MLB

Bet the under for Robbie Ray vs. Lucas Giolito, plus other top picks for Wednesday

So there was an NFL trade today, as the New England Patriots sent Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams for a couple of conditional draft picks. On the surface, this trade stands out for a couple of reasons. The first is that it gives us an idea of how the Rams feel about their running backs following the injury to Cam Akers, but the more important takeaway is that I have not prepared for my fantasy drafts at all yet.

This realization shook me to my very core, because I’ve been in fantasy football leagues for nearly two decades now, and I’ve always been the person who does way more prep work than they need to. I was always compelled to know everything about everybody because I wanted to win my league, and it never dawned on me that 90% of people in fantasy leagues just draft based on the latest list of rankings they’ve seen.

I’m over here trying to project numbers and roles for players, while the person drafting ahead of me is basing their choices on “I recognize this name.”

Anyway, my first draft is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I haven’t done anything to prepare myself. Thankfully, I work at CBSSports.com, and we have all the fantasy information I’m ever going to need if I want to win my league. If you’re like me, join me in catching up on all our season prep.

But first, read these stories.

To the picks!

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

White Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Under 8.5 (-110)
: Tonight’s game in Toronto features the premier pitching matchup of the day, as Toronto’s Robbie Ray goes against Chicago’s Lucas Giolito. That alone might be enough to warrant taking the under in this spot, as both of these pitchers make a living by missing bats.

Ray has taken a significant step forward this season as he prepares to enter free agency, entering tonight with an ERA of 2.79 and a strikeout rate of 30.7%. Tonight he’s facing a Chicago offense that has been good against lefties but was not good against him earlier this season. In June, when Ray faced Chicago, he struck out 13 White Sox hitters over 6.1 innings while allowing only a run. Unfortunately for Ray and the Jays that night, the bullpen imploded late, and the Sox won the game 6-1.

The Blue Jays have not faced Giolito this season, and while he hasn’t lived up to his incredible 2020 numbers, he’s pitched well lately, posting an ERA of 2.92 with 53 strikeouts in 49.1 innings over his last eight starts. I expect a few solo shots tonight — both pitchers are prone to dingers — but not much more than that.

Key Trend: The under is 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Jeff Hochman is on a heater, as he’s up 5.11 units over his last 20 MLB picks, and he has a money line play for tonight’s game.


💰 The Picks

⚾ MLB

Rays at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Rays (+125) — 
Honestly, you can make a lot of money blindly betting the Rays when they’re underdogs. This season alone, Tampa has been an underdog in 85 games, and it’s gone 45-40 for a net return of nearly 22 units. So when I see Tampa in a spot like tonight, where it’s an underdog against a team it’s better than simply because of the opposing starter, it’s hard for me to pass on them.

Don’t get me wrong; that starter is pretty good. If the Phillies were better, there’d be a lot more Cy Young buzz about Zack Wheeler. He’s done a tremendous job of missing bats while limiting walks and hard contact, but tonight he faces a Tampa offense that squares up right-handers better than most offenses.

The Rays rank third in MLB in wRC+ against righties, third in ISO, sixth in HR% and first in hard-hit rate. Not many offenses have had success against Wheeler this season, but Tampa has a better shot than most, making them an attractive underdog in this spot.

Key Trend: The Rays are 45-40 as an underdog this season.

Dodgers at Padres, 10:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 8 (-105) — 
Your initial reaction to seeing a Padres and Dodgers game at night in San Diego with Walker Buehler and Blake Snell pitching is probably to take the under. I know mine was, but the closer I looked at this matchup, the more I realized the over was the smarter play.

Walker Buehler enters tonight with a 2.11 ERA, but his peripheral numbers show that the ERA is a bit misleading. First of all, his strikeout rate of 26.9% is good, but nothing to get excited about. More than anything, Buehler’s done a good job of limiting the longball in 2020, but this Padres offense has been a bit unlucky against him. In their careers, current San Diego players have a wOBA of only .266 against Buehler, but their expected wOBA — which is based on the quality of contact and launch angle — against him is at .350, according to Statcast.

On the other side, there’s Blake Snell, who has pitched better than his 4.82 ERA suggests but still has not been great this season. This total is a little too low.

Key Trend: The over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking to get a head start on this weekend’s college football slate? The Advanced Computer Model has a strong play on the very first game of the season between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers.


🏌 BMW Championship Top 10s

We are betting on each of these golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.

  • Daniel Berger (+250)
  • Russell Henley (+600)
  • Charley Hoffman (+650)
  • Kevin Streelman (+800)
  • Talor Gooch (+900)



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