Billy J’s Two for Tuesday’s MLB Picks

Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (+2.39 units), gives his best bet for today!

The fans wanted it and we listened. Two-for-Tuesdays are back! OK so maybe it wasn’t a pressing need from the fans, but I have brought it back for this week. We’ve got other series starting today and a full docket to choose from. Sometimes this becomes a bit overwhelming as there is too much food at the buffet and that’s where you can get in trouble. The opportunity is there to start firing across the board and falling into some traps.

I’m going to take a deep breath here and take a step back. In reviewing all the games on today’s slate, one of the games that stuck out was the Braves and Phillies game. These are two of the hottest teams in baseball who are finally meeting on this collision course. The Braves have slid into the second wild card and Phillies have made up a ton of ground as well and sit two games behind the Cardinals for the third wild card in the National League.

So how do we approach this Braves and Phillies game with two teams this red hot? We’ve got the Phillies who have won 18 of their last 24 and the Braves who have won 19 of their last 24. The Phillies return from a lengthy 11-game road trip which concluded this past weekend in San Diego where they won three of four games against the Padres whereas the Braves had their hands full at home this past weekend with the NL West leading Dodgers. This will be the second series of the season between these rivals and in the first four-game series of the year these two teams split. Picking one of these teams to win today or this upcoming series will be like throwing darts.

In today’s pitching matchup the Braves will send out Charlie Morton (4-3, 4.84 ERA) against Zack Wheeler (6-4, 2.77 ERA). Both pitchers are tied for 21st in the majors with 86 strikeouts. However, Morton has been an absolute strikeout machine lately. In Morton’s last 4 starts alone he has 40 strikeouts. After a tough stretch earlier in the year where the Braves lost four straight starts where Morton pitched and where his ERA got as high as 6.85, Morton has turned things around and the Braves have won seven of his last nine starts. Wheeler on the other hand had been cruising most of June and in his last start against the Rangers got his pitch count too high and got tagged for seven hits and the loss.

The pick here for me boils down to pitching consistency. Morton has been lights out in his last few starts and Wheeler is as steady as it gets in the bigs.  Wheeler is also nails at home where he is 4-2 with a 1.49 ERA and .188 opponents batting average. With these two pitchers going today, an off day yesterday for both teams, and sprinkle in a little bit of Bryce Harper out for a period of time here and I’ll look for the play that includes the under. I’m not going to go into the deep end here and do the full game over as the Phillies bullpen can get pretty scary on some nights. I’ll look for some plus value here with the first 5 innings under.

The Pick: Total Runs First 5 Innings Under 3.5 +112 on BetRivers. 1 unit play

Wait, I thought this was a two-for-Tuesday? Don’t worry I got you covered. In the second game here I’m focusing my attention on the Marlins at Cardinals matchup. In yesterday’s matchup the Cardinals laid the hammer and shutout the Marlins 9-0. That was even with Pablo Lopez on the mound. It was a vintage Adam Wainwright game as the Marlins had no answers at the plate against the veteran right-hander. In today’s matchup I like the bats to keep cruising for the Cardinals as they face off against Marlins left-hander Braxton Garrett (1-2, 4.08 ERA). In making his fifth start of the year today, Garrett is near the top of the leaderboard here with a high .390 BABIP. Opposing Garrett today will be Dakota Hudson (5-4, 3.72 ERA). In Hudson’s last start he was shaky yet again with control as he issued three walks. That’s eight free passes in his last two starts. His strikeout-to-walk ratio remains at a very low 1.17.

I expect tons of hits and runners on base with these pitchers on the mound today. Until either pitcher proves otherwise, the over/under on this one is too low not to take advantage of.

The Pick: Cardinals/Marlins Over 8.5 -110 on CaesarsSportsbook. 1 unit play  

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