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MLB Betting Guide: Wednesday 4/18/18

Despite a matchup with the red-hot Gerrit Cole, can the Mariners scratch out enough runs to cover tonight?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a runline, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.

Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at three of the best bets for Wednesday.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

Braves (-107): 2-Star Rating out of 5

Yesterday's matchup between Nick Pivetta and Mike Foltynewicz turned into a pitchers' battle, and the Philadelphia Phillies needed extra innings to beat their division-rival Atlanta Braves. The Braves will send Brandon McCarthy to the mound in hopes of reversing their fortunes, while the Phillies will deploy Vincent Velasquez tonight.

McCarthy partially dislocated his shoulder in his last start, but he has healed quickly and is good to go for tonight's game. He hasn't wowed with large strikeout numbers, but he has been effective. He has allowed no more than three runs in any of his starts this season, and the Braves are 3-0 when he toes the rubber.

Velasquez has two quality starts in a row, but he was torched in his first game of the season, which just so happened to come against the Braves. He gave up seven runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks in only 2 2/3 innings of work. He has been a less effective pitcher away from home in his career, though. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is just 2.17 on the road compared to 3.67 at home, and he has a 4.63 ERA, 1.519 WHIP, and gives up a .354 OBP to opposing hitters on the road, compared to marks of 4.20, 1.225, and .305 at home, respectively.

Our models indicate that the road will once again be unkind to him. And, for that reason, we give the Braves a 59.41% chance of winning this evening.

Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Nationals +1.5 (-225): 2-Star Rating out of 5

The Washington Nationals look to sweep the New York Mets tonight by sending Tanner Roark to the bump to face off against Steven Matz.

Roark struggled in a meeting against New York just 10 days ago. He allowed five runs -- four of which came on an Adrian Gonzalez grand slam -- in five innings of work as the Mets beat Washington 6-5. Roark did throw nine strikeouts, however, and he is now averaging one strikeout per inning on the season. His strikeouts per nine (K/9) have risen increased in three straight seasons and are now far above the 5.7 K/9 rate he averaged in 2015.

The Nationals are 8-4 all-time against the Mets when Roark starts. None of those four losses have come by more than two runs. But, since the start of last year, the Nationals are 7-0 against the runline as road dogs in games with an implied total of eight runs or fewer.

Our models indicate that they'll make that 8-0, as we give Washington a 73.37% chance of covering tonight.

Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners

Mariners +1.5 (-110): 3-Star Rating out of 5

Lance McCullers struck out 11 last night in 7 innings of 1-hit ball as the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. The Astros will send another tough customer, Gerrit Cole, to the mound tonight against the Mariners' Mike Leake.

Cole has been nothing short of outstanding in his first few starts in a Houston uniform. The former Pirate's 0.67 WHIP is the third-lowest in the Majors, and he has struck out an incredible 36 batters in only 21 innings, meanwhile holding opposing hitters to just a .141 batting average. Not only are the Astros thrilled with their new acquisition, but fantasy owners ought to be, too, having gotten themselves a bargain further down the draft board.

The Mariners love to play in close games, it seems. Their two-run differential is the second-smallest in the Major Leagues (to Washington). Only 4 of their 15 games this season have been decided by more than three runs. Since last season, they have covered the runline 60% of the time that they have been home underdogs with a total set below eight runs.

Our models give them a 51.59% chance of winning outright tonight, and a 63.71% chance of covering the runline.

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