MLB Best Bets Sunday | 3 Predictions & Picks (May 19)

MLB Best Bets Sunday | 3 Predictions & Picks (May 19) article feature image

(Photos: Getty Images) Pictured (left to right): Alek Manoah, Bobby Witt Jr. and Jameson Taillon.

There are 15 MLB games scheduled for Sunday, May 19. Our staff of MLB experts have locked in on three MLB best bets, including a pair of pitcher props for Rays vs. Blue Jays and Pirates vs. Cubs and a bet on the total for A's vs. Royals.

Continue reading below for our MLB best bets for Sunday.

MLB Best Bets Sunday | 3 Picks & Predictions (May 19)

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
1:37 p.m.
2:10 p.m.
2:20 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Rays vs. Blue Jays

Sunday, May 19
1:37 p.m. ET
Alek Manoah 6+ Strikeouts (+130)

By Sean Paul

I’m a big fan of keeping an eye on pitcher strikeout props, particularly for pitchers with big strikeout rates against teams that punch out often. As a bettor, you can look at different books to price things out like usual. FanDuel tends to have more variety in strikeout props, giving plenty of alternate options, while DraftKings and others only give a few alternate options.

I’m all over Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah to get 6+ strikeout at +130 on DraftKings on the alt line. His regular line is 4.5 K’s at -150, which I’m obviously fine with if you’re willing to lay -150.

Manoah punched out six batters in each of his two starts since returning from injury. It’s good to see him rounding into form, tossing seven innings of scoreless baseball in his last start against the Twins.

He’ll face the Rays, who rank seventh in offensive strikeout rate at 24%, and four of the past five starters they faced struck five or more batters out. There’s a number of strikeout candidates in the Rays' lineup, like Randy Arozarena, Jose Siri, Richie Palacios, Ben Rortvedt and Jose Caballero. I just listed five regular Rays starters with a strikeout rate about 25.8%.

There are plenty of options for Manoah to punch out, so look for his strikeout props in this Sunday matchup in Canada.

Pick: Alek Manoah 6+ Strikeouts (+130)

Athletics vs. Royals

Sunday, May 19
2:10 p.m. ET
Over 8.5 (-120)

By Brad Cunningham

JP Sears has been pitching right around where he is projected to be in the 4.40 xERA type of range, but he does have some major flaws. Number one is he's really struggled generating a consistent number of swings and misses. His K/9 rate is only at 6.3 and he is in the 21st percentile for whiff rate.

Sears is a fly-ball pitcher pitcher by nature, usually utilizing his fastball up in the zone to the tune of about a 50% fly-ball rate. That is fine if you are pitching in Oakland, but when you are on the road against good fastball hitting teams and the wind is blowing out to left field at 13 mph, it no longer becomes a disadvantage.

Sears does only throw is fastball 31% of the time and his sweeper is actually really good, grading out at a 118 Stuff+ rating and holding batters to a .250 xwOBA. However, outside of that pitch, every one of his pitches grades out below average by Stuff+. There is also a pretty drastic split advantage for the Royals in this matchup. They can potentially platoon seven right-handed bats into their lineup, which would be a big advantage because Sears has a 5.09 xFIP against righties as opposed to a 3.73 xFIP against lefties.

Brady Singer is a negative regression candidate, as his ERA is at 2.84, but his xERA is at 4.41, which is where his rest-of-season projections have him closer to.

Singer has terrible stuff and he’s going to have to be really good with his command of his arsenal to be consistently effective. In 2024, he has a Stuff+ rating of 87 — his fastball is at 60 and his sinker is at 78. His slider grades out as average and it’s the pitch he throws the most often at 43.4%, but he’s still allowing a .315 xwOBA on it. In fact, all three of his main pitches are allowing a higher xwOBA than an actual wOBA by a pretty decent margin.

The A's offense has actually been hitting the ball well this season. They have a 99 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and over the last 30 days are 11th in MLB in wRC+.

The Royals' bullpen is pretty bad as well. They have the third-worst xFIP in baseball and the second-worst Pitching+ rating behind only Colorado, so if Singer can't go deep, the A's may very well put up a big number.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-120)

Pirates vs. Cubs

Sunday, May 19
2:20 p.m. ET
Jameson Taillon Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+100)

By Tony Sartori

Chicago hands the ball to right-hander Jameson Taillon on Sunday afternoon, and he should be a good fade candidate — well, a good fade candidate in the strikeout department at least.

There is no denying Taillon's excellence this season. Through five starts, he is 3-1 with a commanding 1.61 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.

However, the one thing he has struggled to do is retire hitters via strikeout. Entering Sunday, Taillon ranks in the ninth percentile in whiff rate and 10th percentile in strikeout rate.

You can currently find his strikeout prop at 5.5, with the under returning +100 via DraftKings. Taillon has failed to surpass that total in four of his five starts this season.

The only reason for that line is that Pittsburgh has struggled in the strikeout department this season. However, this lineup improves (at least in terms of strikeouts) against right-handed pitching, which doesn't bode well for Taillon and his 15.4% strikeout rate.

Pick: Jameson Taillon Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+100 | Play to -105)

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