MLB Best Bets: 5 Picks & Predictions (5/24)

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With 15 MLB games scheduled for Friday, May 24, our staff has locked in on five MLB best bets, including picks and predictions for Mariners vs Nationals, Giants vs Mets, Dodgers vs Reds, Cardinals vs Cubs, and Yankees vs Padres.

Continue reading below for our Friday MLB Best Bets.

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MLB Best Bets: 5 Picks & Predictions (5/24)

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
6:45 p.m.
7:10 p.m.
7:10 p.m.
8:15 p.m.
9:40 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.

Mariners vs. Nationals

Friday, May 24
6:45 p.m. ET
Nationals F5 ML (+110)

By John Feltman

The Seattle Mariners were blanked by Luis Gil in the Bronx on Thursday and are now in Washington for a three-game set with the Nationals.

George Kirby gets the start for the Mariners. The right-hander is among the best control-and-command pitchers in baseball, with a ridiculous 2.2% walk rate.

The issue for the M's is that they'll face southpaw starting pitcher Mackenzie Gore, who seems to be finally blossoming into a legit big-league starter. Gore enters the matchup with a 3.30 ERA.

I like the matchup for Gore, especially since the Mariners lead the league in strikeouts per game. They are also hitting an abysmal .225 against left-handed pitchers on the year, and I expect that trend will continue.

Gore's metrics are spectacular, including a measly 35% hard-hit rate allowed. The 54 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched suggest he is capable of lowering his 3.99 ERA even further.

Kirby is not a pushover on the bump, and you can argue his 3.46 expected FIP suggests he has been unlucky thus far.

However, Kirby's inability to consistently miss bats concerns me, so it's possible the Nats can tack on a few early runs for Gore.

The Nats are only hitting .228 against RHP this season, but left-handed pitching has truly given them fits. I just wish they stopped playing Joey Gallo every day and called up their prized outfield prospect, James Wood, to provide a jolt to the offense.

Regardless, I have more faith in the Nats offense in the early portion of the game, so I will bank on the fact they have the lead after five innings.

With a low game total, I would not suggest laying the run line, but +110 is not a bad price with Gore on the mound.

Pick: Nationals F5 ML (+110)

Giants vs. Mets

Friday, May 24
7:10 p.m. ET
Mets ML (-144)

By Nick Martin

A modest 4.32 ERA undersells the level at which Christian Scott has actually pitched in his young MLB career.

The Mets' top pitching prospect has a 3.14 expected ERA and 3.86 expected FIP through three big league starts. Scott has a Stuff+ rating of 103, which correlates with his 4.25 K/BB ratio.

The Giants have overachieved expectations offensively with Jung Hoo Lee, Michael Conforto, and several others out of the lineup. Part of their surprising results have been dominating weaker pitching staffs, so it seems plausible that their lineup will regress.

Meanwhile, Giants starter Kyle Harrison is overvalued. He owns a 4.11 expected ERA and 4.38 expected FIP. His 92 Stuff+ rating is actually worse than last season's mark, a year in which he pitched to a 4.15 ERA and 4.55 expected ERA. He has allowed an ERA of 5.40 over his last two starts against the Reds and Rockies, with opponents posting a .254 expected batting average.

While the Mets enjoyed an off day Thursday, the Giants used six relievers during a bullpen game against the Pirates. With their top arms available, the Mets bullpen will have a considerable edge.

The Mets should have a significant pitching advantage across all nine innings on Friday.

Pick: Mets ML (-144)

Dodgers vs. Reds

Friday, May 24
7:10 p.m. ET
Over 9.5 (-105)

By John Feltman

James Paxton, we meet again my friend.

I bet the Reds F5 ML against Paxton last week. Unfortunately, they came up short.

Still, let's face it folks: Paxton can't keep getting away with this.

He owns a 2.84 ERA on the season after firing six three-run innings last week, but he continues to be criminally lucky. Paxton has walked (24) as many batters as he's struck out (24) this year, bloating his expected FIP to 5.84.

Unless he has Eddie Harris slipping him Vaseline in between innings, I have no idea how he continues to rack up quality starts.

With that said, it's time for the Reds offense to make Paxton pay.

They'll have Graham Ashcraft on the mound, who I am not too thrilled about backing.

Ashcraft has a modest 4.25 ERA, but he is only striking out seven batters per nine innings with an 8% walk rate. He has solid movement across his arsenal, but a warm night in Great American Ballpark will not do him any favors against an elite Dodgers lineup.

I expect both of these offenses to explode on Friday evening. Even if Ashcraft turns in a decent start, I have zero faith in Cincinnati's bottom-five bullpen (4.37 ERA).

Pick: Over 9.5 (-105)

Cardinals vs. Cubs

Friday, May 24
8:15 p.m. ET
Cubs ML (-140)

By D.J. James

Shota Imanaga might be the best signing of the 2024 offseason.

The 30-year-old southpaw holds a 2.62 expected ERA and sub-1.00 ERA. He's striking out everyone (28%) and walking no one (4%). He has an above-average batted-ball profile.

His opponent will be Miles Mikolas and the struggling St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cards continue trotting Miles Mikolas out there every five days, a gift to us bettors. The veteran righty has a 5.77 ERA and 4.96 expected ERA. He gives up a ton of hard contact and rarely strikes out batters. He doesn't walk many, but he's also not forcing many ground balls.

He's as subpar as subpar can get.

The Cards also can't hit southpaws. Over the past month, St. Louis holds a 74 wRC+ with a sub-7% walk rate against the side.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have not been the best against righties, but Mikolas is far worse than Imanaga. The Cubs own a team wRC+ of 90 in the last month with a walk rate over 9%.

In relief, the Cubs have improved to a 3.75 expected FIP in the past month with a 25% strikeout rate.

St. Louis’ relief staff is its one saving grace, owning a 3.63 expected FIP over the last month. But its lower strikeout rate (22%) could indicate overperformance.

I'm backing Imanaga and the Cubs. This Cardinals lineup is atrocious against lefties, and Mikolas won't play superhero.

Pick: Cubs ML (-140)

Yankees vs. Padres

Friday, May 24
9:40 p.m. ET
Yu Darvish Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-115)

By Tony Sartori

San Diego hands the ball to right-hander Yu Darvish, and he should be a good candidate to back.

Through nine starts this season, he is 4-1 with a commanding 2.08 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.

His underlying metrics are just as dominant as he ranks in the 86th percentile among qualified pitchers in expected ERA and 89th percentile in barrel rate.

Specifically, we are going to back Darvish in the strikeout department as he ranks in the 72nd percentile in chase rate and 67th percentile in strikeout rate.

The guy hasn't allowed a single run through each of his past four starts, averaging six strikeouts per game in the process. This success is likely to continue against New York, a team Darvish is 3-2 against with a 3.07 ERA in seven career outings.

He recorded six or more strikeouts in four of those seven outings. Through 47 career plate appearances against Darvish, current Yankees hitters possess a fade-worthy 23.4% strikeout rate and 29.9% whiff rate.

Pick: Yu Darvish Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-115)

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