Monday MLB Odds & Picks: 4 Bets For Mets vs. Phillies, Rays vs. Red Sox, More
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Francisco Lindor
- Monday's 13-game MLB slate is headlined by the season debut of Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor and the Mets.
- But that's not all, our staff has picks on Rangers-Blue Jays and Rays-Red Sox as well.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets for Monday.
After having their opening weekend series against the Washington Nationals postponed because of COVID issues within the Nationals’ organization, the New York Mets finally begin their series on Monday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. Staff ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom will be on the mound against Matt Moore.
That’s just one of 13 games on the MLB slate for Monday, but two members of our staff have featured it in their best bets. Read on for all four picks, including those two, Blue Jays-Rangers and Rays-Red Sox.
MLB Odds & Picks
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
Tanner McGrath: The Blue Jays look great to start this season. They just took two of three from the vaunted New York Yankees, and their bolstered lineup and pitching staff performed well — and that was without prized free agent acquisition George Springer, who began the season on the IL.
I don’t think this will be the case again today. Steven Matz is on the mound for the Jays, and he’s coming off the worst year of his career. In 2020, Matz finished in the bottom five percent of qualified starters in xERA, xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, exit velocity and hard hit percentage, per Baseball Savant.
But it wasn’t just his advanced stats that were bad. In nine total games last season, Matz posted a 9.68 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Moreover, he started six of those games and only pitched past the fifth inning in two of them.
Matz’s FIP was 7.76 but his xFIP was just 4.15 last year, so I would expect some regression. However, that doesn’t make up for the fact he’s allowed 66 home runs in 71 games over his last three seasons.
I think the Blue Jays might be slightly overvalued here. Taking a series from the Yankees in the Bronx is sure to draw public betting attention. Therefore, it’s a great time to play the Rangers’ hard-hitting lineup on the plus-money.
New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Sean Zerillo: This matchup highlights the importance of implementing park factors when handicapping baseball games.
If this game were being played at Citi Field, I wouldn’t show any value on the total. At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where the run scoring environment is 3-4% higher than league average, I show considerable value on the over.
It’s obviously scary to hunt for runs in a Jacob deGrom start. Since the start of the 2017 season, the Mets’ ace leads all qualified pitchers in WAR (22.8), while ranking second in both FIP (2.66) and xFIP (2.92).
Matt Moore is making his MLB return after a one-year stint in Japan, where he recorded a 89:22 strikeout to walk ratio over 78 innings for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. The southpaw has dealt with injuries throughout his career — including Tommy John surgery (2014) and a meniscal repair in his knee (2019) — so it was nice to see him find his form again overseas and make his way back to MLB.
While Moore has showed solid command this spring (15 2/3 IP, 4 BB, 14 K), his fastball is still sitting between 92-93 mph — in line with his career average (92.8 mph) and still a far cry from what looked like the lead pitch in a potentially dominant arsenal when he debuted for the Rays in 2011 (95.7 mph).
The best-case scenario for Moore’s 2021 outlook is something similar to his 2016 campaign (4.17 FIP, 3.96 xERA), but he’s more likely to regress to his 2017-18 form, when he posted an xFIP between 5.06-5.10 with an xERA between 5.82-5.85 from over the span of two seasons, and 276 innings pitched.
New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Kevin Davis: The New York Mets start the season heavily favored to beat the Phillies. Currently, the Mets are -200 favorites to beat the Phillies. My model agrees with this number as it believes that the Mets should be -185 favorites. However, even at a chalky -190 price for their first five Innings moneyline, the Mets are undervalued by the betting markets.
According to my model, the Mets should be -250 moneyline favorites for the first five innings based on their edge in the starting pitching matchup. Jacob deGrom is one of the best pitchers in baseball, while Matt Moore debatably should not have a starting pitching job.
Even though a -190 moneyline is a steep price, it represents a better value for bettors than the Mets -0.5 first innings run line at only -125 based on my 10,000 simulations of the game. That is why I am laying the chalk with the Mets F5 moneyline.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Brad Cunningham: Despite making it all the way to the World Series last season, the Rays’ offense wasn’t especially dominant. They finished 14th in wOBA and behind the Red Sox in batting average, home runs and a whole bunch of other categories. Now, Nick Pivetta is not what you call a dominant pitcher. However, last season he only threw 15 innings after being traded to the Red Sox.
Michael Wacha begins his Tampa career tonight after spending last season with the Mets. Wacha’s career is starting to trend downward, as he posted a 6.62 ERA and a 2.38 HR/9 rate. He mainly uses a fastball/changeup combination, but he’s really struggled with his fastball over the past two season, as opposing hitters have posted over a .400 wOBA. The Red Sox crushed fastballs last season, ranking ninth in MLB. They also were sixth in wOBA against righties in 2020, so its a fantastic matchup for the Red Sox at a hitter-friendly park like Fenway.