Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Wednesday, June 16th (2021)

According to an article on ESPN.com, all Major League Baseball Teams were given a memo from the league outlining the plans to penalize all players caught by umpires deemed to be using foreign substances. This topic has been at the forefront of MLB news for the last couple of weeks and boomed when Twins slugger Josh Donaldson called out pitchers like Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole for improved spin rates. 

It will be interesting to see the effects of this “crackdown” on starting pitching and offensive numbers around the league. USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale took to Twitter over the weekend with an observation of spin rates and how it affected team batting averages and strikeouts. However, until we know more information, we are still suggesting three unders are the right side in today’s action.

This past week had the lowest spin rate of any week this season and the impact is quite clear with batting averages up and strikeouts down.

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 13, 2021

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Wednesday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 81-70-3 (+3.06 units)

Reds-Brewers UNDER 8 runs (-114)

The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers are becoming familiar with one another, as today marks the sixth meeting between them in the past week and the ninth meeting in the last 20 games. Though the over is 3-2-1 in the previous six meetings, there is good reason to believe the under will cash today. 

The under is 3-0-1 in Cincinnati Reds starter Tyler Mahle’s (6-2, 3.56 ERA) last four road starts. In addition, the under is 3-0-1 in Milwaukee Brewers starter Freddy Peralta’s (6-1, 2.25 ERA) previous four starts against teams with a winning record. 

Mahle is quickly morphing into the ace of the Reds staff. He is 4-0 in his last four starts while pitching to a 2.31 ERA in that span. The only concerning trend surrounding Mahle today is that he has a 5.90 ERA in six day starts as opposed to a 1.83 ERA over seven starts at night. However, given Milwaukee’s hitters’ lack of familiarity with him (just 12 combined at-bats), Mahle should have the advantage for at least the first couple of turns through the batting order.

While Mahle is 4-0 in his last four starts, the Brewers are 5-0 in Peralta’s previous five. Thus, instead of going back and forth between which team will win, bank on Peralta doing his part to keep the scoring down. He has struck out 21 Reds in 67 combined at-bats, equating to a strikeout in 31.3% of plate appearances. The Reds have scored more than four runs just twice in their eight head-to-head meetings but should not come close to that total today if they cannot put the ball in play against Peralta.

Rays-White Sox UNDER 8 runs (-110)

Though the over is 18-8-2 in the last 28 meetings in Chicago between the White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, both of today’s starting pitchers have had great success against the opposition, albeit as part of a small sample size.

Ryan Yarbrough (4-3, 3.63 ERA) has held the White Sox to a combined 4-for-23 (.174 BA) and no extra-base hits. Lucas Giolito (5-5, 3.81 ERA) has limited the Rays to a combined 6-for-28 (.214 BA) and no extra-base hits. Thus, with each lineup having issues hitting for power against the opposing pitcher, it won’t be easy to score runs in bunches.

Yarbrough has a 1.08 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 72 innings. The young lefty is known for inducing soft contact, and he has allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of his last ten starts. The Rays are 5-0 in his previous five starts, which is a testament to his ability to keep them in games. Giolito has faced the Rays three times in his career while pitching to a 1.31 ERA. And if the bullpens are needed for several outs, each team’s relievers rank in the top seven in the league in ERA.

Chicago’s pitchers, in particular, have performed well at home, with a 2.77 home ERA that ranks third in the majors. The under is 14-3-2 in Chicago’s last 19 home games, and another low-scoring game should be on tap today.

Phillies-Dodgers UNDER 7.5 runs (-113)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (4-3, 2.29 ERA) has been the team’s most reliable starter all year long. He leads the team in innings pitched (90.1), WHIP (0.90), K/9 (11.2), WAR (3.8), and ERA. Aside from struggles with Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger, his stats against the Dodgers are more than respectable. Bellinger’s four hits (in 11 career at-bats) against Wheeler have all been home runs. However, the rest of the team is a combined 7-for-28 (.250 BA) against Wheeler, with one double and one home run. The excellent news for Wheeler is that Bellinger is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury and could wind up back on the IL.

Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 3.39 ERA) has limited opponents to a .214 OBA this season. After allowing ten runs in two combined starts, Kershaw bounced back with one of his best performances of the season in his last start. He held the Rangers to one unearned run on three hits over six innings while striking out nine.

Though the over is 4-0 in Kershaw’s last four starts, he should not have as much run support as he has received lately without Bellinger and Max Muncy in the lineup. Thus, look for the more relevant trend of the under being unbeaten (5-0-1) in the last six meetings between these teams in Los Angeles to hold.

"My fastball command was probably the biggest improvement." @ClaytonKersh22 (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 9 K) on his outing and having the run support early in the game. pic.twitter.com/GeI7yfmOBN

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 12, 2021

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