The sportsbooks have released their betting odds for today’s baseball action, and three games interest me as worth investing in: Padres vs. Pirates, Phillies vs. Cubs, and A’s vs. Yankees.
For today’s best player props, I recommend investing in strong pitching performances from San Diego’s Blake Snell, Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola, and Oakland’s JP Sears.
- Blake Snell Under 1.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (+113) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Aaron Nola Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-123) at Caesars Sportsbook
- JP Sears Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-111) at BetMGM
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 – 07:05 PM EDT at PNC Park
Blake Snell starts for the Padres tonight. Snell shows incredible form: he has allowed a combined total of one earned run in his last five starts. In all of these starts, he endured six innings or more and gave up three hits or fewer. He only seems to be getting harder to hit: he has accrued over ten strikeouts in each of his last three starts.
His form is perhaps most impressive because he’s sustained it against tough competition. For example, on June 17 he gave up two hits and no runs in six innings against the Rays.
One could have expected the Rays to hit him well because he used to pitch for them and because they rank third in slugging against his pitches from righties. In a similar vein, he pitched on June 5 against a Cubs team that ranks sixth in slugging against his pitches from lefties.
While the Cubs matched up well against Snell on paper, they likewise mustered two hits and no runs in six innings with him on the mound.
Snell’s Curveball and Slider
In particular, Snell’s curveball and slider are uniquely hard to hit. Each pitch yields a BA under .100.
His curveball features a uniquely tremendous amount of movement, and his slider benefits from a consistently strong mixture of spin, velocity, and good location.
Pittsburgh is suffering an extended 4-15 rut. As part of this tendency to lose, the Pirates tend to be especially bad after a win, which makes them all the more fade-worthy tonight because they won last night.
After their last three wins, they scored two, one, and three runs, respectively, with the last output coming in an 11-inning game.
MLB Pick: Blake Snell Under 1.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (+113) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 – 08:05 PM EDT at Wrigley Field
Aaron Nola starts for the Phillies tonight. Which his season-long stats are undoubtedly disappointing, it is a long season, and we should focus on the here and now. Currently, Nola is performing well. He has yielded an FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) below 3.00 in both of his last starts.
In particular, he has done an excellent job of limiting hard contact. These last two starts are especially impressive because they took place against powerful competition: Arizona, which ranks fifth in runs per game, and Atlanta, which ranks third in runs per game.
This current version of Aaron Nola who ably prevents hard contact approximates the Nola whom we customarily expect, who does a lot of things well. For example, he disguises his pitches well, so that batters struggle to discern which pitch is approaching them. Because this act of disguising delays the batter’s reaction time, it is an effective replacement for strong velocity.
Moreover, as heat maps show, Nola does a good job of placing his pitches along the borders of the strike zone, where batters tend to do less damage.
Tonight, Nola’s outlook is solid because he matches up well against the Cubs given what pitches he throws. He throws a curveball, fastball, sinker, changeup, and cutter.
The Cubs rank 28th with a .387 slugging rate against these pitches from righties, even though they’ve faced sundry pitchers worse than the current version of Nola.
Only one Cubs batter slugs Nola well, Yan Gomes, yet he hasn’t managed an extra-base hit in well over a week.
Nobody will scare Nola tonight.
MLB Pick: Aaron Nola Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-123) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wednesday, June 28, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum
Oakland starts JP Sears tonight. Sears has been consistently difficult for batters to be productive against. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts and his consistency is particularly impressive because he’s sustained it against strong competition. For example, on May 30 he held the Braves to one run in six innings.
Sears has really grown comfortable with his fastball. In this month, Sears’ fastball is yielding a .154 BA and .385 slugging rate. His comfort with his fastball is important because it is easily his favorite pitch to throw. He distributes this pitch well along both sides of the plate while preferring to elevate it.
The concentration of this pitch on the lateral borders of the strike zone makes it especially hard to hit in view of its relatively strong horizontal movement, with which Sears toys with the batter’s perception of whether it will land in or outside the strike zone.
With Aaron Judge sidelined, one should generally look to fade the Yankees’ lineup, especially when it faces a strong pitcher like Sears.
New York has, even with Judge, struggled throughout the year against left-handed pitching and without him, the Yankees are struggling to score at all. They’ve mustered two runs or fewer in four of their last five games.
In the one exception, they took advantage of the Rangers’ lowest-quality relievers by scoring three of their five runs against them.
The Yankees’ ranking of 10th-to-last in slugging against Sears’ pitches from lefties is inflated by the now injured Judge’s contributions.
For your final pick, expect Sears to use a good performance to drop the Yankees in this ranking.
MLB Pick: JP Sears Under 2.5 Total Earned Runs Allowed (-111) at BetMGM