MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, August 28th

By Adam Burke  ( 

August 28, 2023 01:06 PM

MLB schedule today has 14 games

Only two teams have Monday off as we have a really big card to get the week started. There are five NL games, five AL games, and four interleague games to think about, and every series is a new one, as we don’t have any wraparounds to consider. We’ve got some big, important division series that get underway as well, but we’re still a little light on division matchups relative to what we’d see in past seasons.

I got a very late start here on Monday and there are some games with really big favorites, so I won’t be hitting on every game like usual, but will work in as many as possible.

Latest MLB betting splits | MLB odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live. (Tracking sheet)

VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.

Here are some thoughts on the August 28 card (odds from DraftKings):

San Diego Padres (-205, 9) at St. Louis Cardinals

Time is running out for Adam Wainwright to get his two wins. He allowed six runs on seven hits to the Pirates last time out and has not allowed 24 runs over his 14.2 innings pitched in August. He has a 14.73 ERA with a 6.68 FIP in that span and now faces a Padres bunch that has been as unreliable as it gets. San Diego has been really good at drawing walks, which hasn’t been the primary problem for Waino, but he hasn’t located well in any capacity and the Padres are running out Blake Snell, so win #199 looks unlikely here.

Snell has not allowed more than three runs in a start since mid-May and has a 1.48 ERA with a 2.97 FIP in his last 97 innings pitched. He did allow three runs on six hits last time out against Miami and has now allowed 10 runs over his last four starts. He allowed seven runs combined over his previous 13 starts. Perhaps today is the day we see Snell throw a real dud against a Cardinals lineup that had been in the top 10 most of the season, but has not been lately.

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs (-122, 9)

A huge series in the NL Central opens up with Wade Miley and Jameson Taillon, as the Brewers have won eight in a row and the Cubs have won four of five and seven of nine. Milwaukee’s lead is four games in the division, so the Cubs really need to close the gap a bit in this series. 

This line strikes me as really interesting. The Brewers are as hot as anybody in baseball and Miley has a 3.18 ERA with a 4.48 xERA and a 4.55 FIP, so there are some regression signs in the profile, but he’s pitched well over the last four weeks with a 3.60 ERA since coming off the IL on August 2. He does have a 5.12 FIP in that split, but hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his four starts.

Meanwhile, Taillon has a 5.60 ERA with a 5.20 xERA and a 4.64 FIP in 115.2 innings this season. In the second half, Taillon has a 4.70 ERA with a 4.18 FIP in 44 innings, but has a huge eight-run blow-up to his name against Toronto on August 13. That accounts for eight of the 23 earned runs he’s allowed over his last eight starts. But, he’s also allowed four runs in back-to-back starts, so 16 runs in his last three outings, with 14 of them earned.

I’m not in a rush to back Miley, but this line is a bit of a head-scratcher. While the Cubs have destroyed right-handed pitchers in the second half, they are 18th in wOBA at .309 against lefties, so it’s not like they’ve greatly excelled in that split.

I guess my inherent bias against Milwaukee when looking at their pedestrian offensive numbers and their slightly above average pitching is holding me back here. The line has moved slightly in their favor, which seems to make sense.

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants (-130, 8.5)

Skipping over the heavily-favored Braves in Colorado, we head to San Francisco to look at the Reds and Giants. It will be a couple of left-handers here, as Andrew Abbott and Kyle Harrison do battle. Harrison’s first start graded out well from a lot of angles and metrics, but he did only last 3.1 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk, but it took 65 pitches to get 10 outs.

Harrison generated a lot of swing and miss with a 20% SwStr%, but eight of the nine batted balls were hit at least 95.5 mph and he had an average exit velo of 97.7 mph. He was extremely fortunate to only allow the two runs, as he managed to avoid a lot of bad outcomes relative to the hard contact he allowed. He had a 4.66 ERA with a 5.22 FIP in the minor leagues over 65.2 innings with 105 strikeouts, but also 48 walks and 10 homers allowed. 

