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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

Games to Watch - Sunday

This Sunday, we have five nationally televised games on TBS, ESPN, and the MLB Network. Among those handful of matchups, I'm focusing on two and providing my top selections.

Diamondbacks at Padres Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 4:10 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network

Diamondbacks at Padres Odds

  • Arizona Diamondbacks (+143)
  • San Diego Padres (-153)
  • Run Total 8 (Over -110, Under -110)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Madison Bumgarner LHP (0-2, 7.04 ERA)
  • Dinelson Lamet RHP (1-0, 1.72 ERA)

This Sunday is the final game in a three-game series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. Both teams are in the NL West meaning they are going to play 10 of their 60 games against each other this shortened season.

So far in five games, the Padres have done better against the Diamondbacks. However, I believe that both teams are evenly matched. With the Diamondbacks relying on Madison Bumgarner in Sunday’s game, I am backing the Diamondbacks as +143 moneyline underdogs.

This offseason, the Diamondbacks made a splash in free agency by signing the left-handed starting pitcher Bumgarner to a five-year $85 million contract. In 11 seasons for the San Francisco Giants, Bumgarner won three world series rings and made four all-star game appearances.

With a career ERA of 3.16, Bumgarner is one of the most reliable starting pitchers in the league. Unfortunately, he’s fared poorly in his three starts this season, giving up 12 earned runs in 15.1 innings. However, Bumgarner is only 31-years old and has plenty left in the tank. I believe there is excellent value in backing the Diamondbacks as +143 moneyline underdogs with Bumgarner on the mound.

Besides the recency bias against Bumgarner, there are two reasons why the Padres might be favored against the Dbacks. The first is that the starting pitcher for the Padres on Sunday is Dinelson Lamet - a strong pitcher in his own right. In three starts this season Lamet is 1-0 with a 1.72 ERA. The second reason why the Padres might be favored is that they have a better lineup than the Diamondbacks.

Currently, the Diamondbacks score the fewest runs per game in the whole league, while the Padres score the fourth most runs per game. However, I believe that the Diamondbacks lineup has underperformed this year. When you combine that with the fact that Bumgarner could easily pitch seven innings giving up only one to two earned runs, I believe that Bumgarner could pull out a win with little run support. That’s why I am betting on the Diamondbacks at +143 moneyline odds.

Diamondbacks at Padres
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Arizona Diamondbacks Moneyline +143

Final Score Prediction:
Arizona Diamondbacks 3, San Diego Padres 1

Indians at White Sox Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 7:08 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Indians at White Sox Odds

  • Cleveland Indians (-130)
  • Chicago White Sox (+120)
  • Run Total 7.5 (Over +100, Under -120)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Shane Bieber RHP (3-0, 0.83 ERA)
  • Lucas Giolito RHP (1-1, 5.17 ERA)

For the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game between the Indians and White Sox, the programmers couldn’t have planned it better. The Indians are currently tied for second place in the AL Central, while the White Sox are only half-game behind in third place. For this year’s shortened season, Sunday night’s game could very easily have playoff implications.

The game is going to feature an epic pitching battle between Shane Bieber for the Indians and Lucas Giolito for the White Sox. Based on Bieber’s outstanding performance this season, I am backing the Indians as -130 moneyline favorites.

In a season with starting pitchers not staying out on the mound for many innings, Shane Bieber has been an anomaly. This season, starting pitchers are only averaging 4.73 innings per start which is an 8.7% decrease from 2019. In his three starts this season, Beiber is averaging 7.1 innings per start this season.

This gives Cleveland a clear advantage on nights when he is pitching because they do not have to rely on their bullpen as much. In addition to being an innings eater, Beiber has only allowed two earned runs in 21.2 innings of action. Beiber is virtually unhittable when he has pitched this season and I believe he continues his dominance on Sunday night against the Indians.

Opposing Beiber is Giolito. Last season, Giolito had a breakout year as he had a 14-9 record with a 3.41 ERA. This year Giolito’s performance has predictably declined. In three starts this season Giolito has given up nine earned runs in 15.2 innings. In his last two starts, Giolito has done well giving up only two earned runs in 12 innings.

However, the Baseball Prospectus pre-season PECOTA projections projected that Giolito would only have a 4.22 FIP this season. I do not think that Giolito is a bad pitcher, I just think that he is a relatively average pitcher. When you compare Giolito to Beiber, it’s clear the Indians have an edge in pitching for Sunday night’s matchup.

While the Indians have a clear edge in pitching for Sunday’s game, the White Sox have the edge in hitting. The White Sox lineup led by Eloy Jimenez and Edwin Encarnacion, is currently averaging 4.57 runs per game. In contrast to the White Sox, the Indians have the third-lowest average of runs per game in the league as they only average 3.13 runs per game.

While the Indians’ offensive troubles are normally an Achilles’ heel for a team, they still have a winning record. That is because they have great starting pitching. With their best starting pitcher Shane Beiber pitching on Sunday, I believe that the Indians will win an exceptionally low scoring game on Sunday night.

Indians at White Sox MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Cleveland Indians Moneyline (-130)

Final Score Prediction:
Cleveland Indians 3, Chicago White Sox 1

Best Bets Tracker

Arizona Diamondbacks Moneyline +143
Cleveland Indians Moneyline -130

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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