MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday, August 29th

By Adam Burke  ( 

August 29, 2023 10:56 AM

MLB schedule today has 15 games

Another busy day in the VSiN world and another busy day on the MLB board, as we’ve got all 30 teams in action on Tuesday. I’ll be co-hosting VSiN Best Bets with a live version of the College Football Betting Podcast for Week 1, so check that out on the DraftKings Network Samsung TV Plus fast channel or wherever else you consume VSiN/DKN content.

We’re also just two days away from the release of our “Updated” NFL Betting Guide, which is meant to be an add-on to the original one that we put out back on June 29. This one looks at what happened in the preseason, updated futures markets, Week 1, and a whole lot more.

Yes, and there’s still baseball as well, so let’s try to find some good bets for Tuesday night. As was the case yesterday, I’ll be skipping over some of the huge favorite roles in the interest of time with a full day on the schedule.

Latest MLB betting splits | MLB odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

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VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.

Here are some thoughts on the August 29 card (odds from DraftKings):

San Diego Padres (-155, 9) at St. Louis Cardinals

Even when Adam Wainwright throws a good game, the Cardinals can’t help him out. St. Louis was stymied by Blake Snell and wasted the best start for Waino all season. This is a team that really does look to be playing out the string and seems rather disengaged at this point. The Padres may still feel like some playoff hopes are attainable, but I don’t see it and this team has been frustrated all season long.

But, they’re a clear road favorite today with Seth Lugo on the bump against Zack Thompson. Lugo has a 3.70 ERA with a 4.07 xERA and a 3.75 FIP in 109.1 innings of work. For the most part, he’s been good since the Break. He allowed five runs in his first start back on an 11-day layoff and gave up eight runs to the Dodgers on August 7. Otherwise, he wasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any other start in the second half and has not allowed a run over his last 12.2 innings, with back-to-back six-inning, shutout efforts against the Diamondbacks and Marlins.

Thompson has only made three starts for the Cardinals, but has a 3.86 ERA with a 4.42 xERA and a 3.53 FIP over 35 innings at the MLB level this season. That is a huge departure from his 34.1 innings in Triple-A with an 8.65 ERA and a 6.78 FIP. This will be Thompson’s third start in four appearances and he’s had an identical stat line in the last two with two runs on six hits in five innings with a homer allowed, one walk, and five strikeouts.

This price may be a touch heavy on the San Diego side, but Lugo is a more proven commodity than Thompson and the Cardinals seem checked out.

Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs (-142, 7)

I should’ve trusted my gut with Milwaukee, as they hung a four-spot on Jameson Taillon in the first inning last night and never looked back. That is now nine wins in a row for the Brewers and they’ll look for No. 10 with ace Corbin Burnes on the bump. Interestingly, we see the Cubs as a pretty decent-sized favorite as they send their own ace to the hill in Justin Steele.

Burnes has struggled in two of his last three starts, as he allowed five runs to the lowly White Sox on August 11 and then six runs on eight hits last time out against the Twins. In between, he threw seven shutout innings against the Dodgers with nine strikeouts, serving as a reminder of how baseball makes no sense. Burnes had allowed just six earned runs in the second half prior to that blow-up against Chicago. I would’ve argued that he settled back in with that Dodgers start, but then the Twins one happened and now I don’t know.

Burnes allowed three homers in that start against Minnesota, marking the first time since May 22 that he allowed more than one home run in a start and he had only allowed seven in the time between May 22 and August 23. I still think this line is a little bit of an overreaction given how good Burnes has been otherwise, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Steele has a 2.80 ERA with a 3.48 xERA and a 3.19 FIP for the season over 138 innings. He missed a couple weeks in June with an injury and has a 2.96 ERA with a 3.53 FIP in 12 starts since across 70 innings of work. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any start in that span.

The full-season numbers for the Brewers are quite poor against lefties, but they are a top-10 offense in the second half, so they’ve been making some clear improvements after a rocky first half of the season. The Cubs are second to the Braves in wOBA against righties in the second half. To be honest, a low Over bet at 7 might not be a bad way to go in this one, but I don’t love it. I just think it’s interesting given that the baseline for Steele is at least 2-3 runs per start here of late and Burnes has had a few hiccups himself.