Harrison will likely exit fairly early again tonight, likely leaving the game to Jakob Junis or Alex Wood. Junis threw 31 pitches on Saturday, but the Giants may opt to go with the righty in relief as opposed to Wood, who threw 52 pitches on Friday. The Giants used all of their primary relievers yesterday, but many had had three days off.

Andrew Abbott comes in with a 3.16 ERA, 3.90 xERA, and a 4.01 FIP in 85.1 innings of work. He has been a reliable and steady constant for a Reds rotation in dire need of such things. His last start against the Angels was a bit shaky, though, as he only went four innings and allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. In his last five starts, regression has found Abbott to the tune of a 6.46 ERA with a 4.71 FIP. He’s struck out 27 and walked 12, while allowing 17 runs on 29 hits with a .373 BABIP against and a 67.8% LOB%.

It is tough to buy into his profile right now because some of those signs that built up early, like an extravagant LOB%, are experiencing a correction. So, while he’s been really good more often than not, he’s had some tough times against the Cubs and Nationals recently.

The saving grace here is that the Giants have been awful against lefties in the second half with a .281 wOBA and a 78 wRC+. Only Cleveland is worse in the wOBA department and only Cleveland, Colorado, and Pittsburgh are worse from a wRC+ standpoint.

This is an interesting game and a very important one with what’s at stake in the Wild Card hunt, but I’m not sure there’s a big betting edge to be had.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers (-142, 8.5)

The Dodgers are back home after a 4-2 week on the road and they’ll host the surging Diamondbacks. Arizona has won 10 of 12 and 12 of 15 to become a force in the Wild Card chase again, losing just three times since August 11. They’ll have ace Zac Gallen on the hill in this one in hopes of setting the tone for this quick three-game trip to Los Angeles.

After allowing a ton of hard contact but only one run against the Padres, Gallen came out and shoved against the Rangers with 11 strikeouts over six excellent innings on August 22. He did allow a lot of hard-hit contact again, as eight of the 13 batted balls against him with hit at least 95 mph. Gallen has allowed a 55.7% Hard Hit% in his last seven starts with 15 barrels for a 13% Barrel%. Those are some awful contact management numbers, yet he has a 3.02 ERA with a 3.49 FIP in those 44.2 innings of work.

Despite all the barrels, he’s only allowed six homers in those seven starts and has a 49/8 K/BB ratio to get himself out of any jobs that have presented themselves. He’s allowed an average exit velo of 94.4 mph in that span. At some point, that should all catch up with him, but he’s only allowed four runs over his last four starts.

I’ll be frustrated if today is the day where it shows up, but I won’t be able to take the Dodgers here. They’re coming off of an emotional series in Boston and had the long flight back home yesterday. Bobby Miller allowed four runs on six hits to Cleveland on that trip and suffered a loss six days ago. He had been riding quite a high in the second half, but some tough sequencing got him in that one. He’s also only struck out 16 batters over his last four starts covering over 21 innings of work, so that’s a touch worrisome.

The Dodgers at this price are usually pretty hard to pass on, but Gallen is capable of being really special. I’ll be curious to see if he locates better here and avoids hard contact or if those numbers keep going in the wrong direction and he pays for it.

New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers (-118, 8.5)

This is the type of line I never really thought I’d see, but here we are. The Tigers are a small home underdog against the Yankees in a battle between Luis Severino and rookie Reese Olson. The Yankees are in the midst of their worst season in nearly 30 years and Severino has a 7.26 ERA with a 6.53 FIP in 74.1 innings of work. He is coming off of a really good start against the Nationals with one hit allowed over 6.2 shutout innings, so maybe that was something to build on.

Severino had allowed 23 runs over his previous four starts and hadn’t gone more than four innings in any of them. He only had two strikeouts against the Nationals in that start, but had a 25% Hard Hit% against and didn’t allow a barrel for the first time since his 2023 debut on May 21. He had allowed 27 barrels in 13 starts and one relief appearance over that span.

Olson has more potential than what his current numbers show, as he has a 5.29 ERA with a 4.93 xERA and a 4.26 FIP in 68 innings pitched. He’s got 68 strikeouts against 20 walks, but has allowed 11 homers and has just a 61.8% LOB%, so he has had problems working his way out of sticky situations. 

