MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for August 29, 2023

Elly De La Cruz
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds flies out in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 10, 2023 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Another loss yesterday. Austin Gomber went down with an injury in the fourth inning, and then the Braves put up 14. I’m not attempting to make an excuse out of it; it’s just how the game goes sometimes. It’s a spot I would play again, but it’s just not falling in our direction.

I will keep firing away on spots I like, and we’ll see where the chips land.

2023 Straight Plays Record: 146-155 (-8.58 U)

I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a first bet offer of up to $1000.

All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.

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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins @ 6:40 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Aaron Civale vs. Sandy Alcantara

I have a feeling. I believe this game is where Sandy Alcantara puts the team on his back and wins them a game.

Sandy has had his ups and downs this season, but lately, at home, he unleashes all his pent-up aggression from the season on the opposing hitters. On the road this month, he’s suffered some bumps and bruises, allowing five runs to the Rangers, three to the Dodgers, and four to the Padres. In two home starts against the Phillies and Yankees, he’s thrown 17 innings while only allowing one run. In his lone home start in July, he tossed 6.2 innings of one-run ball.

When Sandy is in Miami, he’s on another level right now.

Sandy has a good matchup against the Rays. He’s been tough on right-handed bats, holding them to a .651 OPS compared to a .721 OPS against lefties. The SLG is what separates the OPS, as lefties are slugging .412 compared to .367 for righties. The Rays lineup should only feature a few lefties today: Brandon Lowe, Josh Lowe, Luke Raley, and a rookie in Jonathan Aranda. Those first three names are solid, but Sandy will have the upper hand on the bulk of their lineup. Yandy Diaz is a righty but a big difference-maker for them. He might play, but he’s day-to-day with a forearm injury that he suffered against the Yankees.

Sandy has thrown once against the Rays this year, throwing a complete game while only allowing one run. That was in Tampa on July 26th; I’m excited to see what he does today.

Civale has been great this season (2.59 ERA, 3.59 xERA), and he’s also tougher on righties (.574 OPS vs .652 OPS). The Marlins will feature more lefties today: Jazz Chisholm, Luis Arraez, Josh Bell, Jesus Sanchez, and Joey Wendle. The Marlins don’t have the firepower that the Rays do on offense, but the Marlins offense is much better at home this year (.732 OPS vs. 696 OPS on the road).

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I’m still not a believer in the Rays bullpen. They sit in 19th in SIERA this season, and outside of Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam, I think the middle innings are weak, even with an off-day.

I do believe in the Marlins bullpen, as they sit 6th in SIERA and had an off-day to rest plenty of solid arms: Tanner Scott, JT Chargois, Andrew Nardi, Steven Okert, and others. However, I don’t think many of them will be needed today. I fully believe in a Sandy masterclass today.

I make this line -130 for the Marlins. Take them up to -120.

The Pick: Marlins ML (-115) 1 U to win 0.87 U

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Kansas City Royals @ 8:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Colin Selby/Luis Ortiz vs. Cole Ragans

I’m not totally sure who is the scheduled starter for the Pirates, but whether it’s Colin Selby or Luis Ortiz, they don’t sniff the talent level of Cole Ragans.

What a trade for the Royals. They traded a rental reliever for a young lefty who’s touching triple-digits with his fastball. This is a straight-tail of Cole Ragans when you consider the Pirates really struggling against high velocity and left-handed pitching.

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We took the Pirates against the Cubs when they threw Kyle Hendricks, and while they didn’t crush him, it’s clear at this point what the Pirates like. I hesitated to take them against Greinke because I knew how much better the Royals were at home, and it didn’t seem like a great spot for Pirates bats. However, the Royals failed to score, and the Pirates won 5-0. The Pirates get the opposite of what they like, which is a chance for the Royals to bounce back.

Cole Ragans is seriously one of the best left-handers out right now. He’s averaging 96.3 MPH on his fastball, one of the fastest marks among all left-handed pitchers. He has a 3.16 xERA, striking out north of 28% of batters. Only a few pitchers in the game can say that right now.

