MLB Best Bet: Monday, August 20

pnc park best bet 8-20-18

UPDATE: Kevin Gausman has been scratched. Line has moved to -140, and unfortunately the new pitcher Bryse Wilson has flown through the minors this year ascending from High-A. I was really counting on Gausman giving up runs because that’s what Kevin Gausman does. Unfortunately I can no longer recommend betting on the Pirates tonight.

The Pick: I lean towards the Braves now at +105 for the game.

Coming off a 3-0 weekend of best bets, we’re heading right back to baseball to cash another ticket tonight.

My favorite bet on the board today is at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Trade deadline acquisitions will face off as Chris Archer of the Pirates takes on Kevin Gausman for the Braves in a match up of right-handed pitchers.

On the season Atlanta is a below average offense vs right-handed pitching with a wRC+ of 96 to go along with a pitiful .309 wOBA.

On the flip side, Pittsburgh has a similar wRC+ of 97 against RHP and they’re also slightly better in wOBA at .316.

Neither of these offenses are very good against RHP, so I’m happy to take the superior pitcher at home with Chris Archer and the Pirates.

Chris Archer is pretty far removed from his last ace-caliber season in 2015. Having posted ERA’s over 4.0 the past two seasons it’s looking like a good bet that he’ll be above that mark again in 2018.

Archer’s ERA currently sits at 4.49, although he has endured bad luck in both batted balls and sequencing with a .347 BABIP against to go along with a 70% strand rate. Archer is still striking out a healthy amount of batters at 9.63 K/9 and while that would be the lowest rate of his career, it’s still high enough to expect a better LOB%.

Accordingly, Archers FIP and xFIP think he’s more of a 3.70 ERA pitcher with SIERA coming in a 3.80. He’s not a #1 but he’s definitely better than Kevin Gausman.

Gausman comes into the game with a 4.22 ERA, but it’s plenty deserved as his FIP is up at 4.42 and that number goes up to 4.57 against left-handed hitters.

The Pirates will be sending out a lefty-heavy lineup, featuring Gregory Polanco, Corey Dickerson, Josh Bell, and Colin Moran. Their right-handed batters are also probably the best on the team, including Starling Marte, Josh Harrison and Francisco Cerveli. All of these guys are more than capable of doing damage against Gausman, who is simply a mediocre pitcher and should be ripe for allowing a few runs.

I don’t love this game overall, as I could see Atlanta scoring late, so I prefer the 5 inning line -130 over the full game line -120.

The Play: Pittsburgh Pirates -130 First 5 IP

 

 

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