MLB best bets for starting pitchers undervalued in today's betting market
One of the most utilized terms in sports betting is value, and in turn, what the best ways for finding it are. In baseball, being able to spot pitchers that aren’t consistently overpriced but still produce results is a good way to do it. In this piece, I detail 13 different starting pitchers that have been quite effective in the early going yet still seem to be underpriced by oddsmakers at this point in the season. That means they are usually an underdog in their games.
These guys aren’t the big-name pitchers we’ve come to expect huge results from year after year, such as Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani, or Justin Verlander, to name a few. Rather, these starters are producing profits despite being an underdog on average line. None of the group has been dominant per se, but they have demonstrated the ability to keep their team in games and get the necessary support from their lineup and bullpen to win.
These pitchers generally have not commanded respect in the past either, which is helping to make them underpriced right now. Some of them are pitching in the shadows of bigger stars and not taken as seriously. Regardless, let’s take advantage while we can. The pitchers are sorted in order of the average price they pitch. Specifically for a guy like Patrick Corbin, the number +79 is equivalent to being a +179 underdog each time he starts:
Patrick Corbin - Washington Nationals
Average Price: +79
Team Record: 5-5, +3.2 units
Key Stats – ERA: 4.47, WHIP: 1.385, Ks/9: 5.43
Steve's thoughts: Heading into the season, Corbin was rightfully considered poison by bettors, as his 2021 and 2022 numbers rendered him virtually unbackable. However, he has put together quality outings in seven straight starts, and the Nationals have won in five of his last eight appearances. His numbers aren’t scintillating, but the Washington lineup is improved. He has walked just four hitters in his last 42+ innings, and he is usually a hefty underdog.
Trevor Williams - Washington Nationals
Average Price: +53.9
Team Record: 5-4, +3.45 units
Key Stats – ERA: 4.26, WHIP: 1.264, Ks/9: 6.5
Steve's thoughts: Corbin’s teammate Williams has also been a good producer for bettors lately, with the Nats winning three of his last four starts. His season WHIP is a respectable 1.264, and although his consistency in either performance and start length hasn’t matched that of Corbin, he is someone that should be given consideration in the underdog role.
Matt Boyd - Detroit Tigers
Average Price: +40
Team Record: 5-3, +4.85 units
Key Stats – ERA: 6.21, WHIP: 1.46, Ks/9: 7.88
Steve's thoughts: Boyd has endured a couple of bad starts that have soiled his overall season numbers. Even still, his 1.46 WHIP is respectable, and his 4-0 team record on the road is proving to be a profit-making enterprise. In fact, the Tigers are +6.6 units in his road starts. Boyd had a solid 2021 season and pitched well out of the bullpen last year. Back in the starter role for ’23, he has the potential to be a producer for the improving Tigers.
Edward Cabrera - Miami Marlins
Average Price: +32.2
Team Record: 5-4, +2 units
Key Stats – ERA: 5.13, WHIP: 1.587, Ks/9: 12.27
Steve's thoughts: Cabrera is a big-time power pitcher that could be ace material if he gained better command. He has walked 30 hitters in nine starts, and that has contributed greatly to his overall mediocre numbers. However, when he’s dialed in, he can very tough. His 12.27 Ks/9 is evidence of that. Cabrera has only received 29 runs of support in his outings, yet remains a profitable pitcher for Miami.
Vincent Velasquez - Pittsburgh Pirates
Average Price: +29.6
Team Record: 4-3, +2.4 units
Key Stats – ERA: 3.06, WHIP: 1.16, Ks/9: 8.66
Steve's thoughts: Velasquez is on the disabled list right now and figures to be back in a couple of weeks. It’s unfortunate too, as he was on a roll prior to the stint, having allowed just four earned runs in his most recent 28 innings. He also struck out 30 hitters in that span. The Pirates are cooling off now, but perhaps the injection of Velasquez back into the rotation can help get that turned around.
Brayan Bello - Boston Red Sox
Average Price: +25.8
Team Record: 5-1, +5.9 units
Key Stats – ERA: 4.45, WHIP: 1.588, Ks/9: 9.84
Steve's thoughts: Like several of the starters on this list, Bello can be an enigma. At times, he can be very sharp and overpowering. At other times, he can lose command in an instant. Walks are always an issue with him. Even still, the Red Sox have won in each of his last five starts, three times as an underdog. The team’s bats seem to respond when Bello takes the hill as well, as the Sox have scored 48 runs in those five victories.
