MLB Expert Picks, Odds, Predictions: 4 Best Bets From Friday’s Slate, Including Astros vs. Guardians, Blue Jays vs. Twins (August 5)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Madison Bumgarner.
- Friday's MLB slate is loaded with betting value, including a trio of underdogs.
- Our analysts are fading three favorites tonight, so plus EV is the theme across the board.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of our best bets from tonight in Major League Baseball.
A weekend full of baseball gets started this afternoon with Marlins vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field, but there’s plenty more after that.
Friday’s card includes 13 night games, and our analysts have plays on four of them. We’re on three underdogs and one favorite in Pirates vs. Orioles, Astros vs. Guardians, Blue Jays vs. Twins and Rockies vs. Diamondbacks.
Here are our four best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Pirates vs. Orioles
Brad Cunningham: Dean Kremer should not be this big of favorite, really ever.
Kremer is currently sitting with a 5.41 xERA, 4.69 xFIP and is in the bottom 10% of starting pitchers in xwOBA allowed, xBA allowed, and xSLG allowed. In his 10 starts this season, only twice was his xFIP below four.
Mitch Keller has made improvement from the past two seasons, bringing his xFIP down to 4.01. The main reason for that is he’s improved his fastball velocity by almost 2 mph from 93.8 to 95.7. With that improved velocity it’s brought the xwOBA allowed on it down from .363 in 2021 to .299 this season.
The Orioles are one of the worst fastball hitting teams in baseball with a -20.3 run value on the season and they just traded away their best fastball hitter, Trey Mancini, who led the team with a +8.8 run value against them.
I only have the Orioles projected as -102 favorites for the full game and have the Pirates as -117 favorites for the first five innings. So I love the value on doubling up on the Pirates +136 (FanDuel) for the full game and +128 (BetRivers) for the first five innings.
Astros vs. Guardians
Collin Whitchurch: Who the heck is Hunter Gaddis, anyway?
The 6-foot-6, 260 lb. right-hander is slated to make his major-league debut tonight against the vaunted Houston Astros. The 24-year-old was a fifth-round pick out of George State in 2019 and is Cleveland’s 19th-best prospect according to Baseball America. He doesn’t list among Cleveland’s top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.
So, why should we bet on Gaddis tonight?
The number is simply too high. I don’t know how much we should trust our Hefty Righty — his advanced stats in the minors (majority in Double-A with two starts in Triple-A) — aren’t encouraging, but he does have 114 strikeouts against just 31 walks in 86 1/3 innings.
He’s also a product of a Cleveland farm system that has a habit of helping seemingly low-ceiling college arms reach another level. (see: Bieber, Shane).
That’s unlikely for Gaddis, who is most assuredly just making a spot start here until Aaron Civale returns, but he should give Houston’s lineup a dose of the unknown early on before the game is turned over to the bullpens — where Cleveland has the advantage.
Framber Valdez pitches to contact and the Guardians make a ton of contact. If he’s inducing grounders and soft contact like he’s capable, this will be a tough bet.
But I’m betting on Cleveland’s contact-heavy approach, the unknown of Gaddis and Cleveland’s elite bullpen as huge underdogs.
There’s simply too much value at this number.
Blue Jays vs. Twins
Charlie DiSturco: In front of the Minnesota faithful on Friday night, Tyler Mahle makes his Twins debut against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The recently acquired Mahle has been one of the least fortunate pitchers in baseball thus far. His 4.40 ERA at first glance might be a slight concern, but advanced metrics prove otherwise.
Mahle has a 3.20 xERA and opponents have a .206 xBA and .332 xSLG against the right-hander — both ranking inside the top 20 percent of all pitchers. He limits barrels and generates plenty of swings and misses.
Despite that low xBA, Mahle’s BABIP is actually .289, and he’s stranded only 68.6 percent of runners on base, down five percent from his career average. Those are two areas where I see positive regression coming for Mahle with his new team.
Lining up against him is Jose Berrios, who I have been fading in 2022.
Aside from walk rate, Berrios’ metrics are concerning. He has a 4.96 ERA — even with a strong July — and an even worse 5.17 xERA. Opponents have a .274 xBA and .484 xSLG against the right-hander who is barreled over 11 percent of the time.
To put it simply, Berrios has been hit hard and he’s nowhere near the same pitcher from recent years.
This is the perfect spot to back the Twins and Mahle in his debut. He finally has a capable offense around him and, to me, is one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball.
At plus money, I love the Twins here.
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks
Jules Posner: The Diamondbacks at least seem to have direction and have leaned into a youth movement while the Colorado Rockies … well, I’m not sure what they’re doing. However, the Rockies own a 6-4 season record against the D’backs and have snagged four victories in seven road games against the D’Backs.
On the other hand, the D’Backs hold a .500 record at home this season, while the Rockies are 17-34 on the road.
Madison Bumgarner gets the start for the Diamondbacks and in addition to being relatively solid at home this season, he also threw seven strong en route to a victory against the Rockies at home in his last appearance against them. Additionally, he’s taking on an offense that 29th in team wRC+ on the road against LHP over the past month.
His opposition, German Marquez, also threw seven strong innings against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, while also securing a victory. However, the D’backs have the 10th-highest wRC+ against RHP at home over the past couple of weeks. They also have a lot of left-handed bats who are both patient and can do damage.
Also the Diamondbacks have a huge bullpen advantage as they have been on fire over the past couple of weeks. All around, the D’backs have the edge and their moneyline sits around -130.
Depending on where you look, the cash seems to be trending towards the D’Backs as well. Their moneyline should be the play from -150 or better.
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.