Best bets for Tuesday's MLB games

By Derek Carty  ( 


Somehow, we’re in the final week of the 2020 Major League Baseball season.  Full-season stat lines are nearly finalized, and yet we haven’t even played a third of the games in a normal season yet.  This near-finality is surely giving sports bettors more confidence and a greater sense of certainty in who players and teams are than we actually have. The 2018 and 2019 stats matter a lot more than bettors are crediting them with, and that’s something we can take advantage of.  The best advice I can give over this final week of betting: don’t overreact to 2020 stats.

Here are the bets I like for Tuesday:


Bets I like

Boston Red Sox (-105) vs. Baltimore Orioles (-105)

Total: 10

I mentioned in this space last week how underrated the Red Sox have been all season.  The lines always tend to skew a bit too much against them, and there has often been sharp action on the Sox this year in the form of reverse line movement.  Today, this game is strangely priced as a true pick’em, which doesn’t make sense considering:

1) They’re at home.

2) They’re facing the Orioles and the Red Sox clearly have a better offense than Baltimore, both in terms of their projected underlying talent level and in the noisier sense of what they’ve done this season (105 wRC vs. 99 wRC ).

3) The projected quality of their starting pitchers, Nick Pivetta (4.65 ERA) and Keegan Akin (4.67 ERA), is practically the same. 

Akin’s 2020 ERA (3.38) is shiny, but his 4.07 xFIP is worse and it’s only been four starts, so the public is bound to overreact.  Every projection system on FanGraphs sees him as a 5.00 ERA pitcher, creating value betting the Sox here in a game they ought to be a moderate favorite.  There’s also value on the under (10 runs, really?). It’s the highest total of the day, which seems odd given two average-ish (or worse) offenses, two average-ish pitchers and one of the coldest environments (64 degrees) on the slate.

Pick: Red Sox moneyline (-105)

Secondary Pick: Under 10 (-120)


Los Angeles Angels (+ 150) vs. San Diego Padres (-160)

Total: 9

If this were a normal season and we were sitting here at the end of May, the Padres exceeding expectations and being so good wouldn’t be nearly as big of a deal as it is now that they’ve clinched their first playoff spot since 2006.  They’ve won nine of their last 13 games and eight of their last nine if you exclude the series against the Dodgers.  As is the case any time a team overperforms over a small sample, the Padres likely aren’t as good as the 2020 numbers indicate.  And even if they were, their 118 wRC isn’t too far removed from LA’s 111 wRC anyway.  Griffin Canning and Zach Davies are the exact same caliber of pitcher, and given that the Pads just clinched last night, there’s also a chance we see of their veteran players get the day off.  This game is a true pick’em, yet the Padres are priced as a 60% favorite.

Pick: Angels ML (+ 150)


Toronto Blue Jays (+ 235) vs. New York Yankees (-270)

Total: 9.5

Nobody wants to bet against the Yankees, especially when Gerrit Cole is pitching, but this is exactly the reason why games like this can have value.  Yankees lines are often skewed too far in their direction, and the same is often true when any ace is on the mound.  In this game we have both, despite a very capable Jays offense on the other side that has now returned two of its three best hitters in Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez from injury and just promoted Alejandro Kirk to upgrade the weakest spot in their lineup.  They’ll probably lose, but the chances are more like 66% of the time instead of the 71% implied by the odds. 

If Cole has a weakness, it’s the long ball (35% GB%, 1.8 HR/9 this season), and the Jays’ strength is power.  The run line is both safer and better odds than the moneyline anyway, so that’s the best way to approach this, but I don’t mind taking a shot on the moneyline as well.

Pick: Blue Jays run line 1.5 (150)

Secondary Pick: Blue Jays ML (+ 235)



Tuesday’s game observations

Toronto Blue Jays (+ 235) vs. New York Yankees (-270)

Total: 9.5

  • The Blue Jays have eight players with an exit velocity on flyballs over 90 mph this season; the only team with more is the Dodgers (nine)
  • The Blue Jays also have eight players with an above-average barrel rate this season; once again, the only team with more is the Dodgers (nine)
  • This game has the best pitching weather on the slate at 62 degrees

San Francisco Giants (-154) vs. Colorado Rockies (+ 144)

  • Drew Smyly’s 3.94 ERA and 2.50 xFIP look good, but those numbers were putrid last season (6.24 and 5.21) and THE BAT and Steamer both project his rest-of-season ERA to be 4.43
  • Oracle Park has boosted home runs by more than 10% this season after the wind interaction changed when they sealed up the archways in right field to discourage non-social-distanced game-watching from fans outside the stadium

Cincinnati Reds (-152) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (+ 142)

Total: 8.5

  • The most hitter-friendly umpire on the slate (Mark Carlson) will be behind the plate here.


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