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Odds and Ends

MLB picks & predictions for August 2

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: August 2, 2020, 1:33 pm ET


MLB Picks for Today

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Chicago Cubs

It doesn’t matter how long the season is, or if there are no fans in the stands, if Jon Lester is on the mound and there is an opposing batter in the box, he is going to compete. The veteran lefty opened his 2020 campaign by no-hitting the Reds through five innings with just one walk. No biggie.

Next up for Lester is the Pirates, a team he is very familiar with. Lest has made 11 starts against the Pirates in the past two seasons, pitching to a 3.28 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP. The Buccos have also been about as bad as they come at the dish so far this season, ranking dead last in batting average and OPS.

The Pirates counter with Steven Brault, who has spent the last few seasons jumping back-and-forth between the bullpen and rotation. Now, he must deal with a Cubs lineup that ranks second in runs per game and is sixth in batting average.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to trust the Cubs to hold any lead right now, particularly at a number this juicy. They currently rank dead last in the Bigs in both bullpen ERA and WHIP. So, the best bet here is to back the Bulldog in the first five innings.

PREDICTION: Cubs -0.5 First 5 Innings

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Texas Rangers vs San Francisco Giants

The Giants look like a veteran scrappy team through the first week or so of this bizarro MLB season and surprisingly they have relied on their bats to carry them to this point. They’ll get the chance to continue that Sunday as they go against the Rangers.

That veteran lineup that ranks fifth in the league in batting average goes up against Kolby Allard. The 22-year-old lefty has a career 6.08 ERA and 1.76 WHIP, and his first start of 2020 saw him allow five runs on six hits to the Red Sox.

The Rangers haven’t given their pitching staff much support either. Their .180 batting average and 2.6 runs per game rank 29th and dead last in the Bigs. They go up against the consistently average Jeff Samardzija in this one. Samardzija is always good for a few runs or more, but the Rangers have been even worse against right-handers, hitting just .169 against them.

With a Giants also having the edge when it comes to bullpens, there is good value with them Sunday.

PREDICTION: Giants (-110)


Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Angels

I was feeling very sharp with my Shohei Ohtani to win AL MVP bet at +1,900 before the season started. My thinking was he just needs a few good starts to go along with a strong year at the plate. And in a shortened season that seemed much more likely.

Well, Ohtani’s first start couldn’t have gone much worse. I mean, you literally can’t have an ERA worse than infinity. The two-way sensation allowed five runs on three hits and three walks without recording an out in his first start since 2018.

But don’t go dusting Ohtani and his infinity ERA just yet. Remember in 2018 he pitched to a 3.31 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and struck out 11 batters per nine innings.

The Astros counter with Josh James. The right-hander spent most of 2019 in the Astros bullpen but will get a chance to start with all their injuries. In his first start of 2020 he allowed three runs on three hits and walked five batters against the Mariners.

With the Halos hitting right handers much better than lefties, Ohtani has value as a home dog.


PREDICTION: Angels (+110)

Yesterday's MLB record: 2-1
Season MLB betting record: 16-10, +4.65 units


MLB betting card for August 2

  • Cubs -0.5 First 5 Innings
  • Giants (-110)
  • Angels (+110)