It is a brand new week of MLB action and there are 11 games on the Monday slate. As of this writing, only the Rockies have yet to name their starting pitcher.
As usual, we are here with our three best bets of the day and remember that these are value bets mostly based on our proprietary model. Thus, when we make underdog plays at the best sportsbooks, it means we project long-term profit at the odds posted even with a sub-.500 record.
We have two such value underdogs for Monday, but our third play may be the most intriguing one as we see value in an Under in a mediocre-at-best pitching matchup. Let’s break down the MLB odds for tonight.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
Monday, September 18, 2023 – 07:20 PM EDT at Truist Park
Major League Leader in WAR
The Braves may have the best record in baseball, but the visiting Phillies have the decided pitching advantage Monday night with Zack Wheeler taking on Kyle Wright.
Wheeler enters this contest 11-6 with a 3.70 ERA and a spiffy 3.47 xFIP, and he leads all starting pitchers in the Major Leagues with a 5.4 WAR, just ahead of Spencer Strider at 5.1.
Bounce Back Spot?
Granted he comes off possibly his worst start of the season against the Braves, last Tuesday, where he allowed six runs in five innings, but that marked just the second time in his last 12 starts that Wheeler allowed more than three runs.
We like the chances of Zack bouncing back in his second straight start vs. the same team, especially since he tossed eight scoreless innings allowing just three hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk here in Atlanta the first time he faced the Braves this year. This is a guy with an excellent K/BB ratio of 10.08/1.80 per 9 and a high soft-contact rate of 21.5%, so we will forgive last week’s rare clunker.
Wright is a spot starter making just his seventh start of the season, and he has not been good while going 0-2 with a 7.48 ERA, lasting a total of just 21.2 innings over his six starts. He too is making his second straight start vs. the same team after getting hit hard, as the Phillies reached Wright for six runs on six hits plus two walks in just three innings last Monday.
However, unlike his counterpart Wheeler, Kyle does not show any redeeming qualities allowing us to forgive that last outing, as he has struggled with command issuing 4.98 BB/9 and has a poor soft-contact/hard-contact ratio of 11.0% / 32.9%.
So being able to get the pitching WAR leader as a small underdog vs. a weak mound opponent is great value on Monday.
Predicted Score: Phillies 6 – Braves 4
Chicago White Sox vs. Washington Nationals
Monday, September 18, 2023 – 07:05 PM EDT at Nationals Park
Worst September Offense
Although this is not a great pitching matchup, that may actually be giving value to the Under in a meeting of two teams playing out the string that own the two worst offenses in baseball this month in terms of wRC+ as Joan Adon and the Nationals host Mike Clevinger and the White Sox.
Adon has managed to go 2-2 despite a lofty 5.92 ERA and an equally bad 5.12 xFIP in nine appearances (seven starts) covering 38.0 innings. Joan went six innings in his two wins, but he has not gone more than five innings in any of his other outings this season and that may help limit his exposure if he is pitching poorly again.
But then again, he has a chance to have one of his better outings here against an indifferent White Sox offense that owns the lowest wRC+ in baseball during the month of September at 64, or 36% below the league average. To give an idea of just how bad that is, it is a whopping 9% worse than the team with the second-lowest wRC+ this month.
2nd Worst September Offense
Clevinger has been a bit better than Adon and he actually has a 3.61 ERA, although he has not been nearly that good with his xFIP on par with Adon at 5.12. But with that said, Mike has had back-to-back good starts over which he allowed a total of two runs on nine hits with 14 strikeouts and no walks in 13 innings.
He has another chance to succeed here as the Nationals would be the aforementioned team with the second lowest wRC+ during September at 73, or 27% below the league average.
So with two offenses just waiting for the season to end that are both capable of making any pitcher look like Cy Young, bet the Under in Washington.
Predicted Score: White Sox 4 – Nationals 3
New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins
Monday, September 18, 2023 – 06:40 PM EDT at loanDepot park
Fine as Starter
Although it has been a very disappointing season, the Mets did take three out of four from the Diamondbacks, last week, and they now look to play spoilers again against the playoff-hopeful Marlins, on the road, with Jose Butto taking on Edward Cabrera.
Butto has split time between starting and relieving but he has proven to be quite serviceable over his four starts this year, not allowing more than two runs in any of those starts while going at least five innings in three of them and falling one out shy at 4.2 innings in the other.
Jose has generated a good groundball rate of 47.2% and he has done a good job at limiting hard contact at 26.0% allowed. He also benefits by facing a Miami offense ranked only 21st in baseball in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching at 91.
Not Worth This Price
Cabrera has not really shown much to justify being the decided favorite that he is here, sitting at 6-7 with just a 4.52 ERA and 4.33 xFIP. and although he is starting here, his last two appearances have come following an opener, which does not exactly inspire confidence in the Marlins’ belief in him.
Granted Edward has a very good strikeout rate of 11.14 K/9 through 85.2 innings, but that gets offset by a horrific walk rate of 6.30 BB/9, and he has been a bit lucky with a ,269 BABIP allowed.
We are not even convinced Cabrera is the better pitcher here, let alone worthy of this price, so back the Mets as underdogs in Miami, on Monday night.
Predicted Score: Mets 5 – Marlins 4
MLB Pick: Mets ML (+135) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.