MLB Madness: 8 Teams to Bet on Saturday (6/29)

Friday was a good day for statistical underdogs, as nine out of fifteen games were won by teams that were the underdog. Our column did well yesterday, going 5 for 7 in the games we picked. We were up $220 on the day, so in our nine days of the underdog column, we are 25 for 51 and are up $320.75 over that nine day period (with all 51 bets being $50). Let’s see how we do on Saturday.

Today, we are going to mix up the column a little bit, and take some underdogs and favorites. Since this column is about finding diamonds in the rough or picking the games that are close to even money, we will not take any favorites with lines above -130. For money calculations, all bets will be $50 bets, so games where we take the favorite will win less than $50.

Here are eight teams that you should have confidence in betting on Saturday.

Cincinnati Reds (-125) vs. Chicago Cubs, 4:10 PM EST Start

Reds ace Luis Castillo will go to the mound on Saturday. If the Reds win on Saturday, they can move to within 4.5 games of the division lead.

One of our correct picks yesterday was the Cincinnati Reds, and we are going to ride with them again today. The Cubs have been a bad road team this season (15-22, third worst record in NL), and the pitching match-up favors the Reds on Saturday afternoon.

The Reds send their ace Luis Castillo to the mound on Saturday. In his 13 starts not against the Milwaukee Brewers (they seem to have his number), he has given up two runs or less in 11 of those starts. He is 7-2 on the season with a 2.56 ERA. In his only start against the Cubs this season, he gave up two runs in 5 and 1/3 innings of work on May 16, earning the win in a 4-2 ballgame. On that day, he beat Jose Quintana.

The Cubs send Jose Quintana to the hill to try to even the series at one game apiece. Quintana is 4-7 on the season, with a 4.50 ERA. The Cubs have lost all five games he has started in June, and have lost eight of his last ten starts. He has only been able to go more than five innings in one of his five June starts. In his only game against Cincinnati this year, Quintana gave up three runs in five innings of work.

Look for the Reds to build off of last night’s win and take game two in this three game series. Bet the Reds with confidence.

Atlanta Braves (-107) @ New York Mets, 4:10 PM EST Start

Julio Teheran has been hammered in his last two starts. Will he be able to turn it around on Saturday against the New York Mets?

There is a reason that both teams in this game are really close to even money. Even though these teams have been going in opposite directions, the two starting pitchers on Saturday have been going in the same direction the last two weeks. Unfortunately, that direction has been downhill, and both have been going pretty fast.

Steven Matz gets the ball for the Mets on Saturday. In his last two starts, Matz has given up 16 hits and 12 runs in 9 and 1/3 innings of work. The first of those two starts was on June 19 at Atlanta, a game in which Atlanta won 7-2.

Julio Teheran gets the ball for the Braves. After having eight straight starts where he gave up three runs or less, Teheran has been absolutely terrible in his last two starts. He has given up 17 hits and 13 runs in eight innings of work. The first start came at home against the Mets, a game that the Braves lost 10-2.

When there is a pitching match-up with struggling hurlers on the mound, we look to recent records and bullpen performance. The Braves are 6-4 in their last 10 games, while the Mets are 2-8. The Mets bullpen has been really struggling in the past few weeks, blowing five straight games where the Mets had multi-run leads. In last night’s game, the Mets gave up three runs in the eighth inning which put the game out of reach.

Take the Braves to win tonight’s game and for the Mets to continue their downward spiral.

Miami Marlins(+132) vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 4:10 PM EST Start

Jordan Yamamoto has been phenomenal in his first three starts, and looks to extend his record to 4-0 on Saturday afternoon against the Phillies.

The Marlins have had the Phillies number over the last two weeks. The Marlins swept a series in Philadelphia last weekend, which marked a critical point in the season for the Phillies. After that game, the Phillies swept the Mets in a four game set, and the Marlins were swept at home by the Nationals. It appeared the Marlins were trending downward, and the Phillies were trending upward. Then, the Marlins won 6-2 on Friday night, and Phillies fans were left wondering why they can’t beat the team with the worst record in the National League.

It will not get any easier for them on Saturday, as the Marlins send Jordan Yamamoto to the mound. Yamamoto is 3-0 in his three starts this season, and has only given up two runs and seven hits in 17 innings of work. The third of those wins came last Sunday against the Phillies.

The Phillies will counter with Zach Eflin. Eflin was hit hard in his last start against the Mets, giving up 11 hits and six runs in five innings of work. Eflin has been hot and cold against the Marlins this season. On April 28, he threw a complete game at home against the Marlins. On April 13 in Miami, he gave up six runs in four innings of work. Which Zach Eflin will show up tonight?

The Marlins have confidence against the Phillies, and they have arguably their best starting pitcher right now on the mound. Bet the Marlins to make it five wins in nine days over the Phillies.

Texas Rangers (+172) @ Tampa Bay Rays, 4:10 PM EST Start

Tampa Bay’s top prospect, Brendan McKay, will be making his major league debut on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers.

Texas and Tampa Bay have been going in opposite directions over the last few weeks. Texas has won six straight games, and Tampa Bay has lost 12 of their last 17 games. Tampa Bay needs a shot of energy and calling up their top prospect may provide them that shot.

