MLB Betting Odds, Projections: Our Expert’s Top Picks For Friday, Including Astros vs. Mariners (May 28)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Bregman.
Saturday features a loaded 17-game MLB slate, including a pair of doubleheaders.
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Instead of diving deeper into just a handful of games, I’ll provide my betting notes for all 17 games for Saturday.
Using my projections, where can we find actionable value on Saturday?
Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals, Game 1
Austin Gomber vs. Aaron Sanchez (full projections here)
While I had bets on the unders — both for the first five innings (F5) and full game — for Friday, I would need an under 9.5 (-108) or F5 under 5.5 (-125) to consider placing those bets for Saturday; there is far more unpredictability and variance with regards to pitcher usage on doubleheader days.
This season, Austin Gomber is missing far fewer bats (swinging strike rate down from 11.3% to 8.7%).
Aaron Sanchez has seen a velocity increase (from 90.4 MPH to 92.6 MPH) while keeping the ball on the ground (54.7%; +1.9% higher than career average). Still, his fastball remains two ticks below his career average (94.3 mph), and his strikeout stuff (7% swinging-strike rate) is nonexistent.
I would lean to the Rockies here. Still, I would need +115 or better to play them in either half of Game 1.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox, Game 1
Jordan Lyles vs. Nathan Eovaldi (full projections here)
I’m assuming that Eovaldi will face either Mike Baumann or Jordan Lyles in Game 1. Ultimately, I don’t project a substantial difference between those two starters (4.98 Model Weighted ERA for Lyles vs. 5.17 for Baumann).
Look to bet Boston’s F5 moneyline up to -182 against Baumann or -173 against Lyles. And set those targets closer to -160 and -155 for the full game, respectively.
Furthermore, the wind is blowing out at Fenway on Saturday afternoon, and I would look to bet an F5 over 5.5 to -115 and/or an over 9.5 to -112.
Eovaldi is allowing more flyballs and home runs than ever before. He’s allowed 15 through his first nine starts, the same as in 32 appearances last season.
His HR/9 rate (2.79) and HR/FB rate (25.9%) should regress toward career averages (1.01 and 11.2%, respectively). Still, if Eovaldi maintains a career-worst flyball rate (41.7%, +9% vs. career average), he’ll continue to surrender round-trippers at an alarming rate.
Moreover, Eovaldi carried a similar HR/FB rate in both 2019 (22.9%) and 2020 (20%), but he only made 21 starts (106 innings pitched) over that span, so the home run issue wasn’t as evident.
If anything, Eovaldi’s 2021 campaign (0.74 HR/9, 8.2% HR/FB) looks like an outlier.
Kansas City Royals vs. Minnesota Twins
Brady Singer vs. Chris Archer (full projections here)
In a limited sample, Brady Singer has taken a step forward this season, showing career-best marks in swinging-strike rate, called-strike plus whiff rate (CSW%) and chase rate.
The former first-round pick has also modified his pitch mix, increasing his changeup usage and bringing his slider in line with his sinker:
If Singer qualified for the 20 IP threshold (currently 19 2/3), he would rank in the top 10 (amongst 198 qualified pitchers) for slider usage and fifth amongst starting pitchers — just behind Clayton Kershaw and his Saturday opponent, Chris Archer (46.5%).
Archer never developed a quality third offering to pair with his fastball and slider. As his velocity has tumbled (down from 94.7 MPH career to 92 MPH last season and 93.3 mph in 2022), hitters have been able to sit on the heater and spit at the slider, leading to a career-worst swinging-strike rate and CSW% (23.8%; -5.5% vs. career).
In fact, amongst that same group of 198 qualified pitchers (min. 20 IP), Archer ranks 174th in CSW% and 154th in K-BB%.
The expected wOBA against Archer’s fastball this year is .457. Last season, it was.504; For context, batters are hitting like Mike Trout (.462 xwOBA) when facing Archer’s four-seamer.
I project Singer (4.17 Model Weighted ERA) as a substantially better pitcher than Archer (5.03) at this point and would bet the Royals down to +116 F5 and +126 full game.
