MLB Best Bets: 3 Expert Major League Baseball Picks for May 22

MLB Best Bets: 3 Expert Major League Baseball Picks for May 22 article feature image

Via Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Jones #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park on May 4, 2024 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

MLB Best Bets

GameTime (ET)Pick
1:05 p.m.
1:10 p.m.
6:40 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.

We have 16 MLB games scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 as every team in the majors is scheduled to play baseball today.

Our staff of MLB experts has locked in on three MLB best bets today, including moneyline and spread picks for Twins vs. Nationals, Mets vs. Guardians and Giants vs. Padres.

Continue reading below for our Wednesday MLB Best Bets.

Twins vs. Nationals

Wednesday, May 22
1:05 p.m. ET
Nationals Moneyline +118

By Sean Paul

Why am I backing the Nationals just one night after the Twins totally dominated them on Tuesday? It's a fair question. I'm leaning into regression for a pitcher who probably isn't as strong as the basic numbers indicate.

It's tough to tell if Simeon Woods-Richardson is actually a 3.00 ERA pitcher, or if regression awaits. I lean toward the latter because Woods-Richardson has an xFIP of 4.04 and a 3.92 xERA compared to his 2.97 ERA. I will fade the rookie as teams gather more information and film on his tendencies.

The 23-year-old rookie averages 93 miles per hour on his four-seam fastball, which he throws 40.6% of the time. He's also a fly-ball pitcher who has allowed 0.57 HR/9.

You can grab the Nationals at +118 on the moneyline, and I'd take them down to -110. I could see the Nationals' four premier left-handed bats — CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia, Jesse Winker and Eddie Rosario — making Woods-Richardson work for every out.

Another positive in the Nationals favor is the tandem of Hunter Harvey and Kyle Finnegan in the eighth and ninth innings. Those two have regularly shut down teams in late innings, yet it doesn't feel they get the proper attention as one of the best late-inning duos in baseball.

Pick: Nationals Moneyline +118

Mets vs. Guardians

Wednesday, May 22
1:10 p.m. ET
MLB Network
Guardians -1.5 (+152)

By Tony Sartori

New York hands the ball to left-hander Jose Quintana in this matchup, and he should be a tremendous fade candidate. Through nine starts this season, he is 1-4 with a fade-worthy 5.21 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.

Based on his underlying metrics, positive regression is unlikely as he ranks in the ninth percentile or lower in xERA, xBA and Hard-hit Rate. While I don't necessarily trust Cleveland right-hander Triston McKenzie all that much, he still outranks Quintana in ERA, WHIP, xERA, xBA, Average Exit Velocity and Hard-hit Rate.

Not only do the Guardians possess the starting pitching and home-field advantages, but they also boast the better lineup. Entering this matchup, the Guardians lead the Mets in runs scored per game, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, home runs and stolen bases.

Considering all these advantages, I think it's worth taking a shot on the Guardians' run line at +152 rather than laying -126 on the moneyline.

Pick: Guardians -1.5 (+152)

Giants vs. Pirates

Wednesday, May 22
6:40 p.m. ET
Pirates Moneyline -120

By D.J. James

Blake Snell is finally back for the San Francisco Giants, but there is no reason to believe the struggling southpaw has ironed out his issues from before the injury. Snell was only striking out 20.6% of batters and still had trouble throwing strikes before hitting the IL. On top of that, his Average Exit Velocity was 89 MPH.

This produced his 11.57 ERA before getting hurt. Yes, his xERA was 4.11, but he is not better than Jared Jones, his opponent on Wednesday for the Pirates.

Jones may be overshadowed by Paul Skenes, but Jones has a 2.89 ERA for a reason. His Walk Rate is below 4%, and his Strikeout Rate is above 30%. Sure, he allows hard contact, too, but these are great numbers for the young righty.

The Pirates have not hammered the ball lately, but they own a 99 wRC+ off of lefties with a 22% Strikeout Rate.

The Giants have a 103 wRC+ off of righties, but there is a massive gap between Snell and Jones.

In relief, the Giants do hold the edge with a 3.37 xFIP. That said, Jones does not hurt himself with walks and has gone at least six innings in his three May starts. Expect him to hand the ball to strong relievers like Hunter Stratton and David Bednar (even if he has struggled a little).

Take the better starter here, and make it easy. Play Pittsburgh from -120 to -140 on the moneyline.

Pick: Pirates Moneyline -120

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