The baseball season is coming to a close, and our MLB Weekend picks are here to guide you through an incredibly important weekend of MLB action. BetRivers.com has a wide variety of MLB game lines, team futures and player markets for you to choose from. Longtime Poker broadcaster and sports bettor David Tuchman is here to preview the notable games and make his MLB Weekend picks for the first weekend in September.
RELATED: VSIN Weekend Betting Guide
College Football Kicked off and NFL teams are down to their 53 man rosters. That can mean only one thing…
September Baseball!! This is such a fun time of year and I’m here to eat it all up. First off, with about a month left in the season, let’s take a look at some of our futures.
If you made these bets at Betrivers.com, you’d be in pretty good shape. On the season, we’re 64-41.
The games become a little tougher to predict because of September call-ups, teams that are out of it can go from disinterested to fighting for jobs, playoffs teams can be resting regulars, and all sorts of other chaos in the final month can make for challenging ball games. But that’s what makes it fun! And when things get a little more uncertain, we can often find a bit of value.
Here’s a look at five games I’ve highlighted for my MLB weekend picks.
MLB WEEKEND PICKS: FRIDAY, SEPT. 3
TEXAS RANGERS (47-86) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (66-68), 9:30 p.m. ET
PITCHERS: Glenn Otto (TEX, 0-0, 0.00) vs. Shohei Ohtani (LAA, 8-1, 3.00)
MONEYLINE: Rangers +160 ML, Angels -205 ML
SPREAD: Rangers +1.5 (-124), Angels -1.5 (+105)
OVER/UNDER: 8 runs (-106/-113)
The Angels opened -220 to win this game, but you know what? I don’t care. They’re winning this game often enough where this is still a value.
There’s no reason to read too much into this one. Shohei Ohtani is 8-1 on the season as a pitcher, with 127 K in 105 IP, a 1.06 WHIP, 3.41 FIP and 148 ERA+. He’s also hitting .260-42-90, with 22 SB, .618 SLG., .978 OPS and 5 triples. We like triples. Anyway, he’s been ridiculous and is the runaway favorite to win the A.L. MVP. (We bet on that too)
The Rangers hitters are 5-32 against him in their careers which is a .156 BA. Only Nate Lowe has had success, going 2-5, with a home run. The Rangers turn to Glenn Otto, a 25-year-old rookie, making his second big league appearance. His first on August 27, was excellent — by the way — as he went five innings, allowing just two hits, 0 BB, 0 runs and striking out 7 Astros. This makes me slightly nervous, but even if Team Ohtani doesn’t get to Otto, they’ll get to that Texas bullpen.
The Pick: Los Angeles Angels
HOUSTON ASTROS (78-55) at SAN DIEGO PADRES (71-63), 10:10 p.m. ET
PITCHERS: Jose Urquidy (HOU, 6-3, 3.38) v. Jake Arrieta (SD, 5-12, 7.13)
MONEYLINE: Astros -136 ML, Padres +114
SPREAD: Astros -1 (-108), Padres +1 (-110)
OVER/UNDER: 9 runs (-110/-108)
This should be a fantastic series as the struggling Padres (71-63) take on the first-place Astros (78-55) in a series the Padres desperately need. The Padres have actually fallen behind the Reds for the second wild card spot, and if the season ended today (it doesn’t) – the Padres would miss the playoffs.
So what happened? Look no further than the Padres pitching staff, which they spent a ton of money on this offseason. Yu Darvish is 7-9, rocking a 4.05 ERA; Blake Snell is 7-5 with a 4.31 ERA and 1.38 WHIP; Chris Paddack is 7-6 with a 4.98 ERA and 1.29 WHIP and Dinelson Lamet has been hurt and, while he’s back, he’s been moved to the bullpen with just 35 IP on the year. Only Joe Musgrove has been solid, at 9-8, 2.85 ERA, 169 K in 148 IP, 0.99 WHIP.
The Padres pitching has become such a problem, they’ve turned to 35-year-old Jake Arrieta. Arrieta was released by the Cubs earlier this year, after going a putrid 5-11, with a 6.88 ERA and 1.76 WHIP. I’m not sure what the Padres see in him, since in his first start with San Diego, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowed 5 runs on 7 hits, and took the loss.
The Astros can hit, Jose Urquidy returns from injury, yadda yadda yadda…bottom line here is Arrieta is atrocious and the Padres have no business starting him. This is my most confident MLB weekend pick.
The Pick: Houston Astros
SUNDAY, SEPT. 5
OAKLAND ATHLETICS at TORONTO BLUE JAYS, 1:07 p.m. ET
PITCHERS: Cole Irvin (OAK, 9-12, 3.74) v. Robbie Ray (TOR, 10-5, 2.71)
Here’s an interesting series that wraps up on Sunday as the Blue Jays (70-62) face the Athletics (73-60). The Jays have slipped out of the race in the A.L. for a wild-card spot, but they’re not completely out of it, at 4 ½ games back of the Red Sox. Meanwhile, the Athletics have slipped as well, trailing the Astros by five games in the West and the Red Sox by 1 ½ games for the second wild card. Needless to say, this series is huge.
The Athletics are really slumping coming into this series, going 3-7 over their last 10, while the Jays have gone 6-4, but are really treading water, having gone just 16-14 over the past month.
But look, the Jays can hit, as Vlad Guerrero, .312-39-96, .600 SLG, 1.004 OPS is having a monster season. Bo Bichette, .286-21-81, .791 OPS, Teoscar Hernandez, .295-22-87, .835 OPS, Marcus Semien, .267-33-78-14, .861 OPS have all also swung big sticks, and George Springer is back, with 16 HR in just 52 games. But what really gives the Blue Jays the edge in this one is their SP.