Additionally, you can add some Royals spread in either half, up to -125 F5 (+0.5) or -144 for the full game.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Adrian Houser vs. Matthew Liberatore (full projections here)
The 22-year-old Liberatore — who came to St. Louis in the Randy Arozarena trade — will make his second major-league start on Saturday.
He offers above-average command with a solid curveball; still, it’s difficult to project him better than a low-to-mid 4s type of pitcher (projected FIP range 4.35 to 4.73) for the remainder of 2022.
Conversely, Adrian Houser struggles with command (10.6% walk rate; 164th out of 198 qualified pitchers), but he can dominate the opposition on nights when he’s sharp. Liberatore has a high floor, while Houser offers a broader range of outcomes.
Both clubs rank amongst the top defensive teams in my projection model. And although I’m not a system bettor, this game triggered an under system, which has been profitable in all but one season, dating back to 2005:
I projected Milwaukee as very slight favorites but don’t necessarily see value on either side of the moneyline unless its line moves to +105 in either half.
Still, I projected the F5 total around 4.1 and the full game total around 7.5. I would bet the unders down to 4.5 (-114) and 8 (-109), respectively.
Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics
Taylor Hearn vs. Zach Logue (full projections here)
Hearn has a ton of arm talent, but he hasn’t been able to harness his command (11.4% walk rate; 10.9% career) alongside his stuff.
As has been the case for several seasons — and despite a personnel overhaul — Oakland hits lefties (99 wRC++, 18th) much better than righties (74 wRC+, 29th).
And while its offense is near the bottom of the league (.271 wOBA, 30th), it’s middle of the pack in chase rate (32.7%) and can force Hearn to work for outs.
Zach Logue is much less flashy than Hearn. Still, he’s a flyball pitcher (57.1%) with a hidden skill for generating popups, which plays particularly well with the expansive foul territory at the Oakland Coliseum.
With his extreme flyball ways, Logue could also carry a home run problem. However, command is supposed to be his best skill (60 scouting grade), so hopefully, Logue can limit the damage to solo shots.
I project Logue as the superior pitcher to Hearn (4.42 to 4.90 Model Weighted ERA) and view Oakland as a solid favorite in both halves.
I was surprised to find the A’s at an underdog price. You can play their F5 moneyline to -110 and their full game line to -107.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers
Shane Bieber vs. Alex Faedo (full projections here)
This matchup was postponed from Friday — disappointing because Detroit was my best bet, and we can’t take that CLV with us.
I bet the Tigers moneyline around +150, and it was set to close as low as +130. Moreover, I bet their spread (+1.5 runs) at -120, which was set to close anywhere from -130 to -145, depending on the book.
Faedo and Bieber faced off last Sunday, and the Tigers prevailed as +160 (38.5% implied) underdogs on the road.
Swapping home field, one would expect the line to adjust from +160 down to as low as +125 (44.5% implied) or +120 (45.5% implied) — an increase of 6-7%.
After accounting for lineup changes and bullpen rest, my projection for this pitching matchup adjusted from +150 in Cleveland to +122 in Detroit — a difference of 5%.
I project Faedo right around an average starter and prefer the more optimistic end of his preseason FIP projections (ranging from 4.57 to 4.99). The former first-round pick progressed quickly through the minors, especially after returning from Tommy John surgery this year.
Conversely, I’m particularly low on Bieber, whose velocity (90.7 MPH) is down more than two ticks relative to last season and 3.5 mph compared to his Cy Young campaign (94.2 mph). Moreover, his spin rate has tumbled in recent starts since MLB started cracking down on the sticky stuff while he was on the IL last season.
Bieber’s 12-game Cy Young campaign is a mere blip compared to the 58-start sample on either side of that pandemic-shortened year when he only faced Central division competition.
Outside of 2020 — when his expected ERA indicators sat in the low 2’s — Bieber’s xFIP and SIERA have settled in the low 3s and have climbed to the mid-to-high 3s at reduced velocity this season.
I would bet the Tigers down to +132 at a 2% edge compared to my projection. Moreover, I would look to take some spread (+1.5) up to -146 in a game with a relatively low total.