Over his last six starts, Olson has a 7.06 ERA with a 5.25 FIP, as he has allowed four or more runs in five of those six. He threw six shutout innings against the Twins on August 10 and that is more of an outlier than the norm relative to his recent performances. Will the Yankees, who are 29th in wOBA at .289 since the All-Star Break, capitalize on his recent struggles or keep bumbling their way through the season?

As much as laying Severino as a road favorite against a Tigers offense that has been performing pretty well of late scares me, I am not excited to back Olson in this one.

Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (-130, 10)

Skipping over the heavily-favored Orioles against Michael Kopech and the White Sox, we head to Fenway Park to see the Astros and Red Sox square off. Cristian Javier takes the mound for Houston and Chris Sale heads to the hill for Boston and you can see the lack of love for Javier in the betting markets with this line.

What makes this line especially intriguing is that Houston has decimated left-handed pitching throughout the second half. The Astros are 15 points clear of anybody else (Toronto) with a .392 wOBA and have a 153 wRC+, which is 10 points higher than the Blue Jays. The Astros are batting .311/.376/.546 in that split and their SLG is 42 points higher than anybody else. They also have just an 18.7% K% in that span over 578 PA. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that they do have the largest sample size of PA against LHP in the second half.

They are also getting a second straight look at Sale. Houston scored four runs on six hits over five innings against him five days ago, although Sale did rack up nine strikeouts out of 22 batters faced. He only gave up four hard-hit balls, so Houston’s offensive performance wasn’t terribly impressive there, but they strung their hits together and had success that way.

Sale’s velocity did tick back up, as he sat 93.9 mph with the fastball after sitting just 91.8 mph in the start prior to that and 94.5 mph in his return against the Tigers on August 11. His slider will always increase his margin for error, but the fastball velo is an ongoing struggle to keep a very close eye on moving forward.

Javier will also face Boston for the second straight time. He has a 4.52 ERA with a 4.73 xERA and a 4.73 FIP for the season, as he has really experienced a downturn this year. It seems like he’s having to fight through each and every start. He allowed three runs on seven hits to Boston back on August 21. He’s only recorded eight strikeouts in his last three starts and allowed 10 runs on 17 hits over 14.2 innings. He just can’t seem to get things right or get them fixed.

I figured I would like Houston here because they’re facing a lefty and in an underdog role, but Javier’s metrics, both the prominently-used numbers and the underlying ones, are just not trustworthy enough to consider.

Keep an eye on the line here, though. Rafael Devers got hit on the wrist yesterday. X-rays were negative, but we’ll see if the Red Sox opt to hold him out of today’s lineup. That would move the line a bit in Houston’s favor.

Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins (-166, 8.5)

Cleveland’s last stand in the division basically begins right here. These two teams will play six times over the next week and a half with the Guardians sitting six games back in the division. They are seven games under .500 now with the way that they’ve played in the second half and they’ll likely need to sweep one of these series to even have a shot.

The odds are against them today, as Xzavion Curry gets the start against Kenta Maeda. Curry has a 3.51 ERA with a 4.99 xERA and a 4.10 FIP in his 77 innings pitched. His low strikeout rate paired with a 75.2% LOB% suggest regression and we’ve seen it recently, as he’s allowed nine runs on 16 hits in his last 13 innings. His last start was interrupted by rain and we were against him and the Guardians on the run line. It was suspended in the third inning and that bet was washed away.

Curry has allowed a 45.9% Hard Hit% overall and a 46.7% Hard Hit% over his last four starts. I really don’t like where his peripherals are heading and he’s also not a guy that works all that deep into games. Cleveland’s bullpen is in decent shape here, but long man Cody Morris and middle reliever Nick Sandlin are both a little limited here today, so the Guardians will have to leverage the pen effectively as a bridge to the late innings.

Maeda has a 2.91 ERA with a 3.71 FIP since returning back on June 23 from two months on the IL. He has made 11 starts and allowed just 20 runs, however he’s allowed six runs on 11 hits in his last two starts. There have been some cracks in the armor lately and he’s been leaking a bit of oil, as he’s allowed a barrel in each of his last 10 starts and the swing and miss numbers have been tailing off a little bit.

