels (-1.5)
Total: 8
  • Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.43 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.98 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Athletics +130, Angels -140
Betting Value: Not expecting much scoring here. Edge to the Under.

In Anaheim, tonight we have a showdown between a pair of quality pitchers coming off their best starts of the season. A’s lefty Sean Manaea threw six one-run innings against Seattle over the weekend, while Matt Shoemaker was a hard-luck loser against Houston. The bearded right-hander threw seven innings and allowed just two runs, but took the L as the Angel bats couldn’t handle Lance McCullers.

It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see a low-scoring game here. It’s certainly worth noting that Manaea has fared worse on the road over the course of his young big league career, put he did put up a decent 3.55 ERA in two starts at Angel Stadium last season. Shoemaker has started just one of his first four outings this season at home, where he boasts and excellent 2.83 ERA over the last three seasons total.

The Angels come into this one in lackluster form, but we like them as a sneakily solid offense here tonight. Manaea can be vulnerable outside of o.Co Coliseum, and LA’s lineup has a fair number of solid right-handed bats that could give him problems.

Pick

Angels
4
Athletics
2
Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5)
VS
San Francisco Giants (+1.5)
Total: 7
  • Alex Wood (1-0, 3.29 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (3-1, 5.25 ERA)
  • Moneyline: Dodgers +110, Giants -120
Betting Value: Great spot to take the Under here as Cueto bounces back.

The Dodgers and Giants will continue their rivalry tonight as they play the third of their season series-opening four game set from the Bay. Lefty Alex Wood will take the ball for LA opposite yet another struggling Giants pitcher in Johnny Cueto.

Cueto’s three wins easily leads the staff to this point, but he hasn’t quite been the shutdown arm we saw in his first season with the team last year. He was roughed up in his most recent start at Coors Field, surrendering six runs on eight hits including a pair of homers in a 6-5 loss to the Rockies last weekend. It is worth noting that just one of his first three starts of the season has come at AT&T Park. He dominated Colorado to the tune of six strikeouts and just two earned runs in seven innings in his lone home start of the young season. Last year, Cueto went 8-3 with a 2.79 ERA at home. This is a great bounce-back spot for him.

Wood was recently promoted into the starting rotation in light of the slew of injuries the LA staff has already undergone. He didn’t last long in his most recent outing in the desert, as the Diamondbacks clubbed him for four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. That outing came at hitter-friendly Chase Field against a red-hot offense, though, while tonight he’ll be pitching against a mediocre San Francisco offense in what may be baseball’s premier setting for pitching.

The Giants also tend to struggle more against southpaws, so we’re not projecting much scoring in this one. San Francisco has the clear advantage with their co-ace on the mound, so we’ll side with them in a close one.

Pick

Giants
3
Dodgers
2
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