Additionally, you can play an F5 Over up to 3.5 (-125).
San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds
Alex Wood vs. Vladimir Gutierrez (full projections here)
After a brutal April (3-18), the Reds are 12-12 in May, including a 10-10 record as an underdog (+$382, 19.1% ROI for a consistent $100 bettor).
I expect Vladimir Gutierrez to get the ball for Cincinnati on Saturday. Assuming he does, I would look to bet the Giants to -153 F5 or -140 for the full game.
Conversely, you could look to bet the Reds at odds of +183 and +167, respectively.
Moreover, I’ll look to play an under 10 (to -118).
Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves
Sandy Alcantara vs. Tucker Davidson (full projections here)
I was surprised to find Alcantara at plus-money against Davidson (5.50 xFIP, 5.52 SIERA in 32 career IP).
Davidson is the Braves’ No. 7 prospect, but he’s a 26-year-old, former 19th-round pick with average upside and solid but not overly impressive numbers in the high minors.
Some projections are optimistic about his potential (projected FIP range 4.23 to 4.63), and I weigh his projection around 4.4. Still, Alcantara is a full run better (3.28 Model Weighted ERA) and has validated that performance at the MLB level.
Sandy’s strikeout command has taken a step back this season (K-BB% down from 18% to 11.4%). However, his chase rate, swinging strike rate, and CSW% remain relatively close to his 2021 levels; he’s just falling behind hitters more frequently (57.2% first-pitch strike rate; lowest since his rookie season).
The underlying metrics suggest that Alcantara should pitch closer to his 2021 form (3.45 xFIP, 3.68 SIERA) the rest of the way rather than his early 2022 indicators (4.10 xFIP, 4.16 SIERA). His two most recent starts have been his most dominant of the year (combined 17 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 K).
Alcantara remains one of the hardest-throwing starters at the MLB level while carrying a groundball rate north of 50%, so even when he isn’t striking batters out, he’s generating a ton of weak contact.
I make the Marlins a road favorite here — bet Miami’s F5 moneyline up to -117 and their full game line to -101.
New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Gerrit Cole vs. Corey Kluber (full projections here)
Gerrit Cole’s decline was declared prematurely. The Yankees’ ace is carrying ERA indicators (2.76 xFIP, 2.87 SIERA) that stand at a three-year best during his tenure in the Bronx, despite recording his lowest strikeout rate since his final season in Pittsburgh (2017).
Cole’s swinging strike rate (15.2%) remains six percent higher than that 2017 campaign, his chase rate 8.2% higher, and his CSW% (32.5%) is at its second-highest mark over the past five seasons.
Cole introduced a cutter this season (12.3% usage), which has produced the second-lowest xwOBA in his arsenal (behind his slider). Perhaps he’s trading strikeouts for weak contact. Still, I’d expect Cole’s strikeout rate to increase moving forward.
Kluber has posted his best walk rate (4.8%) since 2018, when he won 20 games for Cleveland. However, his velocity has continued to tumble, down 3.7 MPH compared to his last Cy Young campaign in 2017.
With improved command, and increased reliance on his cutter (career-high 35.4% usage rate), Kluber can continue to be effective in the Rays’ rotation.
That said, I still see a substantial difference between these pitchers (3.11 vs. 4.61 Model Weighted ERA), and I would bet the Yankees’ F5 moneyline up to -143 (58.9% implied) at a 2% edge compared to my projection (60.9%).
If you want to fade Cole, bet the F5 Over up to 3.5 (-112).
Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals, Game 2
Chad Kuhl vs. Joan Adon (full projections here)
Adon can touch 97 MPH on the gun. Still, he has struggled with command (13.8% walk rate; 145th out of 150 qualified pitchers) as much as any pitcher this season. Stuff means nothing without location.
Although his overall zone rate (43.5%) ranks closer to the top of the leaderboard, Adon ranks in the bottom 5-15 of that group in CSW%, first-pitch strike rate, and whiff rate.
Amongst a group of 83 qualified starters, Adon ranks dead-last in xFIP 5.25) — and no other pitcher is above 4.93. He hasn’t been particularly unlucky; Adon doesn’t strike out a ton of batters while handing out many free passes.