The wind is blowing in from LF at 10-15 mph, hence the super low total and why I am staying away.

Cincinnati Reds at San Francisco Giants (-162, 8)

Shame on me for missing it yesterday, but the Reds endured a mechanical problem in Arizona and spent EIGHT HOURS on the tarmac while waiting for their charter plane to be fixed to fly to San Francisco. As a result, they didn’t leave until nearly 2:30 a.m. PT and got into San Francisco around 4 a.m. They played like it, as Kyle Harrison, who is one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, really shut them down and had his first start longer than five innings of the season.

Today, the Reds will try to bounce back with Brandon Williamson against Alex Cobb. Cobb and the Giants are hefty favorites here, even though the Giants are 28th in wOBA at .286 with an 81 wRC+ here in the second half. Cincinnati has some major injury issues, though, as Matt McLain is out with a strained oblique, to go along with Jonathan India, Joey Votto, and Jake Fraley.

Williamson has a 4.18 ERA with a 4.93 xERA and a 4.57 FIP over his 92.2 innings of work. He threw six shutout innings against Arizona, but walked away with a no-decision in that one. Williamson has actually been quite good in the second half with a 3.13 ERA and a 3.97 FIP over 46 innings pitched. He’s really cut down on the walks and has only allowed six homers, including two in his last four starts. He’s been hit hard by the Cubs and Blue Jays, but the Giants are not on that level and are one of the worst offenses here in the second half.

Cobb comes in with a 3.74 ERA, 4.93 xERA, and a 3.96 FIP in his 132.1 innings of work. He has struggled a bit lately, though, as he allowed 15 runs over a three-start stretch before holding the Phillies to two runs on five hits over five innings in his last outing. He allowed an average exit velocity of 95.5 mph in that start, so he got lucky more than anything else.

I like the Reds today at this underdog price. They got a chance to reset with a good night’s sleep and Williamson has been pitching way better than this line gives him credit for. The Reds pen is also in better shape than San Francisco’s, as the Giants used Camilo Doval back-to-back days and also Tyler Rogers.

Shop around, as you can find better than this number at DraftKings.

Pick: Reds +136

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers (-185, 7.5)

This is a big favorite, but one worth talking about as the Diamondbacks and Dodgers do battle. It will be Merrill Kelly and Clayton Kershaw, so we’ve got a good pitching matchup in this one. The Snakes need a good start after they were unable to get one from Zac Gallen last night, who gave up a ton of hard contact once again and it finally caught up with him.

Kelly threw seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts last time out against the Reds and has a 2.40 ERA with a 4.10 FIP since returning from a blood clot in his calf on July 25. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of those seven starts and has a high FIP because he’s given up seven homers and FIP doesn’t like that. He’s only allowed 34 hits in that span and a 7.5% Barrel%, so the barrels he’s allowed have definitely hurt him. He did have six shutout innings against the Dodgers back on August 9, but only had two strikeouts in that start.

I’m curious to see how Kershaw fares in this one. He had his start stopped by rain six days ago, so he’s only thrown two innings over the last 13 days. This will be just his fourth start back from injury, as he returned on August 10 with five innings of one-run ball against Colorado. He only has 10 strikeouts out of 47 batters faced in those three starts and has a 43.8% Hard Hit% against in 32 batted ball events in that span.

I’m not betting on the Diamondbacks today, but I do think they have a decent chance at the upset here. I’m more interested in seeing how Kershaw looks with a lot of downtime over the last two weeks as he’s trying to get back into game shape for the No. 1 overall seed push.

New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers (-120, 8)

Another good start from Luis Severino was a bit of a surprise, as the Yankees beat the Tigers 4-1 last night. They’ll look for more of the same from Michael King, who draws today’s assignment against Tarik Skubal.