Brendan McKay is a two-way prospect, serving as a starting pitcher and a designated hitter for the Rays in the minors. The number four pick in the 2017 draft has been phenomenal this season in the minors, going 6-0 with a 1.22 ERA. The Rays will be looking to bring that success to the majors, but it will be a tough task against a red-hot Rangers ball-club that has scored the second most runs in all of baseball this season.

The Rangers will be countering with Adrian Sampson on the mound. He has had an up-and-down June, having three starts in which he allowed one run, and two starts where he gave up at least five runs. Overall, Sampson is 6-4 on the season with a 4.14 ERA.

With the Rangers being red-hot, the Rays being lukewarm at best, a rookie on the mound for Tampa, and Tampa only being an okay team at home this season (20-19), look for Texas to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Kansas City Royals (+160) @ Toronto Blue Jays, 4:07 PM EST Start

How much longer will Marcus Stroman be a member of the Toronto Blue Jays?

The Royals and Blue Jays will meet for game two of a three game set on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are looking to have a better second half of the season. Saturday’s match-up features a pitcher that has vocalized how well he feels he would fit in New York.

Marcus Stroman is 5-9 on the season with Toronto, with an ERA of 3.04. He has expressed interest in being traded to a contender, with the main target being the Yankees. The Blue Jays have lost seven of his last eleven starts, and provided three runs or less of support in all seven of those games. In the four starts the Blue Jays have won, they provided a total of 38 runs of support. When the Blue Jays give him support, they normally win. When they don’t, they normally lose.

The problem for the Jays on Saturday is that the Royals are sending Homer Bailey to the mound. Bailey has been great in his last three starts, giving up one run in 19 innings of work. He has won all three of these starts, and the Royals have won Bailey’s last four starts.

Look for the Royals to get a good start from Bailey, and score enough runs off Stroman today to pull off an upset win today in Toronto.

San Diego Padres (-125) vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 10:10 PM EST Start

Chris Paddack is looking for his first win in over a month against the Cardinals on Saturday.

Saturday’s Padres-Cardinals game features two very good young pitchers on the mound. The Padres send Chris Paddack to the hill, who is 4-4 on the season with a 3.18 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. The Cardinals send Dakota Hudson to the mound, who is 6-3 on the season with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.

The Cardinals have had great success in Hudson’s starts this season, as they have won each of his previous seven starts. In those seven starts, Hudson only gave up more than two runs on one occasion. The Cardinals, however, have not been playing their best ball of the season recently. They have lost their last four games, and have scored four runs or less in seven of their last nine games. They are also six games under .500 (16-22) on the road this season.

The Padres have won three straight games and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have lost each of Paddack’s last four starts though. During their last ten games, they have mixed it up between low scoring games and high scoring games, showing their ability to win both of them.

Look for the Cardinals’ recent success in Dakota Hudson starts to end tonight, and bet the Padres to extend their winning streak to four games.

Oakland Athletics (+133) @ Los Angeles Angels, 10:07 PM EST Start

Brett Anderson goes to the mound in game three of a four game set on Saturday night.

In an American League West division showdown, the A’s and Angels split the first two games of a four game set. They meet again on Saturday night in game three of this series. This series could be very important for both teams, as they are trying to chase down the streaky Texas Rangers right now for the second wild card spot.

The Angels will send Tyler Skaggs to the mound. The Angels have won his last three starts, and he has given up four runs in 17 and 1/3 innings in those three starts. Two of Skaggs’ six losses this season, however, have come to the Athletics, as he has given up 8 runs in 8 and 2/3 innings in those two starts.

The Athletics will counter with Brett Anderson on Saturday. Anderson was hammered in his last start, giving up seven runs in only three innings of work. The A’s have won Anderson’s last three starts, however, as he has given up six runs in 18 innings of work in those starts. In his only start against the Angels this season, he gave up no runs in six innings of work.

Look for the A’s to stay hot (7-3 in their last 10 games), and win tonight’s game against the Angels.

Flier: Pittsburgh Pirates (+192) @ Milwaukee Brewers, 8:15 PM EST Start

How will Jordan Lyles pitch in his first start in three weeks on Saturday night?

This series features two teams that are streaking in opposite directions. The Pirates are 8-2 in their last 10 games, while the Brewers are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Many people figured Friday night would be a slug-fest with two pitchers on the mounds with ERA’s over 5.00. That was not the case though, as the game was 2-1 in the top of the 8th. The Pirates scored one in the 8th and one in in the 9th to win the game 3-2.

The Pirates showed how important this series is to them by bringing in their closer Felipe Vazquez in the 8th inning, while the game was tied 2-2. He responded by pitching two innings, striking out four batters, and only throwing 25 pitches. Who knows if he will be available for tonight’s game if his services are needed?

The Pirates activated Jordan Lyles from the IL to make tonight’s start. His last two starts came against Milwaukee, and he gave up seven runs over nine innings of work in those starts. Look for Lyles to be hungry and motivated to beat the Brewers tonight.

The Brewers respond with Brandon Woodruff tonight, their best starting pitcher. He is 9-2 on the season, with a 4.01 ERA. The Brewers have won nine of his last ten starts. He has, however, given up three or more runs in all five starts he has made in June.

Even though the Brewers have had great success in Woodruff starts, take the Pirates as a flier tonight to win in Milwaukee.

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