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MLB Computer Picks for September 18: Astros & Dodgers Are Ready to Dominate


Top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s baseball action. Three games interest me: Orioles vs. Astros, Mariners vs. Athletics, and Tigers vs. Dodgers.

For your best bets, I will recommend investing in the Astros, A’s, and Dodgers, all on the run-line. My recommendations are supported by OddsTrader’s computers and by my handicapping.

Picks Summary:

  • Astros -1.5 (+140) at Bet365
  • Athletics +1.5 (-120) at Bet365
  • Dodgers -1.5 (+115) at Bet365

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Monday, September 18, 2023 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium


Eduardo Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers)

Detroit starts Eduardo Rodriguez tonight. Especially when a pitcher faces a tough lineup, he wants to be in good form so that he can bring his best version of himself. However, it’s the opposite with Rodriguez: he enters tonight’s game in awful form.

In his last two starts, he’s allowed a combined total of seven earned runs. While allowing three runs in his second-to-last start isn’t so bad, he was unfortunate that his opponent did not do more damage.

He benefited in that start by yielding a low BABIP (batting average of balls in play) despite struggling to minimize hard contact.

His 6.09 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding) in that start shows how poorly he performed and emphasizes the poorness of his current form.

The Matchup 

Rodriguez throws a fastball, cutter, changeup, sinker, and slider.

He is especially likely to struggle tonight because, regardless of his poor form, the Dodgers are primed to thrive against him because they match up well against him. They rank third with a .472 slugging rate against his pitches from lefties.

Watch out, among others, for Freddie Freeman, who is 4-for-9 with a double in his career facing Rodriguez.

Lance Lynn (Los Angeles Dodgers) 

Lance Lynn starts for L.A. tonight. The odds are so attractive because, simply put, Lynn is a terrible pitcher.

Nevertheless, there is betting value in the Dodgers tonight because the odds appreciate how bad Lynn is, but the odds do not appreciate that Lynn is good specifically against Detroit.

In his career, Lynn is 8-3 with a solid 3.23 ERA against the Tigers.

Lynn vs. Tiger Batters 

Active Tiger batters have struggled to garner hits, including extra-base hits when facing Lynn. Miguel Cabrera, for example, is 3-for-21 against Lynn.

Spencer Torkelson is 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Lynn.

MLB Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (+115) at Bet365


Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics

Monday, September 18, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at RingCentral Coliseum


  • Computer Pick 

Our computers indicate that this will be a tight game.

The right move is to take the extra run with the underdog by wagering on Oakland RL.

JP Sears (Oakland Athletics) 

JP Sears starts for the Athletics tonight. There are two versions of Sears: the one who goes through rough stretches of play in which he allows a lot of home runs and runs in general, and the one who consistently performs well.

The former version of Sears is responsible for creating a misleadingly negative impression of him.

His high ERA suggests that he is an unreliable pitcher whom one should look to oppose in a wager by backing his opponent. However, his high ERA is merely a consequence of his rough stretches.

Sears’ Good Form 

Sears is able to use his strong command of his pitches, evidenced by a low walk rate, to enjoy strong stretches of play.

Among other things, he relies on playing his fastball and sweeper off each other, utilizing their strong difference in velocity to keep the hitter off-balance.

This good version of Sears is the one we are getting today. He enters today’s game in strong form, having allowed a combined total of three runs in his last three games. It’s not like he’s benefited from facing low-quality lineups.

His last three opponents have been the Angels, Blue Jays, and Astros. Impressively, Houston ranks fifth in runs per game but was unproductive against Sears.

Sears vs. Mariners Lineup 

Sears likes facing the Mariners: he’s allowed one run in two starts against them.

A Seattle team that has yet to exceed three runs in any of its last four games is ill-prepared to alter Sears’ stretch of success.

Bryan Woo (Seattle Mariners) 

Bryan Woo starts for Seattle. Oakland will not have to do much against him. The A’s benefit from having seen him a few weeks ago.

Seeing him recently will make them more prepared to face him.

MLB Pick: Athletics +1.5 (-120) at Bet365


Baltimore Orioles vs. Houston Astros

Monday, September 18, 2023 – 08:10 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park


  • Computer Pick 

Our computers indicate that the Astros will decimate Baltimore by multiple runs.

You should agree and invest in Astros RL.

John Means (Baltimore Orioles)

Baltimore starts John Means today. Means merely got his feet wet on September 12 when he made his first start of the season.

In that start, he allowed three earned runs in five innings.  He failed to keep the ball in the ballpark, allowing two home runs and struck out one batter.

As a pitcher who has yet to find his form, he is not particularly reliable in general.

Evidence for his general unreliability lies in the fact that the Cardinals had matched up poorly against Means, as measured in their slugging rate against his pitches from lefties.

The Matchup 

Means throws a changeup, fastball, slider, and curveball.

Houston matches up well against him in view of the pitches that he throws. The Astros rank fourth with a .464 slugging rate against his pitches from lefties.

Moreover, the Astros enjoy strong form. They’ve scored a combined total of 15 runs in their past two games.

Justin Verlander (Houston Astros)

Houston starts Justin Verlander today. Verlander is in a great spot because he is coming off a bad start, defined as one in which he surrendered four or more earned runs.

Before his last one, Verlander had suffered six such starts. After each one, he allowed one run or fewer in his following start.

This trend is particularly impressive because he has sustained it even against tougher lineups, such as that of the Rangers.

MLB Pick: Astros -1.5 (+140) at Bet365


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