Still, he draws a pretty punchless Cleveland lineup here, although the offense swung the bats a bit better in Toronto than I expected, especially with how low-scoring the four-game series in Cleveland was. 

I would have given some thought to the Twins run line here as a fade of Curry, but their bullpen has worked a ton this week. Every major reliever has worked at least three times since last Wednesday and four pitchers have worked back-to-back days. Rocco Baldelli has really tried to manage everybody’s workload in a responsible manner, especially with the six-game lead, but I think this is a game where he could use guys three straight days in hopes of making it seven. I think he’ll manage very aggressively tonight, which could create value on Cleveland for Tuesday and Wednesday if the Twins go hard with their relievers.

I don’t see a play for today, but I’m watching this series like a hawk.

Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia Phillies (-142, 9.5)

Leapfrogging the white-hot Mariners against the A’s as a huge favorite, we head to Philly where the Angels and Phillies do battle. It will be Lucas Giolito for the Angels and Taijuan Walker for the Phillies, as the Angels have dropped to 10.5 games out in the AL Wild Card hunt and are merely playing out the string.

The Phillies are looking to be the top Wild Card in the AL and have home-field advantage in their first-round series, which will come against the second Wild Card, which is the Cubs by a half-game right now.

Giolito’s homecoming with the Angels has not gone as expected. He has a 6.67 ERA with a 6.12 FIP in 27 innings pitched across five starts. He’s allowed at least three runs in every start, more than three in three of them, and has 11 walks with seven homers allowed. He’s struck out 28 in 27 innings, but the command profile has been lacking and he’s gotten no help from the Angels defense. Giolito only allowed one earned run in his last start, but three unearned runs despite nine strikeouts over six innings.

He has only allowed a 37.8% Hard Hit% overall and just three barrels in his last three starts after allowing eight over his first two starts. Giolito has even seen some nice bumps in his SwStr%, especially over his last four starts, but sequencing is the name of the game and he has a 60.2% LOB%. He’s had no luck with getting out of jams and has paid the ultimate price for it.

What’s tough is that I kind of want to back the Angels today, but that doesn’t seem like a sound strategy with how the bottom has fallen out. Walker has taken a bit of a turn here lately. He has a 4.02 ERA in the second half, but also a 5.06 FIP in his 40.1 innings of work. He’s allowed 20 runs in seven starts, but it’s the 19 walks that really stand out to me. Also, the velo bump that he had in June has basically gone away and he’s had problems maintaining his velocity from start to start.

I guess rather than take the Angels, this is me passing along a cautionary tale about laying what might seem like a light price on the Phillies. Walker has allowed a 42.3% Hard Hit% in his last six starts and is coming off of back-to-back starts north of 50%. I still don’t trust the Angels, but Walker does appear to be something of a weak link in this Phillies rotation.

Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays (-250, 8)

I wanted to mention this game, even though we have a big favorite role for the Blue Jays. Kevin Gausman seemed to rebound well from his one blow-up of the month in August, as he allowed seven runs on seven hits to the Phillies 12 days ago. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out eight against the Orioles on the 23rd. It’s almost like how sometimes your body needs a reset, so you wind up not being able to sleep and stay up all night just to sleep well the next night. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Gausman has a 3.23 ERA with a 2.86 FIP and those dynamite home numbers with a 3.12 ERA, .290 wOBA against, 2.59 FIP, and a 34.3% K%. The Nationals are the best in baseball when it comes to strikeout avoidance, but Gausman is one of the best in baseball when it comes to missing bats, so this will be a fun one.

I am extremely curious to see what happens with Josiah Gray here. The Blue Jays have had major issues hitting righties all month long and draw Gray, who has had some issues of his own. He allowed 14 runs in a three-start stretch over 11.1 innings before throwing six one-hit innings against the Yankees last time out. He did walk five against only four strikeouts, but he was able to induce a lot of weak contact and get out of there with a really good start.

Gray’s regression signs have been coming to the forefront and that worries me just enough to stay off of the Under 8 here, but keep in mind that Rogers Centre has played pretty stingy for offense throughout the course of the season.

