Friday’s MLB Picks, Odds, Best Bets: Top Plays, Including Guardians vs. Tigers, Astros vs. Mariners (May 27)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Tucker
- There's a plethora of value on Friday night in Major League Baseball.
- Our staff has picks on Guardians-Tigers, Yankees-Rays, Pirates-Padres and Astros-Mariners to recommend.
- Continue reading for all of our picks as well as full analysis on these four matchups.
The weekend is here and we’ve got an action-packed MLB slate on tap, with 14 games including two nationally televised on Apple TV+.
Our MLB analysts are all over the slate with four picks, including a couple of run line values and a player prop.
Here are our four best best from Friday night’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers
Sean Zerillo: Alex Faedo and Shane Bieber faced off last Sunday, and the Tigers prevailed as +160 (38.5% implied) underdogs on the road.
Friday’s game is in Detroit, and one would expect the line to adjust from +160 down to as low as +125 (44.5% implied) or +120 (45.5% implied) — an increase of six to seven percent — after accounting for home field advantage.
After accounting for lineup changes and bullpen rest, my projection for this pitching matchup adjusted from +150 in Cleveland to +125 in Detroit — a difference of 4.4%. I would bet the Tigers down to +136 for Friday, at a two percent edge compared to my projection.
I project Faedo right around an average starter and prefer the more optimistic end of his preseason FIP projections (ranging from 4.57 to 4.99). The former first-round pick progressed quickly through the minors, especially after returning from Tommy John surgery this year.
Conversely, I’m particularly low on Bieber, whose velocity (90.7 mph) is down more than two ticks relative to last season and 3.5 mph compared to his Cy Young campaign (94.2 mph). Moreover, his spin rate has tumbled in recent starts since MLB started cracking down on the sticky stuff while he was on the IL last season.
Bieber’s 12-game Cy Young campaign is a mere blip compared to the 58-start sample on either side of that pandemic-shortened year when he only faced Central division competition.
Outside of 2020 — where his expected ERA indicators sat in the low 2’s — Bieber’s xFIP and SIERA have settled in the low 3s and have climbed to the mid-to-high 3s at reduced velocity this season.
With a low total (7 to 7.5), I like the Tigers’ spread (+1.5 runs) quite a bit and would bet that line up to -144, in addition to their moneyline.
New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays
DJ James: Jeffrey Springs has been phenomenal for the Rays. He owns a 1.32 ERA and 2.30 xERA, so even if he may be a little lucky, he is still an impeccable pitcher. He is elite in getting opponents to chase (99th percentile), induces weak contact regularly (85.9 mph average exit velocity) and his hard hit percentage is only 32.3%.
Jameson Taillon doesn’t walk many hitters, but the Rays’ offense remains solidly above average. They’re sixth in average exit velocity, while Taillon is in the middle of the pack in AEV allowed.
The Rays also own a 114 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in May, while the Yankees are at 109 against left-handed pitching.
Since Springs has been building up his usage with 5 2/3 innings in his last start, he should be valuable against this Yankee lineup. Take the Rays to -120.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres
Doug Ziefel: Jose Quintana has been surprisingly solid through his first eight starts of the season as he enters this outing with a 2.43 ERA. However, he’s been very fortunate to work out of many jams and have batters not square up as many pitches as they should have.
That will all change tonight as he faces a Padres lineup that is top 10 in the majors against left-handed pitching. They have the ninth highest batting average and are seventh in wRC+ against lefties.
On the other side, Sean Manaea is in line for a solid outing against the Buccos. Pittsburgh got to him for three runs back in April, but he had a 2.69 FIP in that outing. In addition, the Pirates only have a .229 batting average against lefties and have the 14th highest strikeout rate in the league.
In the end, the Padres will get ahead early and stay ahead. So back them to cover the spread at plus money. Play to +100
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
Jules Posner: Chris Flexen has not been the same dude this season, especially at home. Kyle Tucker is starting to return to form and is still a certifiable dude.
Opposing hitters are batting .278 and slugging .500 against Chris Flexen this season at T-Mobile Park.
Kyle Tucker seems to enjoy hitting at T-Moble Park as well. Over his career, he’s slashing .316/.357/.605, with a .289 ISO in Seattle. He also has a 281 wRC+ on the road against RHP over the past month.
After a slow start, Tucker is putting together a strong month of May. He’s posted a 163 wRC+ so far this month.
Additionally, he’s been a much better hitter on the road so far this season. He has a 177 wRC+ and a .310 ISO so far this season on the road.
The Mariners’ bullpen may also provide opportunities for Tucker to reach the 1.5 total base mark, as they have posted a 4.50 FIP over the past two weeks, which is seventh worst in MLB.
Considering Flexen’s struggles at home this season and the Mariners’ bullpen’s recent struggles, Tucker should have plenty of opportunities to amass 1.5 total bases. If you can grab this in plus money, go for it.
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