MLB Best Bets for Sunday (9/16)


What had the makings to be a run-scoring affair on paper, turned into a mere seven-run combined performance by New York and Baltimore with four of the seven runs being scored from the bottom of the eighth inning on. Needless to say, their lack of ability to score runs in this one lost us both of our MLB Best Bets on Wednesday with the first five innings and full game overs failing to cash. The beauty of baseball is there’s always tomorrow to start up another winning streak and that’s exactly what we’re looking to do today. Sure, it may be Week 2 of the NFL season, but while people are sleeping on MLB, I’m here trying to churn out profits until the 162nd game. Let’s jump right into where the value is hiding on today’s slate.



Baltimore Orioles @ Boston Red Sox

Baltimore +275 Caesars Sportsbook, Boston -303 BetMGM

Baltimore and Boston will wrap up their current three-game series at Fenway today with Boston trying to secure the three-game sweep in the midst of a tight Wild Card race. Despite his horrendous performances, Baltimore will be trotting out Alexander Wells to the mound while Boston counters with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Baltimore, both pitching-wise and offensively, has been absolutely abysmal this season. Their lineup has seen some success in certain splits, mostly facing lefties at home, but unfortunately for them this matchup couldn’t be more opposite. They’ll be on the road at Fenway in this one going up against one of the better righties in the league, Nathan Eovaldi. With just a .274 wOBA and 72 wRC+ facing righties away from Camden yards this year, Baltimore has been a bottom-three offense in the split and only ranks better than the likes of Arizona and Colorado, but even with those brutal marks there might be a hidden advantage here. For as bad as they’ve been against righties, it seems like right-handed relievers are actually what gives them nightmares the most. Since the All-Star break, Baltimore actually ranks third in the majors with a .350 wOBA and 123 wRC+ facing righties through the first five innings of the game. In this split, they have a top-five batting average (.265), top-10 OBP (.328), top-three SLG (.494), top-3 IDO (.229), with the fourth-ranked OPS (.822) all with a perfectly normal .294 BABIP. This group may struggle overall facing righties, but they have shown they’re more than capable of putting up a few runs early off of them. 

While the offense may be able to score a few early here, it’s almost a guarantee that Alexander Wells will allow a few runs early. Over the course of eight appearances so far, five of which were starts, he’s pitched 26.2 innings and has gotten shelled for a 7.76 ERA with a 6.65 FIP. He has the horrid combination of not striking out many batters (6.75 K/9, 15% K%), walking a lot of batters (4.05 BB/9, 9% BB%, and allowing a lot of homers (2.36 HR/9). As a starter this season, opposing hitters have seen a lot of success against him being able to light him up for a .426 wOBA and a 7.21 FIP. Wells does actually have better splits on the road, but even at that his road FIP still sits at a 5.48 (5.98 xFIP) and has allowed a .386 wOBA against. His stats the first two times through the order are some of the worst I’ve seen, getting touched up for a .385 wOBA and 6.08 FIP the first time through and then getting absolutely torched for a .504 wOBA and 9.16 FIP the second time through. Right-handers especially have gotten to Wells this season, coming away with a .462 wOBA and 8.99 FIP over a total of 17.2 innings facing righties – particularly of concern when facing a lineup that includes Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and fan-favorite Hunter Renfroe. To put it quite bluntly, I see no way Boston doesn’t put up at least three or four runs off Wells here.

Nathan Eovaldi has been nothing short of amazing for Boston this season, especially when you take into consideration that Chris Sale would be out for most of the year and they wouldn’t have an ace of their staff. From day one, Eovaldi stepped in and filled those shoes and has been fantastic on the year with a 3.52 ERA and an even lower 2.78 FIP, a product of Boston having one of the worst defenses in the majors. He’s gotten somewhat lucky in the HR/FB department, allowing a mere 8.3% ratio, but he’s also been hit by a little bad luck with his BABIP (.320), so I think it’s fair to consider the good and bad luck a wash and buy into the Eovaldi hype. He had hit a rough patch, at least for him, over a seven-start stretch from 7/31-9/3 where he had allowed a 4.43 ERA and 4.14 FIP, but has righted the ship since then allowing just one earned run over 12 innings in two starts since then. There’s not a whole lot of positives for the Baltimore offense here, but if there’s anything they can grasp onto, it does seem like opposing hitters are at least seeing Eovaldi better recently as he has allowed a 9.2% barrel%, 40.1 hard hit%, with an 89mph average exit velocity over his last nine starts. I think it’s pretty likely Eovaldi will dominate in this one, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for Baltimore to scratch out a run or two off of him.

Boston has been a powerhouse offense this season putting up top-5 marks overall with a .332 wOBA and 107 wRC+ and has been even better in the second half with a .341 wOBA and 112 wRC+. They’ve been a top-10 offense facing southpaws this year (.327 wOBA & 103 wRC+) and have completely dominated pitchers at Fenway putting up a .353 wOBA and 117 wRC+ tying them for third in the split. Not only have they been putting up eye-popping stats, but they’ve also been hitting the living daylight out of the ball too. They have the best barrel% in the majors in the second-half sitting at 11% and the difference between them and the second-ranked team, Toronto, is the same distance between the fifth- and 18th-ranked teams. Their 42.9% hard hit% also paces the majors while their 89.9mph average exit velocity ranks second. Much like Baltimore, Boston has also seen a lot of success early being able to scratch out a .366 wOBA and 125 wRC+ facing lefties at Fenway through the first five innings. This seems like a prime spot for Boston to put on an exciting offensive performance. 

The Pick

I’m expecting some runs to be scored in this one and I’m expecting them early. For as bad as Baltimore has been against righties, it actually seems like they see a lot of success facing them through the first five innings. While I am expecting most of the offensive help to come from Boston in this one, I do think Baltimore can pitch in a run or two early to help us hit our over. Alexander Wells has been a dumpster fire so far this season and has allowed three or more runs through five innings in four out of his five starts – the other start was at home vs Kansas City where he went four innings allowing two earned runs. Not much is needed to say about Boston’s offense as they have the potential to hit this mark themselves in this one. Give me runs and give me them early. F5 o5.5 -102 BetMGM

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