Gerrit Cole is probably going to win the A.L. Cy Young Award, but quietly, Robbie Ray has had a season every bit as good. He’s 10-5, with a 2.71 ERA (lower than Cole); 202 K in 159 IP, 3.43 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, 11.4 SO/W and a 162 ERA+. He’s quietly been dominating. In August, over six starts, he pitched 41 innings, struck out 52 (35 in his last three starts combined), allowed just 8 ER, (1.76 ERA) and has gone at least 6 IP in every start (Six straight quality starts). He’s had bad luck, as he’s gone just 1-0 over those six games. But he’s legit.
The Pick: Toronto Blue Jays
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS, 2:10 p.m. ET
PITCHERS: Jon Lester (STL, 2-1, 5.12) v. Corbin Burnes (MIL, 9-4, 2.27)
Another great series, as the first place Brewers face off against the third-place Cardinals, in what should be the Cardinals’ last shot at making a run at the wild card. The Brewers are 82-52, firmly in first, so the 68-64 Cards (13 games back) don’t have a shot at the division. But they are just 2.5 games behind the Reds for the second wild card spot, so this is basically it for St. Louis.
The Cardinals have been playing better lately, behind the hot-hitting of Nolan Arenado (.256-27-85, .805 OPS) and Paul Goldschmidt (.287-24-82, .848 OPS), while LF Tyler O’Neill has also hit well, going .273-21-50, .846 OPS on the year. However, with the season on the line, in the Sunday finale, the Cards, due to injuries up and down their pitching staff (including ace Jack Flaherty), turn to 37-year-old Jon Lester. Is he really STILL in the league?
Lester won 13 games for the Cubs in 2019. Since then, he’s won 13 games total. This year, he went 3-5 with a 5.02 ERA for the Nationals, before being traded for a bag of Cheetos to the Cardinals. Since coming to St. Louis, he’s gone 2-1 with a 5.12 ERA which is pretty consistent with who he is nowadays.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have tons of SP having fantastic seasons, and on Sunday, they turn to Corbin Burnes (9-4, 2.27 ERA, 139 IP, 189 K, 0.94 WHIP, 1.57 FIP, 184 ERA+). He’s been dominating. Not only that, but the Brewers bullpen has been electric, with Josh Hader (4-2, 1.48 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 29 saves, 84 K in 48 IP), their closer, leading the way. Behind him, Devin Williams (7-1, 2.01 ERA, 77 K in 49 IP), and Brent Suter (12-5, 3.15 ERA) have been terrific.
The Pick: Milwaukee Brewers
LOS ANGELES DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, 7 p.m. ET
PITCHERS: Walker Buehler (LAD, 13-2, 2.05) vs. Jose Quintana (SF, 0-0, 6.35)
The very second – I mean the very second – I say it’s time to take the Giants seriously, they completely fall apart. Fresh off a five-game winning streak, the Giants have lost five of their last six and four in a row (before finally winning on Thursday night). But that’s just one of the reasons why the Dodgers are my final selection of my MLB weekend picks.
After 119 days in first place, the Giants are now in second, looking up at…the Dodgers. The Dodgers are surging, winners of seven of their last nine, they’re back in first and looking to extend their lead over the Giants. And amazingly, my OVER 102.5 wins bet on the Dodgers is still live.
The obvious reason for the Giants’ struggles is the same reason they were in first for so long. Their starting pitching. The Giants have been relying on excellent seasons from Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.52), Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.38), Alex Wood (10-4, 4.08), Logan Webb (8-3, 2.65), and Johnny Cueto (7-7, 4.09). However, Wood and Cueto both went down with injuries, and DeSclafani, after going 10-3 with a 2.68 ERA as of July 10, has gone 1-3 since and seen his ERA go from 2.68 to 3.38. Gausman, meanwhile, has had three straight no-decisions and hasn’t won since August 16. The Giants are 1-2 over those three starts.
It’s gotten so bad, the Giants have turned to Jose Quintana, and he will start the game Sunday. Quintana was released by the Angels – who are desperate for pitching – after going 0-3, with a 6.75 ERA over 24 games. The Giants pride themselves on resurrecting pitchers – Wood, Gausman, Sclafani, McGee, etc. – so maybe they can do the same with Quintana? He has pitched three innings in relief for San Francisco so far, and struck out 6, with 0 runs allowed.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are no stranger to pitching injuries, as they’ve lost Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May to injury and Trevor Bauer to….uh….moving on. But the Dodgers keep on rolling, as they traded for Max Scherzer, who has gone 4-0, 1.29 ERA, 50 K in 35 IP since coming over, and rely on the foundation of their rotation, SPs Julio Urias (15-3, 3.17 ERA, 160 K in 150 IP), and the NL Cy Young Award favorite – Walker Buehler. Yeah, the Cy Young race is over in the NL. It’s all Walker. The 26-year old superstar is 13-2, with a 2.05 ERA, 176 IP, 183 K, 193 ERA+, 0.92 WHIP, 3.09 FIP and a 5.9 WAR. He’s been utterly dominant and unhittable.
So…Sunday is Walker Buehler vs. Jose Quintana in one of baseball’s oldest and greatest rivalries – Giants v. Dodgers. This one isn’t even close. It’s Walker’s world. We just live in it.
The Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers
Good luck and Enjoy the games!