It’s time to continue our Lindy’s Best MLB Locks Today series. For Thursday’s expert MLB picks, we are taking our focus to one game, specifically the biggest mismatch imaginable in today’s MLB.
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Expert MLB Picks Today: Cardinals-Braves | September 7
With only six games to choose from on Thursday’s slate — plus that little “NFL” thing getting underway this evening — it’s a light betting card for me in the MLB streets. But undoubtedly my favorite spot to target comes by way of the Cardinals-Braves game. The Cardinals are aiming for the surprising sweep of this three-game set, while the Braves are rolling out lefty ace Max Fried in hopes he can be the one slow St. Louis’ roll.
He’s been phenomenal since being activated off the IL this season; a 31.1% hard hit rate, .306 xSLG and sublime .250 xwOBA have led to an insane 2.52 ERA through 11 starts this season. And while the Cardinals offense has certainly come alive to wreak havoc on Braves bettors in recent days, Fried’s 4.2% barrel rate and 61.1% ground ball rate should help him keep the ball in the yard against Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and the rest of the righties lingering in the St. Louis lineup.
But the obvious reason I’m firing this bet is Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. The 42-year-old has been perhaps the worst starting pitcher in all of baseball this season; .408 xwOBA, .569 xSLG and mere 11.1% strikeout rate are atrocious. Furthermore, his 11.1% barrel rate and sub-40% fly ball are basically mirror images of what we’re looking at with Fried on the other side. Add in that Wainwright has to face baseball’s most potent offense in the Braves, sporting a 120 wRC+ and a .221 ISO against right-handed pitchers, and let’s just say this could get lopsided in a hurry.
Now, this line has gotten lopsided overnight, as Braves -1.5 is now sitting at -170 as the best available number across the industry. That means books have them with implied odds at roughly 63% to win this game by two-plus runs. Ironically enough, I’m projecting the Braves to secure a victory of two-plus runs 66.8% of the time, meaning there’s still some decent value to extract by betting this line. So looking for a juicy parlay piece to add to your Thursday Night Football play? Look no further than the Braves to win by flawless victory on the runline.
Best MLB Locks Today: Atlanta Braves -1.5 (LOCK)