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MLB Daily Free Picks, Predictions, Odds


2020 Daily MLB
Picks and Predictions
Sunday, August 2, 2020

  • by Kevin Davis
  • August 2, 2020
  • baseball expert Kevin Davis provides his daily Best Bets for the MLB regular season.

He's locked and loaded with three selections for Sunday August 2, 2020.

National League

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (TBS, 1:10 p.m. ET)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs (MLB.TV, 2:20 p.m. ET)

American League

Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels (MLB.TV, 4:10 p.m. ET)

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • David Peterson LHP (1-0, 3.18 ERA)
  • Kyle Wright RHP (0-1, 16.88 ERA)

Best Bet: New York Mets Moneyline +101

For the past two games I have backed the New York Mets as underdogs against the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, the Mets have caused a lot of heartburn for me as a bettor. While there are some handicappers who believe in trends, I believe that most of the time they are misleading.

At the beginning of the season I predicted that the Mets would win the NL East, and I still stand my belief that they are best team in the division. They may not be playing like the best team in the NL East, but the Mets have the best talent. It is for that reason that I am backing the Mets as +101 moneyline underdogs against the Braves for Sunday’s game.

Today the Mets are using rookie starting pitcher David Peterson. On Tuesday in his first career start, Peterson pitched 5.2 innings giving up only two earned runs. It may be too soon to draw any conclusions on what to expect from Peterson, but if he performs like he did on Tuesday then the Mets will most likely win. Peterson is not a throwaway talent like most back of the rotation pitchers as he is the Mets No.10 prospect.

Opposing Peterson is Braves' right-hander Kyle Wright, who in his lone start this season pitched 2.2 innings giving up five earned runs. The season may be young, but I believe based on the limited data that Peterson is a much better pitcher than Wright. That is why I am backing the Mets as moneyline underdogs yet again.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Steven Brault LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
  • Jon Lester LHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Best Bet: Pittsburgh Pirates Moneyline +165

Sunday’s game is a battle between two NL Central teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are regularly the worst team in the division, while the Cubs are one of the best teams. This year is not much different than previous season, but teams like the Pirates beat teams like the Cubs occasionally.


Sunday’s game is a perfect spot for sports bettors to fade the Cubs as they are using a well-known starting pitcher and the Pirates are using a virtual unknown. When looking at the matchup between these two teams the Pirates should not be +165 moneyline underdogs. That is why I am backing the Pirates today.

36-year old Jon Lester starts for the Cubs today, but his performance has regressed since last season. In 2019, Lester was 13-10 with a 4.46 ERA. For the 2020 season, FanGraphs projects Lester to regress even further with a 4.75 FIP. This is despite Lester’s first start of the season where he pitched five scoreless innings. That start will be the exception for the 2020 season, not the norm. I believe that Sunday’s game will be the start of Lester’s decline this season, that is why I am backing the Pirates moneyline.

Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Josh James RHP (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
  • Shohei Ohtani RHP (0-1, Infinite ERA)

Best Bet: Houston Astros Moneyline (-120)

For Sunday’s game between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels, I am shocked that the Astros are only -120 moneyline favorites. Over the last few years, the Angels have been mediocre, while the Astros have been one of the best teams in the league. My model believes that the Astros should be -142 favorites, but for whatever reason the betting public and oddsmakers are undervaluing the Astros.

There are two reasons why you should bet against the Angels today and in the immediate future. The first reason is that the Angels are without Mike Trout. Of all the players in the league, Trout is the best and he is out on paternity leave for the birth of his child. The second reason why you should bet against the Angels is because their second-best offensive player Shohei Ohtani will not be in their lineup.

The reason why Ohtani will not be in their lineup is because he is the starting pitcher for Sunday’s game, and he is the only pitcher in the league with an infinite ERA. In his only start this season, Ohtani gave up five earned runs and did not record a single out. While Ohtani may be a talented pitcher, he might not be able to handle pitching and hitting duties simultaneously. That is why I think that the Astros will easily win Sunday’s game.

Best Bet Tracker

  • New York Mets Moneyline +101
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Moneyline +165
  • Houston Astros Moneyline (-120)

How do I handicap my MLB Best Bets?

My MLB handicapping model is based on the baseball pythagorean theorem where you can predict a team's winning percentage based on how many runs they score and allow over the course of the season. I make projections on how many runs each player scores or allows for how that team's projected roster for that day would do over the course of a full season.

Once I have a projected winning percentage for both teams, I have a formula I use to determine each team's probability of winning. For example, I calculate what percentage of games a .500 team wins against a .400 win team.

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