King isn’t a traditional opener, as he has worked a max of 3.2 innings in relief this month and has gone multiple innings in six of his last seven appearances. He went 2.2 innings in his start five days ago against the Nationals. He threw 50 pitches in that appearance, which is the most he’s thrown all season. The goal here is to lower the exposure to Jhony Brito, who is a fringy MLB player at best.

King has really solid peripherals with a 3.13 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and a 85.8 mph average exit velocity in 69 innings of work. Brito has a 5.37 ERA with a 5.47 FIP. He allowed a run on a hit in 2.1 innings in relief of King on August 24. That was after he gave up seven runs on nine hits in his start against Boston on the 18th.

Skubal comes in with a 4.06 ERA, 2.63 xERA, and a 1.92 FIP in 44.1 innings of work. The southpaw has had four rough starts and five good starts on the season. In the four rough starts, he has allowed 19 earned runs. In the five good starts, he has allowed one earned run. It all depends on which day you catch him, but the Yankees are a top-10 offense against lefties here in the month of August.

Skubal has only allowed one homer with a 50/8 K/BB ratio in his nine starts since returning on July 4 to make his season debut. I’m not exactly sure what to expect out of him here and this is a hard game to bet into, especially since the Tigers offense seems to be going in spurts.

Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (-122, 10.5)

The Astros were victorious in a big way yesterday, as they got to Chris Sale a bit, but really hammered Kyle Barraclough in relief. Barraclough wore a beating for the Red Sox to spare the bullpen for this game and the rest of the week, as the Astros won 13-5. 

Today’s game is a really interesting one between JP France and Brayan Bello. France remains a pretty clear regression candidate, even after giving up 10 runs on 11 hits in his last start against the Red Sox. He’s got a 3.51 ERA with a 4.37 FIP in 110.1 innings of work. France had allowed a total of 33 earned runs in his previous 17 starts, but it all came crashing down on him in this most recent outing.

Now France runs it back against the same team, so that is really interesting. He’s allowed seven barrels and a 46% Hard Hit% over his last four appearances. He’s thrown about 20 more innings than last season and his velocity has been a little bit up and down, so I do wonder if maybe some fatigue is creeping into the profile. It’s going to be a war of attrition for a lot of playoff teams with guys reaching new innings thresholds on their arms.

The Red Sox are sending out Bello, who gave up 12 baserunners over his seven innings against Houston, but only managed to allow one run. That is three starts in the last four for Bello with one run allowed, but the Astros had nine hits and three walks, but left a small village on the basepaths against Bello, who only had four strikeouts out of 32 batters faced. He crossed over 100 pitches for the first time since July 5 and that start was heading into the All-Star Break.

Runs are certainly possible here, as the total correctly implies. Rain is also possible, so we’ll see if there’s a delay or a late start. I don’t have a bet here, as I agree with Boston being a short favorite, but Bello is a concern for me in this one.

Cleveland Guardians at Minnesota Twins (-175, 7.5)

I said yesterday on VSiN Daily Baseball Bets that Terry Francona needed to manage yesterday’s game like it was Game 7 of the World Series with Xzavion Curry on the hill. Well, he did not, as Curry allowed a grand slam to Royce Lewis and then Francona went to Daniel Norris, who effectively put the game out of reach. The Guardians did hit Kenta Maeda pretty hard, but it was all for naught, and now that they are seven games back with only six head-to-head games left, their playoff hopes are on life support.

Gavin Williams and Pablo Lopez square off here. Sadly, Lopez ended the big AL Cy Young Award dream with his last start against the Rangers, as they jumped him for five runs on 10 hits, including three homers. He probably gets back on track today against Cleveland. He had thrown 19 straight shutout innings against the Tigers, Phillies, and Pirates going into that start against Texas, but hit the wall against a really good offensive ballclub. Cleveland is not a really good offensive ballclub.

The one thing here for Lopez, though, is that his 29.3% K% is diminished a bit by Cleveland’s quality numbers in terms of strikeout avoidance. Batted balls have been an occasional issue, though usually by a team that can hit for some power. Lopez had allowed five earned runs total over his previous six starts before the Rangers jumped on him. He also had an awful start with seven runs allowed against the A’s in 5.2 innings to start the second half.

