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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:53 PM

Games to Watch - Tuesday

This Tuesday, we have five nationally televised games on FS1 and the MLB Network. Of those five games, I'm focusing on an Interleague matchup plus a late-night contest in the American League West.

Cubs at Indians Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

Cubs at Indians Odds

  • Chicago Cubs (+100)
  • Cleveland Indians (-115)
  • Run Total 8 (Over -110, Under -110)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Jon Lester LHP (1-0, 0.82 ERA)
  • Adam Plutko RHP (1-0, 2.57 ERA)

In a rematch of the 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians host the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs. In that World Series the Cubs beat the Indians, and I believe the same thing is going to happen on Tuesday night. The Indians opened as -130 moneyline favorites when the starting pitching matchup was expected to be between Jon Lester for the Cubs and Mike Clevinger for the Indians.

However, it was announced after the opening line was set that Clevinger violated the team’s coronavirus safety protocol. As a result, the dependable Clevinger was replaced by the unreliable Adam Plutko. In my model, this dropped the Indians chances of winning from 57% to 44%. Despite this the line has barely moved so I am backing the Cubs as +100 moneyline underdogs.

Adam Plutko is one of the rare Indians starting pitchers who is not reliable. In a season where starting pitchers are pitching fewer innings; the Indians have starting pitchers like Shane Beiber and Mike Clevinger who can pitch six quality innings giving up only one to two earned runs.

Plutko is a different story as in 2019 he had a 4.86 ERA, and a 5.54 xFIP. In limited action this season Plutko has a 2.57 ERA, and a 5.31 FIP. While Plutko’s low ERA is impressive, his high FIP this season should be concerning and that Is why I feel comfortable fading him. Especially against a Cubs lineup that is averaging 5.00 runs per game.

Facing off against Plutko is Jon Lester for the Cubs. In two starts this season Lester has pitched 11 innings giving up only one earned run and four hits. While I have doubts that Lester will continue pitching this well, he has a long track record of success. Last season was an off year for Lester, but it appears that he is pitching back to his form from two years ago.

Working in Lester’s favor for Tuesday nights game is an Indians lineup that averages 3.47 runs per game which is the 3rd fewest runs per game in the league. I think Lester can easily pitch six innings giving up only one earned run. That is why I am backing the Chicago Cubs as even money underdogs.

Chicago at Cleveland
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Chicago Cubs Moneyline +100

Final Score Predictions:
Chicago Cubs 4, Cleveland Indians 2

Athletics at Angels Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
Channel: MLB Network

Athletics at Angels Odds

  • Oakland Athletics (+128)
  • Los Angeles Angels (-139)
  • Run Total 9 (Over -110, Under -110)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Mike Fiers RHP (1-0, 5.63 ERA)
  • Dylan Bundy RHP (2-1, 2.08 ERA)

For a late-night nationally televised game, The Los Angeles Angels host the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland A’s are currently in first place in the AL West with a lead of 4.5 games despite only 17 games being played so far this season. Usually this would merit the A’s being heavily favored, but the betting public and the oddsmakers are rightfully skeptical of A’s starting pitcher Mike Fiers.

With the Angels being favored for this reason it may be tempting to back the Angels, but I am skeptical of their starting pitcher Dylan Bundy. Currently both lineups combine for an average of 9.53 runs per game which is half a run higher than the run total for Tuesday’s game. With two starting pitchers that I am skeptical of, and two great lineups, I am betting that over nine runs will be scored in Tuesday night’s matchup between the A’s and Angels.

A’s pitcher Mike Fiers is one of my favorite pitchers to bet against. Currently after three starts, Fiers has a 1-0 record with a 5.63 ERA, and a 5.40 FIP. In two of his three starts this season Fiers has given up four earned runs including on July 26th against the Angels.

Last season Fiers looks much better on paper than he does this season as he had a 15-4 record, and a 3.90 FIP. But Fiers also had a 4.97 FIP which is exceptionally high for a starting pitcher. With Fiers performance starting to revert to the mean, I think the Angels offense does very well in Tuesday’s game against the A’s.

Facing off against Fiers is Dylan Bundy for the Angels. In three starts this season Bundy is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA. Not only has Bundy pitched well, more importantly for the Angels he has pitched for six or more innings in all three of his starts. This includes his last start where he pitched a complete game against the Mariners giving up only one earned run.

Despite Bundy’s recent strong performance, I am skeptical of Bundy because he was an absolute train wreck in 2019 and 2018 for the Baltimore Orioles. I do not think that any pitcher can go from having an ERA around to 5 to an ERA around 2 just because they change teams.

That is why I like the A’s lineup to pile up runs against Bundy and the Angels.

Oakland at Los Angeles
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Over 9 Runs -110

Final Score Prediction:
Oakland Athletics 6, Los Angeles Angels 5

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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