Braxton Garrett - Miami Marlins
Average Price: +23.8
Team Record: 6-2, +5.75 units
Key Stats – ERA: 4.5, WHIP: 1.3, Ks/9: 9.68
Steve's thoughts: Left-hander Braxton Garrett has been a very good option in 2023 for Miami backers, as the Marlins have won six of his eight starts. Take away a brutal game at Atlanta in which he was hung out to dry for 11 runs in 4 1/3 innings and his numbers are very good. In fact, his ERA in his other seven starts is 2.27, and he’s struck out 41 in just over 35 innings of work. Garrett should definitely be on your radar.
Drew Smyly - Chicago Cubs
Average Price: +20
Team Record: 6-3, +5.3 units
Key Stats – ERA: 2.86, WHIP: 0.934, Ks/9: 8.22
Steve's thoughts: Smyly has been a journeyman that is pitching with his eighth different franchise in Chicago. Last year, he was solid in 22 starts, posting an impressive line of 3.47 ERA and a 1.194 WHIP. He’s been even better in both categories this season so far and has proven to be a steady option for the Cubs. They have won in six of his nine starts, and he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any outing since his first of the season.
Wade Miley - Milwaukee Brewers
Average Price: +17.5
Team Record: 5-3, +3.35 units
Key Stats – ERA: 3.67, WHIP: 1.128, Ks/9: 5.18
Steve's thoughts: Miley is also on the DL for Milwaukee right now, but prior to, he was solid in all but one of his eight outings. He is more crafty than overpowering, but to the bettor, that is of benefit, as those types of pitchers can produce well at much more attractive prices. Miley won’t be back till post-All-Star Break, which is unfortunate for both the Brewers and bettors.
Mitch Keller - Pittsburgh Pirates
Average Price: +13.7
Team Record: 7-3, +4.95 units
Key Stats: ERA - 2.44, WHIP - 0.989, Ks/9 - 11.06
Steve's thoughts: Keller has been outstanding this season. If you negate the brief Covid-19 season of 2020 in which he started five games and was very good, the rest of his career is pointing in a definitively upward trajectory. He is finally demonstrating much of the overpowering nature he showed back in the minors, striking out 77 hitters in 62 innings thus far. He is the undisputed ace of the Pirates’ staff at this point, and you can still back him at underdog prices in most road starts and home outings against big-name opponents.
Dean Kremer - Baltimore Orioles
Average Price: +4.2
Team Record: 7-3, +4.77 units
Key Stats – ERA: 4.61, WHIP: 1.481, Ks/9: 7.35
Steve's thoughts: Baltimore has been a pleasant surprise in the early going, and Kremer has been a huge beneficiary of the improved offensive output, getting four runs of support or more in eight of his ten starts. While his overall numbers haven’t been overwhelming, his last four outings have shown great promise. The O’s have won all four of those, with Kremer being an underdog three times. His ERA in that span? 1.96.
Alex Wood - San Francisco Giants
Average Price: -1
Team Record: 4-1, +3.4 units
Key Stats – ERA: 3.79, WHIP: 1.316, Ks/9: 9.47
Steve's thoughts: Wood spent a short stint on the DL but has returned to the Giants rotation. His durability is still proving to be a concern as he has not made it to five innings in any of his five starts. He is a good option though as he is one of the lowest-priced starters on a San Francisco team that seems to be otherwise overpriced day in and day out.
Jesus Luzardo - Miami Marlins
Average Price: -4.5
Team Record: 7-3, +4.2 units
Key Stats – ERA: 3.83, WHIP: 1.367, Ks/9: 10.07
Steve's thoughts: I wrote a piece at the beginning of the season about potential surprise pitchers for the ’23 campaign, and Luzardo was one of my targets then, and he remains so now. He is one of a few potential stars in the Marlins’ rotation as he can get hitters out in various ways, including overpowering them. Luzardo’s current numbers aren’t scintillating, but he can put up such output. Most importantly, however, Miami has won in seven of his 10 outings, and he is an underdog of -104 on average.