Bales' Best MLB Bet (8/24/20)
Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for August 24, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers will face off in the first game of the series. Two red hot pitchers will be taking the mound against two struggling offenses, although they will be playing in a hitter-friendly stadium.
Trevor Bauer has been throwing at an elite level in 2020. He’s allowed only 2 earned runs over 26.1 innings through 4 starts. He owns a 0.68 ERA to go along with a 2.58 xFIP and a 2.34 SIERA. Bauer’s 50% fly ball rate is a concern, but he boasts a 43.6% strikeout rate while holding his opponents to 28.9% hard-hit and 2.2% barrel rates.
Bauer has dominated virtually everyone this season, but he was significantly better against right-handed batters in 2019. That has also been the case throughout his career, as well, although I expect him to find continued success against both sides of the plate this season. He’s also been better at home throughout his career, but the splits are far from concerning, especially with him now throwing in Cincinnati.
Bauer gets a plus matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers. They have been ice cold recently, ranking 27th in the MLB in team batting average and 20th in slugging percentage over the last 10 days. They’re averaging only 4.4 runs per game over that span.
Milwaukee has been slightly better at home this season. Still, they’re only hitting for a .228 average with a .399 slugging percentage and .686 OPS. The Brewers are averaging only 3.6 runs per game in Milwaukee, as well. Furthermore, they own a .198/.337/.612 line against right-handed pitching in 2020. The Brewers simply don’t have the dominant offense they once had.
Brett Anderson has quietly thrown well this season. He’s allowed only 8 runs (7 earned runs) over 17 innings. He has also allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his four starts. Anderson’s 3.71 ERA is backed by a 3.89 xFIP and a 3.64 SIERA. Anderson slightly changed his pitch mix this season, increasing his strikeout rate to 18.4%. He also boasts a 67.3% ground ball rate, meaning the double play is always in play.
Anderson has been a reserve splits pitcher in recent years, including early 2020. He has also struggled a bit in Milwaukee, which is a concern, but his ability to control his opponent’s power should help him find success in this particular matchup.
Anderson gets a matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, who rank last in the MLB in team batting average and 23rd in slugging percentage over the last 10 days. They’re averaging only 3.3 runs per game over that span. Cincinnati is also only averaging only 2.5 runs per game since they had a few games postponed.
The Reds have struggled on the road, where they’re hitting for a .182 average with a .324 slugging percentage and a .614 OPS. They’re also averaging only 2.9 runs per game on the road this season. Cincinnati has performed slightly better against left-handed pitching, but their numbers are still far below average on the season.
The bullpens are a key factor in this bet. The Brewers rank 14th in the MLB in bullpen ERA while the Reds rank 26th. More importantly, Milwaukee leads the MLB in bullpen xFIP while Cincinnati ranks 14th. Bauer is likely to throw deep into this game, meaning we only need a few solid innings out of the Reds bullpen.
These are two bullpens that are going undervalued. The offenses are also somehow still being overvalued while the starting pitching has performed extremely well early on. The total is boosted because of the ballpark, as well, but I don’t expect either team to find much offensive success in this game.
Bet 1 unit on the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers under 8.5 runs to win 1 unit
2020 MLB Season Record - 19-29 (-9.95 units)