Each of his three offerings has returned a negative run value, and he relies far too much on his fastball (69.5% usage), which hitters have crushed to the tune of a .454 xwOBA (Mike Trout territory).
While I have some reservations about Chad Kuhl (4.45 xFIP, 4.69 SIERA), I view Adon as the worst starting pitcher in the major leagues, and I’m happy to continue fading him into oblivion.
I would look to bet an F5 over 5 (to -107), but I prefer the Rockies’ moneyline (to -103) or their F5 moneyline to -113 in Game 2 of the doubleheader.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox, Game 2
Denyi Reyes vs. Josh Winckowski (full projections here)
Boston will let 23-year-old Josh Winckowski make his debut in the nightcap after posting solid numbers across nine Triple-A starts, including last season. His command in those outings (47 K, 9 BB in 43 2/3 IP) is encouraging.
Winckowski has an above-average fastball and slider; still, his stuff rates better than his command.
I like Boston up to about -142 in either half of Game 2.
Additionally, assuming wind patterns don’t change, I would look to bet an F5 over 5.5 to -116.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Tony Gonsolin vs. Merrill Kelly (full projections here)
I have talked about Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom — and Merill Kelly — ad nauseam. Still, now that we have a larger sample, Kelly’s expected indicators (4.13 xFIP, 4.27 SIERA) aren’t far from previous seasons.
His swinging-strike rate and CSW% stand at career-lows too. The two positives are career-best marks in chase rate and first-pitch strike rate.
Kelly has dialed back his curveball usage (-5%), and sinker usage (-6.6%) in exchange for cutters (+5.9%) and changeups (+6.6%), and both his hard-hit rate and home-run rate (0.37 HR/9) have plummeted.
Kelly may continue to limit hard contact, but I don’t see any reason to improve his projection — relative to the preseason — to a substantial degree.
Similarly, Gonsolin has pitched to a sub 2 ERA while modifying his pitch mix – decreasing his fastball usage by 10 percent and reallocating to his curveball and splitter.
Gonsolin is inducing more chases than ever before (35.4%, +3.2% over career), and his groundball rate has skyrocketed to 47.4% (+9.9% year over year). Otherwise, his underlying metrics mostly align with career norms, and I have made slight adjustments to my preseason number, though relatively insubstantial.
The Dodgers are playing at a 111-win pace and will continue to garner public attention against the lesser teams around the league.
That said, I’d bet the Diamondbacks here to +150 (40% implied) compared to my projection at 42% (+138 implied), and I’d look to bet an under 9.5 to -115 (projected 8.98).
Additionally, you can add some Diamondbacks spread (+1.5 runs) up to -120.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets
Zach Eflin vs. Taijuan Walker (full projections here)
Eflin has been one of the most underrated pitchers for the past three seasons (combined 3.44 xFIP over 35 starts), and command may be his best skill.
He owns the lowest walk rate (3.9%) amongst 132 qualified starters (min. 100 IP) in the past two seasons, after previously sitting above 6%.
This year he’s made some pitch-mix modifications (more cutters and curveballs, fewer sliders), but he hasn’t taken a significant step forward. I rated him pretty highly; he gets lost amongst his rotation-mates (Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler).
This season, Walker has also made some pitch-mix alternations, doubling his splitter usage and quadrupling his cutter usage at the expense of four-seam fastballs and sliders.
While his strikeout rate has plummeted, Walker has seen a substantial increase in groundball rate:
However, considering the Mets’ infield defense, this change is a net negative.
The Mets have only turned 71% of groundballs into outs, 8% less than expected, the most significant gap in the major leagues.
The Phillies are woeful on defense, too, ranking dead last in both DRS (-27, 30th) and Outs Above Average (-20, 30th), but I do make them road favorites in this contest – as I rate Eflin (3.35 Model Weighted ERA) as a far better pitcher than Walker (4.09).
You can play the Phillies F5 line to -106 and their full game line to -102.
Additionally, you can add some Phillies F5 spread (+0.5 runs) up to -150.
