MLB Sunday Picks: Best Moneyline, Run Line and Total for September 18

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Juan Soto #22 of the San Diego Padres at bat against the Seattle Mariners on September 13, 2022. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP

It’s another Sunday Funday full of MLB picks and today we come with two more underdogs worth your while, as well as a beatable total in the desert.

The end of the regular season can be pretty tough for making MLB picks. Business will pick up when the playoffs start and the betting public pours in, but for this Sunday’s slate, our shiny new analytic models weren’t too keen on any game in particular.

FiveThirtyEight is, though. Maybe they’re a bit too optimistic when it comes to the underdogs, but then again, this is the right time of year for those puppies to wreak some havoc at the pay window. Let’s see what Nate Silver’s crew has in store for us.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets

Sunday, September 18, 2022 – 01:40 PM EDT at Citi Field

We start with two teams that should be quite familiar to sharp bettors – an underdog that’s done quite well of late, and a favorite that’s definitely been worth fading in the right situations.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Hey, it’s the Pirates again. They’re still last in the NL Central division, but they did just sweep the Cincinnati Reds four straight. And they’ve still got a decent bullpen despite all their other flaws.

Johan Oviedo (4.13 xFIP) got one of those Ws against Cincinnati with five innings of 1-hit ball. He’s pretty good. The Pirates got him from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Jose Quintana trade; Oviedo has wisely stuck to his quality fastball-slider combo more often this year, eschewing the lesser pitches in his arsenal.

New York Mets

Oviedo isn’t Jacob deGrom (1.60 xFIP), granted. But this is where the betting public comes in and pushes the MLB odds too far; the Mets are 5-3 behind deGrom for a loss of 0.74 units.

FiveThirtyEight likes New York to win this matchup 78 percent of the time, which works out to -354 using the tremendous BMR Odds Converter calculator. Chalk and cheese, my friends. Chalk and cheese.

The Moneyline Pick

I can see why our new models weren’t jumping up and down to grab those 22 cents of potential profit margin with Pittsburgh priced at +376. This should still be worth the standard one-unit bet, though.

MLB Pick: Pirates ML (+376) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros

Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 02:10 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park

Back to the bayou we go for our run line MLB pick. It’s the usual big dog vs. big fave matchup we’ve come to know and love; maybe those extra 1.5 runs will be the difference-maker this time.

Oakland Athletics

At the ownership level, the A’s are an absolute joke, but they keep finding ways of getting the most for the least. That’s Billy Beane for you. Maybe there’s a pot of gold for Beane at the end of this rainbow – provided that rainbow takes the team to Las Vegas in the very near future.

In the meantime, we’re rolling the dice with Ken Waldichuk (4.53 xFIP), who’s making his fourth start in the bigs this Sunday. Oakland lost the first three, but there is a substantial gap between Waldichuk’s xFIP and his 5.40 ERA. And his most recent loss was by a single run; the A’s are 13-23 in games decided by that margin.

Houston Astros

They’ve already clinched the American League West, so Houston can afford to ease off the gas a bit. And they’re almost as chalky as the Mets in this matchup. FiveThirtyEight has the ‘Stros winning 74 percent of the time, which works out to –285 on the moneyline; the A’s are available at +301 at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).

Again, we’re going with the run line to help Oakland out a little – and to steer clear of Houston’s 25-16 record in 1-run games. By the way, Framber Valdez (3.08 xFIP) took the loss the last time he saw the A’s, back on July 9.

The Run Line Pick

The Astros just fell 8-5 to Oakland as I write this on a sunny Saturday night. They probably won’t lose Sunday’s game, but at this price, the A’s are the right choice.

MLB Pick: Athletics +1.5 (+140) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 04:10 PM EDT at Chase Field

Switching back to our own models (the ones we’ve paid for, that is), there isn’t anything among Sunday’s totals worth more than a fun-size bet, but this game comes pretty close.

San Diego Padres

The Padres are No. 16 overall on the WAR-hitting charts at FanGraphs. Juan Soto has a .706 OPS since arriving at the trade deadline. And Yu Darvish (3.60 xFIP) has the Under at 17-9-1 this year. But we’re counting on regression to the mean to help Soto and the Over cash in.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Surprise, the Snakes are out-hitting San Diego at No. 14 overall. That’s still mediocre, and we’re concerned about what rookie Ryne Nelson (3.63 xFIP in two starts) might do Sunday after giving up exactly zero earned runs in his first 13 innings of work. But Nelson’s .188 BABIP allowed and 100-percent strand rate can’t last forever.

The Total Pick

Did we mention it’s supposed to be around 100 degrees at game time? That should help the ball travel through the relatively thin Arizona sky. Drink plenty of fluids, and may the sphere be with you.

MLB Pick: Over 8 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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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.