So, the precedent is there for a bad start or two, including one against Cleveland back on June 1 with six runs allowed over 5.2 innings. I’m just not sure that’s what we get today, although the ball was carrying quite well at Target Field last night and in that Rangers series.

Williams has a 3.52 ERA with a 4.24 xERA and a 3.93 FIP over 12 starts and has one MLB win to his name against five losses. That’ll give you an idea of the run support that he gets. Williams had a bad start last time out against the Dodgers with seven runs allowed on eight hits and wasn’t very sharp against the Tigers in the start prior to that.

He pitched 115 innings across High-A and Double-A last season. He’s up to 125.1 innings across three levels this season, with the most at the big-league level, so I do wonder if there’s a little bit of oil leaking from him. He’s had trouble maintaining his velocity at times and has largely worked through it, but it’s still something to think about and consider.

I still believe in Williams enough not to take the Twins run line here, but I don’t have high hopes for Cleveland in this series or the head-to-head series next week at home. Frankly, I think Cleveland is probably a fade team as we hit September with a bunch of young arms likely to run out of gas and their second losing season since 2012 all but a certainty.

Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins (-122, 7.5)

The Sunshine State rivalry picks up with Tampa Bay and Miami down in South Beach, as the Marlins send Sandy Alcantara to the bump and the Rays counter with Aaron Civale. The box of chocolates season for Alcantara has been a really windy road. He has a 4.16 ERA with a 4.27 xERA and a 4.03 FIP in 171 innings of work. I think the second half really epitomizes the year for Sandy.

He has a 3.02 ERA, but a 4.38 FIP. He has an 85.1% LOB%, so that’s been good, but he’s also had two starts in which he’s allowed three home runs. He also has thrown complete games and another start of eight shutout innings. You can still see all of the promise and potential, but you also see the bad outings that have derailed his season. 

What you can also see is the 42.4% Hard Hit% that has made it tougher for him to sustain the previous few seasons worth of results. He’s allowed six barrels over his last two starts as well. He’s already allowed more barrels than he did last season with a month to go and more barrels than he did in 2021. 

The Rays have had their fair share of offensive problems in the second half, but they’ve really been bad against lefties. They are a top-10 offense by wOBA and wRC+ against righties here in the second half. That is not true of the Marlins, who are 27th in wOBA with an 85 wRC+ against righties. Of course, they’re also 27th in wOBA against lefties as well.

Civale has allowed eight runs on 25 hits in 20.1 innings with a 20/2 K/BB ratio in four starts since joining the Rays. It seems like he’s still trying to really settle in at times, but he’s done a great job of limiting hard contact against with a 30.8% Hard Hit% and a 6.2% Barrel%. He had a 20% SwStr% last time out against the Rockies after lagging in that department against Cleveland and San Francisco. We’ve seen increased curveball usage in his last two starts and I do think that’s his best pitch.

These were the only two teams to have Monday off, so both bullpens are in tip-top shape. I like the Rays at a dog price here. Alcantara certainly has a really high ceiling, but Civale’s been good himself and I’m getting the better offense at plus money in this one. That’s a bet I’m willing to make.

Pick: Rays +102

Los Angeles Angels at Philadelphia Phillies (-155, 9.5)

Regression has hit Michael Lorenzen pretty hard in his last two starts, as he has allowed 11 runs on 16 hits in nine innings of work. He threw that no-hitter back on August 9 and got a little bit fortunate given the hard contact that he allowed, but that’s kind of been a story at times throughout the season. He has a 3.69 ERA with a 4.13 FIP in 131.2 innings of work and a .257 BABIP with a 40.1% Hard Hit%.

So, I’m not totally surprised to see a couple of rough starts hit the ledger, especially since he had allowed five earned runs total over his previous six starts. Whether or not the Angels can keep the tough times coming is another story, as it’s hard to trust their offense on a regular basis, but Lorenzen has had a couple of rocky outings recently with a correction to his numbers.

