MLB Best Bets for September 4: Low-Scoring Affair Expected as Astros Take on Rangers

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There are 11 games on Monday’s Labor Day slate including seven holiday afternoon games, and we are here with our three best bets on the schedule. On a side note, the entire Cincinnati rotation has Covid-19 and the Reds have yet to name a Monday starter as of this hour.

But getting back to our plays, remember that these are value bets mostly based on our proprietary model, so when we make underdog plays, it means we project long-term profit at the MLB odds posted even with a sub-.500 record.

But with that said, we actually see very little underdog value for Monday at this time. We do however see nice value on a run line favorite, and we also like two totals for you to take at the offshore sportsbooks.

Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers

Monday, September 04, 2023 – 04:05 PM EDT at Globe Life Field

This total seems to be set a tad high in Arlington on Monday, so we are on the Under with J.P. France and the Astros visiting Andrew Heaney and the Rangers.

Huge Repertoire

The rookie France has looked very poised during his first taste of the Major Leagues, and while he will not blow you away with his 93.5 MPH fastball, the youngster knows how to “pitch” as he has five pitches that he has thrown over 10% of the time, and with four of those being breaking pitches, the fastball can at times play faster than it really is.

As a result of that vast arsenal, J.P. is 10-5 with a nifty 3.49 ERA. Granted the xFIP is higher at 4.52, but that is primarily because France is not a big strikeout guy and he counts on keeping batters off balance, as evidenced by the good 44.5% groundball rate.

Good Current Form

Now we expected regression for Heaney coming off a career year last season for the Dodgers when he posted a 3.10 ERA and 2.83 xFIP, and that regression has come with a 4.16 ERA and 4.39 xFIP in his first season in Texas. However, he has at least maintained a very good strikeout rate of 9.45 K/9, and you cannot knock his current form.

Andrew has now allowed three runs or less in seven straight starts with his 3.67 xFIP and K/BB ratio of 9.77/2.87 per 9 over those outings indicating this streak is not very fluky. He has also had three scoreless outings during this streak including last time out when he allowed five hits with seven strikeouts vs. one walk.

So, with France being consistently good all year and Heaney seemingly regaining his career-best 2022 form lately, bet the Under in this spot.

Predicted Score: Astros 5 – Rangers 3

The Pick

MLB Pick: Under 9½ (-113) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 9½ (-113)
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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics

Monday, September 04, 2023 – 04:07 PM EDT at RingCentral Coliseum

We are expecting a low-scoring affair when Jose Berrios and the Blue Jays pay a visit to Ken Waldichuk and the “hot” Athletics.

Still Solid

While Berrios may be a bit overrated and is a disappointing 9-10 on the year, he does have a decent 3.70 ERA and a good K/BB ratio of 8.32/2.62 per 9. Also, his average fastball velocity of 94.3 MPH is the highest it has been since 2020 and his heavy 93.8 MPH sinker has raised his groundball rate to 41.3%.

He did not have much trouble in his only start vs. the Athletics this year allowing two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts in six innings, and we do not expect an Oakland offense that is still just 23rd in the majors in wRC+ vs. right-handers at 89 to continue its offensive resurgence from this past weekend.

Fool’s Gold

The Athletics scored 21 runs in a three-game sweep of the Angels but remember that was vs. a team that placed eight players on waivers last week and is clearly now in tank mode the rest of this season. Do not expect a continuation of that onslaught here vs. a team that cares.

One thing that is real though has been the improvement of Waldichuk, as while he is 2-7 with a 5.92 ERA and 5.13 xFIP overall, he has allowed two runs or less in four of his last five starts and his strikeouts have been spiking for longer than that, with a rate of 9.88 K/9 over his last nine appearances.

Thus, we see enough to like on both sides to bet the Under in Oakland this Monday.

Predicted Score: Blue Jays 4 – Athletics 2      

The Pick

MLB Pick: Under 8½ (-105) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Under 8½ (-105)
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Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels

Monday, September 04, 2023 – 09:38 PM EDT at Angel Stadium

The Angels are just going through the motions the rest of this season, and we look to take advantage by playing the league-best Orioles on the run line with Grayson Rodriguez taking on Kenny Rosenberg in Anaheim.

Better Than the ERA

Rodriguez comes in at 4-3 with a 5.03 ERA, but he has pitched considerably better than that as evidenced by his 3.88 xFIP. The Orioles had high hopes for the well-regarded youngster, but he was hit hard early in the year and demoted to the minors. However, he has lived up to the press clippings since being recalled and re-entering the rotation on July 17th, posting a 2.83 ERA in eight starts.

In fact, since giving up four runs upon his Major League return, Grayson has allowed three runs or less in his last seven starts since then, becoming an integral part of the Orioles having the best record in the American League, and he tossed six scoreless innings last time out allowing just one hit with six strikeouts vs. one walk.

Dead Team

The Angels chose to be buyers at the trading deadline, but since then they have fallen hopelessly out of the playoff race while losing the pitching of Shohei Ohtani and the hitting of Mike Trout along the way, and the organization placed a third of the team on waivers on Thursday, including several players just acquired at the deadline.

That was an obvious blow to morale, and the Halos proceeded to get swept by the team with the worst record in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, over the weekend. Now, they are giving Rosenberg his first start of the season after pitching seven innings of relief this year, and this is a guy whose Major League career has produced a 5,09 ERA and 5,94 xFIP with a 6.62 BB/9 walk rate almost as high as his strikeout rate of 7.64 K/9.

While the moneyline here reflects this mismatch, we feel that the Baltimore run line is reasonably priced and we are thus making that our play.

Predicted Score: Orioles 6 – Angels 3

The Pick

MLB Pick: Orioles -1½ (-115) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Orioles -1½ (-115)
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*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.