Texas Rangers (-135, 8.5) at New York Mets

The Rangers are on the road against the Mets and are laying a pretty reasonable number with Jon Gray against Tylor Megill. One reason for that is because the adventures of the Rangers bullpen continued yesterday, as they lost on a walk-off walk in extra innings from Jonathan Hernandez. Texas used seven different relievers in hopes of cobbling that victory together, but failed.

Aroldis Chapman blew the save and wound up throwing 34 pitches, so he’s had 50 tosses over the last two days. Will Smith was the only reliever to throw under 15 pitches, so the Texas bullpen really needs a long, effective start from Gray. He’s got a 3.76 ERA with a 4.33 xERA and a 4.13 FIP for the season, but it has been an up-and-down road for him.

Gray started the season by having good numbers without many strikeouts. That changed in May and June, as he found his strikeout prowess before a blister sidelined him for 11 days. Since coming back from the blister, he has a 5.59 ERA and a 4.08 FIP in his last 11 starts, but feast or famine describes him perfectly. He has allowed four or more runs in seven of those 11 starts and one or fewer runs in four of them. 

He allowed five runs to Arizona on seven hits last time out, but he’s also back to not missing a ton of bats with 48 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. You never quite know what you’re going to get, but he’s given up four or more runs more often than not lately and the Mets, for all of their issues, still have a dangerous lineup.

New York will counter with Megill, who has a 5.54 ERA with a 6.44 xERA and a 5.29 FIP on the season over 91 innings pitched. He actually survived against the Braves last time out with three runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings, but survived is the operative term here. He allowed 10 hard-hit balls and four barrels in 19 batted ball events. He has allowed a 42.8% Hard Hit% for the season, but a 52.1% mark over his last four starts since coming back, including 11 barrels for a 15.1% Barrel%.

I like the Over 8.5 here. The Rangers bullpen has been a mess and the Mets bullpen hasn’t been all that great either. Both starters appear likely to pitch to a lot of contact in this one and Megill has allowed a ton of hard-hit balls, which should play well for a Texas offense that can do some damage. Just about every other book in the market is at 9, while DraftKings sits 8.5. I do like Over 9 at reduced juice as well and you can find -105 or even money. I think we see some offense in this one on Monday night.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-122)

Pittsburgh Pirates (-115, 9.5) at Kansas City Royals

Zack Grienke and Johan Oviedo start this one off at Kauffman Stadium with the Pirates as a short road favorite and a total approaching double digits. This will be Greinke’s second start since missing a couple of weeks and he looked good in his return with four shutout innings and just two hits allowed against the Athletics.

For the season, Greinke has a 5.34 ERA with a 4.99 FIP as he plays out what might be his last season. He only has one win in 13 decisions and 22 starts, so as much as Jordan Lyles gets a lot of run, Greinke has had his fair share of disappointing outcomes. His one win came all the way back on May 3.

Oviedo enters with a 4.46 ERA, 4.51 xERA, and a 4.41 FIP in 145.1 innings of work. He had a couple rocky outings against the Mets and Reds with 10 runs allowed on 10 hits in nine innings before allowing just one run on four hits over five innings last time out. It seemed like maybe Oviedo was wearing down a bit, but that was a good effort against the Cardinals. That was  a start against his former team, so maybe that was one that meant a little bit more.

Oviedo has lost a little bit of fastball velo as the season has gone along, as he’s averaged 96 mph on the fastball for the year and hasn’t hit that number in a start since July 15. I am keeping a close eye on that and other pitchers like him. I don’t really see an edge to be had in this game, besides maybe Oviedo’s workload and Greinke being a little bit fresher after some downtime.

Just the one play for today for me.

TL;DR Recap

TEX/NYM Over 8.5 (-122)

back to news

Live On Air

Streaming Now: Live Bet Saturday

play Watch Live radio Listen Live


A Numbers Game: Be careful betting baseball games right now, if they don’t involve teams still trying to make the playoffs. Teams that have clinched or teams that are completely out of it will be approaching games far differently. View more tips.

Ian Cameron: USC at Colorado - OVER (73.5). View more picks.