Mets vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Banged-Up Contenders Open Series in San Diego (Thursday, June 3)

Mets vs. Padres Odds, Preview, Prediction: Banged-Up Contenders Open Series in San Diego (Thursday, June 3) article feature image
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Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: James McCann (center) celebrates his home run with Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor.

  • The New York Mets and San Diego Padres begin a four-game series on Thursday night in San Diego.
  • The Mets send Taijuan Walker to the mound against Cy Young contender Yu Darvish.
  • Where is the betting edge in this one? Jeff Hicks breaks it down below.

Mets vs. Padres Odds

Mets Odds +164
Padres Odds -179
Over/Under 7
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via PointsBet.

Injuries, COVID, oddities. You name it and the New York Mets and San Diego Padres have dealt with it to varying degrees. Despite the tumultuous paths each team has taken, they are both in the thick of their divisional races with the Mets holding the advantage as NL East leaders.

The two teams continue their adventurous seasons in San Diego on Thursday with a matchup of starters enjoying success in their first seasons with their new clubs.

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Walker Has Been a Boon For Ailing Mets

Who has not been hurt or affected by a myriad of issues on the Mets? New York is still without four starting position players and two major pieces of its pitching rotation. That does not include the subpar six weeks Francisco Lindor has endured after being New York’s major acquisition last offseason. The Mets’ 26-21 record is a testament to organization depth, luck and a down NL East.

Their work is cut out for them as they continue their West Coast trip in San Diego. The Mets have had trouble hitting away from the Big Apple, and it includes facing right-handed pitching. The Amazin’s have an 81 Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) on the road, and a 75 wRC+ in road games against righties. Other categories the offense is bottom five in the same scenario include OBP, slugging, OPS, ISO, Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA), Weighted On Base Average (wOBA), and Home Run-to-Flyball ratio (HR/FB).

One of the reasons the offense has been let off the hook is starting pitching. Taijuan Walker has been one of the better offseason signings and he did not join the Mets until spring training. Walker has been buoyed by a 2.4% HR/FB and .218 BABIP, both career bests. He has never thrown more than 54 innings in a season without a double-digit HR/FB, indicating regression may be lurking. He also has as many barrels and hard hit balls as 2020 in 32 fewer events.

Walker’s home/road splits are odd as well. He has double the ERA on the road than home, but has a lower average and OBP against away from New York. His .214 slugging against in away games is only .008 above his home mark.

The Padres’ offense will be looking to get back on track after a woeful series in Chicago, meaning Walker has to be everything his peripherals say he should not be.

Pads’ Offense Lacks Power, But Not Necessarily Punch

San Diego may not be what prognosticators predicted it would be offensively, but its hitters can do damage in spurts. The Padres have a 105 wRC+ at home and 109 wRC+ against righties at Petco. One way the Friars can attack Walker on offense is by doing what they do well: limiting strikeouts and walking. Only the Astros strike out at a lower rate than the Padres and they’re tied for first in walk rate.

The lack of power has been a concern. San Diego has been without Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Tommy Pham or Trent Grisham (among others) at points during the season, an explanation for some of the power issues. San Diego has still produced average results in wRAA and wOBA despite offensive inconsistencies, but need to limit them against the best version of Walker the league has seen.

The Yu Darvish trade will go down as one of the most lopsided of the offseason as he pitches like a Cy Young contender once again. His Expected ERA and xFIP are elevated from his 2.16 ERA in part to a low BABIP and increased fly ball rate. The Mets do not pose many concerns to bring Darvish back to earth. San Diego’s bottom-10 Defensive WAR has opened more doors for opposing offenses than it would care to admit as well.

San Diego also steals bases at the best rate in baseball. Entering Wednesday, the Padres averaged 1.05 stolen bases per game, 0.30 more than the second-best team. Walker is due for regression in stolen bases allowed. He has allowed one in 49 innings in 2021 but has allowed one every 13-plus innings for his career.

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Mets-Padres Pick

One pitcher has a history of excellence, while the other is healthy and having a career start to his season. The Mets continue to play well despite a list of injuries longer than my wish list to Santa when I was seven.

I believe the Padres take Game 1 of the four-game series, but the juice is not worth risking in the event Walker continues his hot start. Taking the Padres to score over 3.5 runs at -131 is a better bet.

Pick: Padres Over 3.5 Runs (-131, bet to -145)

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