Moreover, I would bet the F5 under 4.5 to -105 and the full game under 8.5 to -111 — compared to my projections of 4.2 and 7.9, respectively.
Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox
TBD vs. Johnny Cueto (full projections here)
I expect Keegan Thompson (3.76 xFIP, 3.34 SIERA) to start for the Cubs on Saturday. He hasn’t turned over an MLB lineup more than twice. Still, both Thompson and the Cubs bullpen (12th in K-BB%, 9th in xFIP, 11th in SIERA) have proven effective.
Johnny Cueto has been a revelation for the White Sox, but aside from exchanging changeups (-9.3%) for sliders (+11.8%), nothing suggests that his performance is sustainable.
Through two starts, Cueto’s swinging strike rate (6.3%) and CSW% (23.9%) are sitting at career-worst marks. And his FIP projections (4.69-4.72) show a minimal range of outcomes.
You can bet the Cubs F5 line down to +121 and their full game line to +125.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Michael Lorenzen (full projections here)
Kikuchi is as enigmatic of a pitcher as you can find in the majors. His walk rate (14.8%) is unbearably high, ranking amongst the Joan Adons of the world. Still, he’s underperformed relative to his expected metrics for a large part of his career.
Toronto has Kikuchi throwing far more four-seam fastballs (+17.3% year-over-year) and sliders (+5.3%) and far-fewer cutters (-23.6%) — making it even more surprising that he’s struggled with command.
He’s also inducing fewer whiffs and fewer chases while trying to pound the zone with the fastball, but he has no true out pitch to put hitters away in two-strike counts, and they can consistently foul off pitches and grind him down for walks.
Moreover, his .218 BABIP (career .295) is unsustainable – I expect Kikuchi to pitch closer to his FIP projections (range of 4.08 to 4.33) for the remainder of 2022. And he could struggle against an Angels offense that rarely chases pitches outside of the zone (28.4% O-Swing, 2nd in MLB).
Lorenzen was a solid upside signing by the Angels. (1-year, $6.75m) and he may garner significant attention next offseason (4.08 xFIP, 4.22 SIERA) after solidifying the middle of their rotation.
He doesn’t offer a ton of strikeouts, but Loreznzen keeps hitters off-balance with a six-pitch mix and a high groundball rate (55.6%, 5th amongst 87 qualified pitchers).
Both pitchers struggle with command at times, and I could see either having a complete meltdown on a given night.
I have bet the over in every game of this series between a pair of top-10 offenses, and I’m on the over in both halves on Saturday.
Bet the F5 over 4.5 to -114 and the full game over 8.5 to -112, compared to my projections of 4.9 and 9.1, respectively.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. San Diego Padres
JT Brubaker vs. Joe Musgrove (full projections here)
Musgrove has been underrated for a few seasons and has become one of the best command pitchers (4.4% walk rate) in the majors this year.
While his strikeout rate has dipped, he’s inducing more chases (38%, +4% year-over-year) and just as many whiffs and called strikes as he has in recent seasons. If this is Musgrove’s final form, he’s bordering on ace territory.
Brubaker is an underrated mid-rotation arm (career 4.05 xFIP, 4.09 SIERA) whose metrics and indicators have remained steady across three seasons. He’s under team control through 2026, but I expect the Pirates to deal him to a contender during his arbitration years.
Even accounting for the best possible version of Musgrove, I would still bet the Pirates moneyline at +192 (34.3% implied) or better as a pure projection play (projected +175, or 36.4% implied).
Additionally, you can add some Pirates spread (+1.5 runs) up to -110.
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
Jose Urquidy vs. Logan Gilbert (full projections here)
Urquidy introduced a cutter this season (15.2% usage), explaining his dip in strikeout rate (17.1%, -4.2% year-over-year).
He’s retained elite command (2.9% walk rate) but continues to get punished by the longball (1.56 HR/9, career 1.40), and I don’t see that problem changing for a flyball-oriented pitcher.
He still has the potential to bust out, but I envisioned more success for Urquidy at the MLB level (career 4.48 xFIP, 4.34 SIERA), yet his ERA indicators have never fallen below 4.
