Best MLB prop bets for today, 9/6: Braves bounce back with win

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) throws against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Truist Park.
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With top of rotation talent like Spencer Strider, Tyler Glasnow, Zack Wheeler, Freddy Peralta, Logan Gilbert, and Joe Ryan all taking the mound, today should have plenty of quality pitching. There is also a massive matchup with Max Scherzer and the Rangers facing off against Justin Verlander and the Astros. Fans and bettors should have numerous avenues towards entertainment tonight, including my best bets. And make sure to check out all of our MLB predictions for today.

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Atlanta Braves ML / team total over 4.5 (-130)

Odds available at DraftKings and BetMGM sportsbooks at time of publishing. Playable to -140 odds.

The Braves lost last night’s game by a 10-6 final score, but their offense was unfortunate to only see 6 runners cross home plate. Atlanta had a .389 xBA as a team over the entirety of the game, putting 11 balls in play with an exit velocity of 100 MPH or harder, and 21 with an exit velocity of 95 or greater. A 95 MPH exit velocity is deemed as hard contact, and 63.6% of the balls in play from an Atlanta bat were hit hard yesterday. Ronald Acuna Jr. recorded an exit velocity of 96.5, 96.7, 96.9, 98.7, and 111.1 MPH on his respective outs in that game. The Braves scored 6 runs and could very well have doubled that total if fortune was on their side. Today they draw another advantageous matchup, this time against Dakota Hudson.

Hudson has made 7 starts with the Cardinals this season across his 13 appearances. Since August he has been a full-time starter, making 6 turns through the rotation with middling results. A 3.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP are more than serviceable numbers in that span, but his underlying metrics suggest regression in his game. Those 6 starts have resulted in a 5.22 SIERA, 5.69 FIP, 8.2% swinging strike rate, 4.1% K-BB%, and an unsustainably low .210 BABIP given his 41.4% hard-hit rate. On the season he ranks just 2nd percentile in strikeout rate with an 8.9% BB% and 44.1% hard-hit rate. His .264 xBA ranks 21st percentile, and with how well this Braves offense is seeing the ball, these numbers appear problematic. Atlanta is hitting .282 against righties in the last 30 days while sitting 3rd in SLG, 5th in wOBA, and 2nd in hard-hit rate. Their 121 wRC+ in that span, along with the 3rd lowest K%, exemplify how tough of an offense they are to deal with. They feature zero easy outs in the order, and instead battle with every pitch they see. After Hudson leaves the game, they will face a St. Louis bullpen that ranks 20th in FIP and 26th in ERA across the last 30 days.

I expect the offense to produce and score 5 or more runs in this matchup, but I also like having Spencer Strider on the mound for the ML portion of this bet. The Braves are 22-5 when Strider takes the mound this season, winning by an average of 3.86 runs per game in their 22 wins. The run-line is also a solid look in this game as well if you prefer that angle. The last 4 Strider starts have all been wins, with the right-hander tossing 7, 7, 7, and 6 innings in those respective outings. The flamethrowing strikeout artist ranks 99th percentile in K% this season thanks to an elite 4-seam fastball that seemingly defies gravity on the way to the plate. His wipeout slider gives him 2 all-world pitches, and the development of his changeup (48.1% whiff rate, .150 wOBA allowed) has helped him evolve into a truly elite pitcher.

Talent is of no concern for the Cy Young candidate, and neither has been his recent performance in August. Those 6 starts resulted in a 2.97 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 40.7% ground ball rate (5.2% higher than season average), 27.2% hard-hit rate, 0.94 WHIP, 23.2% K-BB%, and a 19.8% swinging strike rate. The Cardinals offense is certainly competent but have only 20 combined AB against Strider with 9 strikeouts and a .604 OPS to show for it. Against right-handed 4-seam fastballs in the last 30 days the Cardinals have a league worst .211 AVG while sitting 28th in wOBA and striking out at the 5th highest rate. Behind Strider is a Braves bullpen that ranks 9th in FIP and 2nd in ERA across the last 30 days while having all arms available in relief tonight.

Don’t miss today’s YRFI/NRFI best bets!

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Clarke Schmidt (NYY) over 4.5 hits allowed (+100)

Odds available at DraftKings sportsbook at time of publishing. Playable to -120 odds.

Clarke Schmidt has had issues this season with a few aspects of his game. Left-handed batters have given him fits with a collective .387 wOBA, .307 AVG, and .892 OPS this year. His strikeout rate against those lefties is 6.3% lower than against right-handers, and his walk rate nearly doubles. While the Tigers are not a lineup that can stack 7 or 8 lefties, they do regularly feature left-handers in 3 of the top 4 spots in the order, as well as Parker Meadows towards the bottom. Riley Greene’s injury removes a lethal lefty from the order, but I still see believe in Detroit’s offense today. Another massive concern of Schmidt’s this season has been his struggles as the game progresses and batters adjust. He does have plus stuff and decent strikeout capabilities, but each time through the order his numbers worsen. The first time through he allows just a .238 AVG and .669 OPS while striking out 29.7% of the batters he faces. When the order turns over for the 2nd time opponents are hitting .271 with a .834 OPS and a 19.7% strikeout rate. The third time through is when all chaos breaks out, as the right-hander allows a .330 AVG and .907 OPS while generating just a 16.5% K%.

What gives this prop added value today is the fact Schmidt just faced Detroit in his last start. The first time through the order for the Tigers today is essentially their 4th crack at him in a week. Detroit had success in the first matchup as well, giving me even more faith that they will see the ball well. That outing for Schmidt resulted in 6 hits, 1 home run, and 3 earned runs across 94 pitches. Schmidt faced 23 batters and despite 3 walks he still allowed 6 hits in that matchup. The 3 walks were a bit surprising given Detroit has the 9th lowest BB% against right-handers across the last 30 days, and Schmidt’s 6.5% BB% ranks 78th percentile. With better command as a focus this time around for the Yankees pitcher, Detroit should have an even greater chance of putting the ball in play.

Detroit is a strikeout heavy offense, but when putting the ball in play they have been very productive of late. In the last 30 days against right-handed pitching, the Tigers sit 11th with a .256 batting average. They also rank 13th in wOBA and have a 103 wRC+ in that timeframe. While not numbers that would excite you for some teams, these are certainly improvements from the beginning of the year. Kerry Carpenter has been a massive reason why they’ve improved, as the rookie has a 185 wRC+ and 1.052 OPS since August 1. He is my favorite individual matchup if you wanted to isolate a single batter on the Tigers side. I feel comfortable targeting Schmidt with the whole team, however, as his struggles haven’t just been in his last start. Across his last 8 outings the 27-year-old has allowed a 5.13 ERA and 4.42 FIP. With 5 or more hits allowed in 20 of his 27 starts this year, I love getting even money on this number.

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