This article is part of our MLB Betting series.
Previous day: 1-1, -.22 RWBucks (one void)
Season: 4-3, .68 RWBucks
Unlike most Saturdays, most of today's games are at night. That gives more selection for this article, which will include a theme of picking on the short-handed Padres.
White Sox -1.5 vs. Royals first five innings (+135 Bet MGM) for 1 RWBuck
The handedness matchup and general mismatch between quality of starting pitchers makes this an attractive game to target early. The White Sox lead the league with a 157 wRC+ against left-handed pitching and are tied for third with a .195 ISO. Meanwhile, Mike Minor's 2021 sample suggests that his current skill level is much closer to his 2020 numbers than to his 2019 form. Carlos Rodon has had unsustainably good results, but still has the skills (37.3K%, 29.7K-B%) to back up his stellar performance to this point. In contrast to the White Sox lineup, the Royals rank toward the bottom of the league in ISO (.117) and wRC+ (81) against lefties. Depending on confidence level there are a few directions to go, with one alternative being the White Sox -0.5 through five innings (-130).
Cardinals +120 (DK Sportsbook) at Padres for 1 RWBuck
A quick glance at the depth chart shows the Padres are far from full strength, as COVID-19 has caused a number of absences from the lineup, including Fernando Tatis, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo. As a result, their lineup is extremely top heavy for the time being, which should allow Adam Wainwright to at least hold the offense in check. For instance, the Padres drew 12 walks Friday night, yet managed to muster only five runs in a bullpen game for the Cardinals. The team also utilized many of its highest-leverage relievers to hold onto a win over the Cardinals win Friday, with Emilio Pagan racking up 30 pitches — likely leaving him unavailable Saturday. The Padres have yet to show ill-effects of missing so many regulars, but Wainwright is a veteran pitcher who can take advantage of their depleted bottom of the order.
Cardinals at Padres - Wainwright over 5.5 strikeouts (+125 on MGM Sportsbook) for 1 RWBuck
Let's stick with the depleted Padres lineup theme and the continued success of Wainwright. Aside from his first start of the season, Wainwright has faced at least 23 batters in each outing this season. Given the current strikeout climate across the majors, it's little surprise that he has a career-high 23.5 percent strikeout rate. That math puts him in line for — and in many starts well over — a 5.5 strikeout pace. However, if he doesn't maintain that across a single game, his ability to work deep into contests is a benefit that many pitchers around the league don't offer. On the surface, the Padres have struck out at one of the league-lowest rates of 20.5 percent, but the bottom of the order is far from the best the team can offer, as discussed above.