The Pirates are a bad offense against lefties. They have a 74 wRC+ in the last 30 days and rank 26th in wRC+ this season. The last couple of lefties they faced were Zach Thompson, Justin Steele, and Dallas Keuchel, totaling 16 innings and allowing four earned runs. Ragans is closer to Steele than any of those other names, but he throws much harder, which the Pirates struggle even more against.

The Royals will face either Luis Ortiz or Colin Selby. I assume Selby will open for Ortiz, but regardless, both are below-replacement-level righties. The Royals still have a 128 wRC+ against righties at home.

This is a severe starting pitching mismatch with a team coming off a shutout loss. I think the Royals bounce back and win this one early. After the fifth inning, the Pirates have the bullpen advantage, so give me the biggest edge.

The Pick: Royals First 5 Innings -0.5 (-110) 1 U to win 0.91 U

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Cincinnati Reds vs. San Francisco Giants @ 9:45 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Brandon Williamson vs. Alex Cobb

If the Reds don’t win this game, it should be a sweep, and their playoff chances look even more grim. Logan Webb will take the mound against Hunter Greene tomorrow, who I want to believe in but has fallen off a cliff since returning from injury. Today, they get Alex Cobb, who has been falling off his own cliff.

Fully aware of how good Alex Cobb has been in home night games this year. He’s rocking an ERA under three in both spots. However, he’s recently gotten a few home night games, and none have fared well.

He’s allowing a lot of hard contact this season, sitting in the ninth percentile in Hard-Hit rate. Both righties and lefties are hitting him, and he’s not striking out batters at the rate he did over the last two seasons. He’s 35 years old and appears to be slowing down. Before last season, 2018 was the last year he threw over 100 innings, so back-to-back seasons for the veteran of 130+ innings seem to be wearing on Cobb.

He doesn’t have a difficult matchup today, but the A’s and Diamondbacks haven’t been much better, and both of them got to Cobb. The Reds, albeit when they were hot, already beat him up to five earned runs in less than five innings. They really have to win this game and feel confident they can do so against a pitcher they’ve beaten before.

Brandon Williamson will toe the rubber for the Reds, who has been one of the Reds’ most consistent arms over the last month, pitching to a 3.49 ERA. It has a lot to do with his new cutter. He’s manipulated the movement on the pitch, adding more cut to it, which has proved to be effective. He’s also seen the Giants this year, tossing six innings of two-run ball.

The Giants are favorites for a reason. They rank in the top ten against lefties in the last month, and Cobb has been better over the full season than Williamson. However, with Cobb’s inconsistency and Williamson trending up, this line is inflated for the Giants.

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I think the Reds pull out all the stops today in their bullpen to secure a win. Sam Moll (2.98 xERA), Alexis Diaz (2.89 xERA), and Ian Gibaut (3.64 xERA) are all a full go for this matchup. If we get a lead or a tie, we should see the best of the best from this Reds bullpen.

The Giants bullpen seems pretty worn down. They can go to Alex Wood (4.93 xERA) after Alex Cobb or Luke Jackson (3.74 xERA). They will probably go to Camilo Doval in a save situation, but he has pitched in back-to-back days. If he’s in a save situation, we probably already lost anyway.

I don’t see the starting pitching matchup as that different, and I do find it interesting that Alex Cobb is +210 to get a win as a -165 favorite, while Williamson is +150. The Pitching Outs, Strikeouts, and Earned Run props are almost identical. The Giants are the better team, and they are at home. They should be the favorite, but I think this line is inflated due to a commanding victory on Sunday Night Baseball and yesterday. The reality is that both teams are 4-6 in their last ten, and they aren’t so different from a talent level.

I think this line should be +125, so I see plenty of value at this price. I would take this down to +135.

The Pick: Reds ML (+145) 1 U to win 1.45 U

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