MLB Odds & Picks: 3 Best Bets for Rays vs. Marlins & White Sox vs. Angels (Saturday, April 3)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: The White Sox celebrate Jose Abreu’s grand slam.
- Our MLB staff of betting analysts has their eyes on two games on Saturday night for three best bets.
- Find out where the value lies in Rays vs. Marlins and White Sox vs. Angels.
The first Saturday of the MLB season features a 14-game slate, with the only teams off being the Mets and Nationals, who had their whole weekend series postponed because of COVID issues for Washington.
Saturday’s slate gives us games beginnings as early as 1 p.m. ET through the West Coast slate at 9:10 p.m. ET. Our experts are focused on games on both coasts, with a pair of picks in the battle of Florida, and a total out west between the White Sox and Angels.
Below you will find our staff’s best bets for Saturday.
MLB Odds & Picks
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins
Collin Whitchurch: In the first two games of the season, the Rays and Marlins have combined to score a grand total of 11 runs, and four of those came in the ninth inning on Friday. So what gives tonight?
Well, the starting pitching, to put it simply.
Tyler Glasnow, Sandy Alcantara, Ryan Yarbrough and Pablo López are four really good pitchers, with nary a single below-average DRA projection among them. That showed over the first two games, as runs were tough to come by, and we saw only seven total through the first 17 innings before Tampa’s explosion against Anthony Bass in the ninth inning on Friday.
It’ll be a different story tonight. Rich Hill takes the mound for Tampa, and while he continues to put up impressive ERAs now into his early-40s, there’s been quite a bit of luck involved. In eight starts last season, Hill had a 3.03 ERA and 5.47 DRA. Had he pitched a full season, we would’ve seen regression.
What’s more, while Miami was about average offensively in 2020 by wRC+, that wasn’t the case against lefties. The Marlins had a 111 wRC+ against southpaws (11% above league-average), ninth best in the majors, compared to 89 (24th in the majors) against righties.
Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez elicits more promise to be able to turn over the Tampa lineup a time or two unscathed, but after posting a 3.16 ERA and 3.75 ERA a year ago, PECOTA projects regression (3.89 ERA, 4.52 DRA).
After two games in which the offenses struggled, things will finally turn around in this series on Saturday. I also like over 4.5 runs in the first five innings at plus juice, but even with the wind expected to be blowing in and given how the first two games went, I think this number is too low. So we’ll play over 8 runs at +100, but wouldn’t do it for anything worse than even money.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins
Sean Zerillo: I projected the Marlins at 56.3% for Saturday, and think that the wrong team is favored in this matchup. I also projected their odds for the first five innings (F5) at 56.1%, so I see value in both markets.
I would bet Miami’s full-game moneyline up to -112, and their F5 moneyline to -111, with either bet representing a 3.5% edge.
Tampa Bay’s two best relievers — Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks — have worked back to back days to open the season, and both Chaz Roe and Andrew Kittredge threw more than 20 pitches on Friday night. The Rays’ bullpen is a bit fatigued coming into Saturday, so they’ll need length from Rich Hill, who posted a 4.93 xFIP and 5.10 xERA in 2020; his worst indicators in a decade.
Elieser Hernandez didn’t pitch a ton last season (six starts, 25 2/3 innings) but he displayed improved command over that short sample (34 K, 5 BB) which carried over into Spring Training (12 K, 1 BB in 8 2/3 IP). Conversely, Hill had a miserable spring (11 2/3 IP, 14 H, 10 R, 6 BB, 7 K) and while I don’t put a ton of stock into spring numbers, we do seem to have a clear case of two pitchers on the opposite ends of the development curve.
Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels
Brad Cunningham: Lance Lynn makes his White Sox debut Saturday night, but despite having a good season with the Texas Rangers in a pitcher-friendly park in 2020, he’s on the back end of his career. Lynn is now 33 and last season posted his worst xFIP and HR/9 since 2017. He’s a fastball-heavy pitcher, throwing it more than 50% of the time, but produces a ton of swings and miss, as it had a 29.3% whiff rate last season, per Baseball Savant. The Angels’ lineup was fairly average last season, but the top of their lineup should be able to get to Lynn.
Alex Cobb is heading downhill fast. He was with the Orioles in 2020 and put up some horrific numbers, with a 6.49 xERA and a 3.10 BB/9 rate. Cobb is mainly a sinker/split finger pitcher, but really struggled with his sinker last season, allowing a .434 wOBA to opponents on it. With how powerful the White Sox lineup is top to bottom, they should have no trouble getting to Cobb early and often.