If the Angels were sending out someone other than Tyler Anderson, maybe I’d be more interested. Anderson has a 5.35 ERA with a 4.83 xERA and a 4.46 FIP in 117.2 innings of work. He’s allowed 16 runs over his last three appearances and just really hasn’t been all that sharp for most of the season. He’s had a few good outings here and there, but he draws a Phillies lineup with a .363 wOBA and a 128 wRC+ against lefties in the second half.

I mostly just wanted to point out Lorenzen’s struggles because I’m curious if they continue for the rest of the season. Remember, this is not really a guy who has had a lot of starting success throughout his career and it is rare to see a guy in his age-31 season suddenly rise up, especially with a sizable innings increase from the previous season.

Texas Rangers (-142, 8.5) at New York Mets

The Rangers did nothing until the eighth inning yesterday and the Mets failed to add on against Jon Gray, so the only play for yesterday went down with a 4-3 win for Texas. There really weren’t that many chances to score runs, at least not for the Mets, who scored all three runs on homers and only had three at bats with a runner in scoring position. The teams struck out 17 times combined against the two starters, which I absolutely would not have expected.

Anyway, Andrew Heaney and Jose Quintana are the listed starters here, as we’ll see two games with two left-handed starters and they are the last two by rotation number. Heaney is kind of in no man’s land right now. He’s allowed seven runs on 17 hits in his last 9.1 innings of work. He’s struck out nine and walked four. He allowed three homers in 4.1 innings to the Twins last time out and continues to work on a pretty short leash.

Quintana finally suffered a setback, but it came against Atlanta, which is almost to be expected for a lefty at this point. He allowed five runs on nine hits after allowing a total of 12 earned runs in his previous six starts. He has a 3.73 ERA with a 3.37 FIP because he’s only allowed one home run, but he only has a 30/17 K/BB ratio in 41 innings of work. He has only allowed a 33.3% hard Hit% and six barrels, two of which came in that start against Atlanta.

The Mets probably have a little bit of value to them today, but that bullpen is a dumpster fire, so it would be 1st 5 or bust and the 31-cent spread at DraftKings is disappointing, with the Rangers at -145 and the Mets at +114. I don’t have a bet here, as Quintana could very well struggle again with another quality offense and the Mets have had a lot of uninspired efforts lately. If I had to play it, I’d look at Mets 1st 5 and see if maybe it plays out like last night, where a Rangers live bet makes sense to fade the Mets pen.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Kansas City Royals (-155, 8.5)

Cole Ragans gets the start for the Royals, as we’ll see the Colin Selby opener and the Luis Ortiz bulk for the Pirates. Depending on where this line closes and the book you cite, this could be the second-biggest favorite role of the season for KC. The biggest was back on May 6 when they were in the -165 range against the A’s. This one may ultimately come close.

Ragans has been spectacular with the Royals, as he has a 2.08 ERA with a 1.80 FIP in 34.2 innings over six starts. He has 47 strikeouts against 10 walks and has allowed just eight total earned runs. He’s allowed just a 33.3% Hard Hit% and a 4.8% Barrel% in 84 batted ball events. 

Selby worked two shutout innings in his first start of the season last time out. He’s allowed one run on two hits over his last four appearances covering 5.2 innings. I’m not sure he’s the problem here. The concern is Ortiz, who will bulk with a 5.37 ERA, 7.67 xERA, and a 6.10 FIP in 57 innings of work. There is a hell of a lot to dislike about this profile, as he has a 39/31 K/BB ratio and has allowed 11 homers. There really aren’t any redeeming qualities in his profile, other than the fact that he is under 25 and has some room to grow.

Ortiz just came back up on August 23 and allowed five runs on seven hits over 3.1 innings. He has allowed 15 runs on 22 hits in his last three MLB appearances. During his most recent stint in the minors, he had a 7.77 ERA over 24.1 innings with a 25/16 K/BB ratio.

It’s hard to wrap my head around taking the Royals at a price like this, so I won’t. As much as things have improved offensively and as exciting as Ragans has been, this is still a team that is 15-27 in the second half and 9-17 in August.

TL;DR Recap

Reds +136

Rays +102

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