Gilbert possesses substantially more upside and may be in the midst of a breakout campaign (3.58 XFIP, 3.59 SIERA). Moreover, he’s continued to tweak his pitch mix, reducing his fastball usage in exchange for his secondary offerings.
His fastball doesn’t generate whiffs, but batters also have difficulty squaring it up — so Gilbert is finally putting his fastball away and using his breaking stuff to put hitters away in two-strike counts.
If his swinging strike rate in his past two outings (14.9% and 14%) is indicative of future success, Gilbert is about to level up yet again and could ascend to the Cy Young conversation as early as this season.
Logan Gilbert, Wicked 86mph Slider. 🤢
6th k thru 4. pic.twitter.com/uc7uTMYovE
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 27, 2022
I projected the Mariners as favorites in both halves of this contest. You can bet their F5 line to +100 and their full game line to +107.
You can also bet the Overs up to 4 (-107) and 7.5 (+100) for either half.
Sean Zerillo’s Bets (May 28)
- Astros/Mariners F5 Over 4 (+100) at MGM (bet to -107)
- Astros/Mariners Over 7.5 (+102) at MGM (bet to +100)
- Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5 (+100) at PointsBet (bet to -120)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+162) at WynnBET (bet to +150)
- Blue Jays/Angels F5 Over 4.5 (+106) at DraftKings (bet to -114)
- Blue Jays/Angels Over 8.5 (-105) at FanDuel (bet to -112)
- Brewers/Cardinals F5 Under 4.5 (-105) at FanDuel (bet to -114)
- Brewers/Cardinals Under 8.5 (-110) at MGM (bet to 8 (-109))
- Chicago Cubs F5 (+130) at DraftKings (bet to +121)
- Chicago Cubs (+135) at BetRivers (bet to +125)
- Colorado Rockies Game 2 F5 (+100) at DraftKings (bet to -113)
- Colorado Rockies Game 2 (+105) at WynnBET (bet to -103)
- Detroit Tigers (+138) at WynnBET (bet to +132)
- Detroit Tigers +1.5 (-125)) at WynnBET (bet to -146)
- Dodgers/Diamondbacks Under 9.5 (-110) at MGM (Bet to -115)
- Giants/Reds Under 10 (-110) at FanDuel (bet to -118)
- Guardians/Tigers, F5 Over 3.5 (-120) at FanDuel (bet to -125)
- Kansas City Royals F5 (+0.5, -110) at Pointsbet (bet to -125)
- Kansas City Royals F5 (+128) at FanDuel (bet to +116)
- Kansas City Royals (+143) at BetRivers (bet to +127)
- Miami Marlins F5 (-105) at MGM (bet to -117)
- Miami Marlins (+112) at WynnBet (bet to -101)
- New York Yankees F5 (-140) at DraftKings (bet to -143)
- Orioles/Red Sox Game 1 F5 Over 5 (-112) at MGM (bet to 5.5 (-115))
- Orioles/Red Sox Game 1 Over 9.5 (-108) at MGM (bet to -112)
- Orioles/Red Sox Game2 F5 Over 5.5 (+102) at Fanduel (bet to -116)
- Philadelphia Phillies F5 +0.5 (-130) at Pointsbet (bet to -150)
- Philadelphia Phillies F5 (+105) at DraftKings (bet to -106)
- Philadelphia Phillies (+116) at DraftKings (bet to -102)
- Phillies/Mets F5 Under 4.5 (+100) at FanDuel (bet to -105)
- Phillies/Mets Under 8.5 (+105) at FanDuel (bet to -111)
- Pittsburgh Pirates +1.5 (+100) at PointsBet (bet to -110)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+210) at BetRivers (bet to +192)
- Oakland Athletics F5 (+100) at MGM (bet to -110)
- Oakland Athletics (+100) at WynnBET (bet to -107)
- Seattle Mariners F5 (+110) at DraftKings (bet to +100)
- Seattle Mariners (+110) at WynnBET (bet to +107)
- Yankees/Rays F5 Over 3.5 (+107) at FanDuel (bet to -112)