We’ve done the research so you can enjoy tonight’s MLB games! Here are our free expert picks and best bets for Saturday, August 14, 2021.
As always, lines are provided by our friends at PointsBet. If you haven’t created an account yet, sign up using PointsBet promo code FREE100 to receive 4 risk-free bets with your first deposit.
Let’s get after it.
Braves at Nationals
1. Race to 4 runs: ATL (-140)
2. ATL -1.5 (-105)
Patrick Corbin has been nothing short of terrible this season. While his peripherals suggest that his 5.83 ERA is due for positive regression (4.44 xFIP, 4.69 SIERA), we’re still looking at unimpressive numbers. His 7.01 K/9, 1.99 HR/9 and 9.4% barrel% all are career worsts. He’s simply not missing bats – or even the sweet spots of said bats. Tonight he faces a Braves lineup that has the 2nd best K% against LHPs since July (18.0%) and freshly-added southpaw-smashers in Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, and the now-healthy Travis d’Arnaud.
Washington’s poor performing ‘pen further clouds the team’s prospectus tonight. Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson both were dealt at the trade deadline, further weakening a relief corps that has the 7th-worst ERA (4.65) in baseball this season. Atlanta should have no problem scoring tonight, while the Nationals – sans Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes, who were all traded in the aforementioned deadline fire-sale – will be challenged to scratch out runs against Braves starter Max Fried (3.91 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.75 xFIP).
This one could get ugly. The moneyline has been priced accordingly for Atlanta at -180, but the run line still sits at near-even odds. This spot is juicy enough to get creative to back the Braves.
Cardinals at Royals
1. KC (-121)
Jon Lester is “Jon Lester, Hall of Fame candidate” in name only. He’s in his fourth year of a significant, noticeable decline, and there’s not a single peripheral you can point to that suggests happier days are ahead. His 5.57 ERA, 5.99 K/9 and 1.68 HR/9 are all career worsts. It’s not like he’s getting unlucky, either. His .318 is close to league average and he has pitched in front of the 3rd (STL) and 18th (WSH) best defenses in baseball. Tonight he faces a Royals lineup that quietly has been a Top 10 offense against LHPs since July.
Brad Keller is hardly a world-beater himself, but at least has the matchup in his favor. His 5.79 ERA is atrocious, but his 4.85 FIP, 68.1% LOB% and .352 BABIP (48.1% GB%) suggests he has been somewhat unlucky. At home in the pitcher-friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium, Keller has seen his peripherals drop further, with a 4.54 FIP overall and 3.27 FIP vs. RHBs. The Cardinals have 6 RHBs in their lineup tonight.
It’s not the sexiest pick, but it projects to be the right one.
Yankees at White Sox
1. CWS 7-inning total over 3.5 (+100)
At face value, Jameson Taillon has hit his stride in the 2nd half of the season. His minuscule 0.89 ERA and .196/.267/.290 slash line allowed across 30.1 IPs suggests the oft-injured former #2 overall draft pick has finally found his form. His underlying peripherals tell a different story, though.
Virtually nothing in Taillon’s batted ball profile has changed significantly save one. Despite a 48.8% FB% and 30.1% Hard%, Taillon’s HR/FB has dropped from 14.7% in the first half (11.9% career HR/FB) to a wholly unsustainable 2.5%. Tonight he faces a White Sox lineup that has the fifth-highest ISO (.212), wOBA (.337) and total runs (143) against RHPs since July.
This game has an all-too-normal total of 8.5 runs. Chicago’s team total sits at 4.5, but as favored hosts, I’m not sure they’ll bat in the 9th inning. Take this juicy 7-inning total and watch the Pale Hose elevate n’ celebrate at the plate.
- CHC-MIA: Cubs under 3.5 runs (-131) – Zach Thompson has been lit up by the Padres twice, but otherwise been excellent across his first 10 major-league starts. (3.09 ERA, 3.78 FIP). The Cubs will be a lineup to pick on for the rest of the season. Also consider backing the Marlins to win at -165. The post-deadline Cubs are *bad.*
- LAD-NYM: Dodgers -1.5 (-131) – The Mets are throwing 7 LHBs at Cy Young-candidate Walker Buehler, but it won’t matter. Buehler is too good, the Dodgers are too deep, and Taijuan Walker is still due for too much regression (3.89 ERA vs. 4.49 SIERA, 4.69 xERA) for this to be anything other than another let-down for New York.
- SD-ARI: Padres -1.5 (-131) – This is a bullpen game for the Diamondbacks. Arizona has an MLB-worst 5.34 ERA. Padres starter Joe Musgrove (2.81 ERA, 3.54 xERA) threw 6 shutout IPs against this same team in April.
- TOR-SEA: Blue Jays (-140) – Yusei Kikuchi might get blown up by one of the league’s best offenses against left-handed pitching. If he pitches admirably, he’ll be out-dueled by Hyun-jin Ryu, (3.62 ERA, 3.63 FIP), who has pitched much better on the road than at home (3.12 ERA vs. 4.18 ERA).