Free MLB Picks – June 23, 2018

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MLB Free Pick Today

Miles Mikolas has been very solid for the Cardinals in his return season to the big leagues. Can he keep it up against the Brew Crew tonight?

Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB picks column for Saturday, June 23nd.   We took an L with yesterday’s pick; we didn’t get the vintage Quintana performance or the Anthony Rizzo dinger we were hoping for for in a 6-3 Reds win.   We’re still high on Quintana for the remainder of the year, hopefully he gets it together soon.

Today we’ll be taking another swing against our favorite pitcher to bet against this season.  We’ll be looking at the third game of a four game set between NL Central rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis, and we think the Cards have a great chance of picking up a win after dropping the first two.  Let’s get into it.

St. Louis Cardinals (Mikolas) at Milwaukee Brewers (Anderson)

Game Time: 4:10 PM EST

Where to Watch:

Run Line: St. Louis +1.5 (-205)

Moneyline: St. Louis -103

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Cardinals Brewers Pick

Chase Anderson, we meet again.  We’ve already bet against Anderson six times this year, and while we only have a 3-3 record in those picks, we’re more than happy to bet against him again.  As we’ve said before, Anderson got extremely lucky last year to post a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts - while some may believe that was a breakout season for Anderson, his 4.33 xFIP suggests he was a much more average pitcher with a lot of good fortune.  

This year has gone much worse for Anderson, but his ERA is still outpacing his xFIP.  His strikeout-to-walk rate (1.80) is dangerously low, and he allows far too many homers to be effective.  While some may be expecting him to bounce back based on his solid performance in 2017, we’re only expecting things to get worse for Anderson.

Cardinals’ starter Miles Mikolas has been very solid since his return from Japan, posting a 2.69 ERA in his first 14 starts in the big leagues since 2014.  While he’s probably not quite as good as that ERA suggests, the projections like his chances of finishing the year with a sub-four ERA.  He doesn’t have elite swing-and-miss stuff, but he’s good at preventing walks and homers, and that’s a huge part of the equation when rating a starting pitcher.  While some may still be skeptical about Mikolas given his limited sample size of big league starts, we’re convinced that he’s far superior to Anderson.

The two offenses in this matchup have been similarly average this season - the Brewers rank 16th in wRC+ at 94, while the Cardinals are only one point behind at 93 (18th overall).  With the line being offered today, we’d be happy even if this game was a wash offensively.  However, we believe that the Cardinals have the more talented lineup, and we’d bet on them finishing higher than the Brewers at season’s end.  While the Cards' first baseman Jose Martinez has been holding it down (.304/.374/.490), they haven’t quite gotten what they expected from slugger Marcell Ozuna since acquiring him from the Marlins (103 wRC+), and Dexter Fowler has been a disaster at the plate: .163/.271/.266 in 236 plate appearances.  If those two guys can start putting it together, the Cards should pass the Brewers in the offensive rankings with ease.

While we think that today’s pitching matchup is clearly a mismatch, apparently the oddsmakers don’t - BetOnline is offering the Cardinals at -103 on the moneyline.  That’s one of our favorite lines of the year, so obviously it will be our pick of the day for Saturday.   We’re confident that things are going to trend in the wrong direction for Chase Anderson, and we like the Cardinals’ chances of taking advantage of the trend today.

Good luck everybody, and enjoy your weekend.  Let’s get a win!

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