MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s 5 Favorite Picks for Monday, Including Blue Jays vs. Yankees, Padres vs. Giants (April 11)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Camilo Doval
Our analysts have betting picks to recommend throughout the day, starting with that first game between the Guardians and Royals. We have underdogs, totals and more.
Here are our five best bets from Monday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|9:45 p.m. ET|
Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals
Nick Martin: The Guardians project to hit righties respectably this season, and I think they can follow up Sunday’s massive offensive breakthrough another productive day Monday.
Carlos Hernandez finished with a favorable 3.68 ERA last season, with an expected ERA of 4.35. Both of those marks were vast improvements from his previous season, where Hernandez posted a 7.30 xERA, with a concerning 12.5 BB%.
Hernandez looked to live more in the zone during spring training but was pounded, allowing five home runs and a lot of hard hit balls.
Aaron Civale will take the mound for the Guardians, and it’s reasonable to think that what could be a sneakily decent Royals lineup can hit him around and put together a solid offensive day.
Civale took a step backwards last season, pitching to an xERA of 4.79 and an xwOBA of .334.
Even if conditions aren’t ideal for a ton of carry Monday in Kansas City, I think we can see a lot of contact and another long day for pitchers. We have an edge on the over 8.5 at -110 and I would play 8.5 until -120.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
DJ James: Toronto held a 111 wRC+ collectively last season against righties, ranking second in the majors. New York ranked 13th in the MLB at 97, which is below average. Adding Matt Chapman enhanced an already potent Blue Jays lineup, and even if the Yankees added Josh Donaldson and Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, they still do not have the artillery the Jays possess.
Alek Manoah has proven he can go deep into games, which might alleviate the early season bullpen jitters for Toronto. After August 17 last season, he managed to go at least five innings in each start.
Taillon did not have similar results, so if anything, this will play into Toronto’s favor. Anything they can do to hand the ball to Jordan Romano quickly is a massive help for a cover.
Manoah’s ability to induce weaker contact will play favorably with the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium. He ranked in the 86th percentile in Average Exit Velocity last season, while Taillon was more in the middle of the pack.
Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins
Did they overachieve a little bit last season based on their run differential? Sure. But that is what makes this team so fun to bet on. They constantly win games they probably have no business winning. Part of that could be luck, and a bit unpredictable. But another part of it is smart baseball and being unflappable in high-pressure situations. No team in baseball was better in High Leverage situations than the Mariners. They had a .361 wOBA and 136 wRC+ in high leverage situations last year.
Mojo aside, this team is very talented and made some really good moves this offseason. Ty France and Mitch Haniger are two of the most underrated players in the game. Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez have future superstar potential and they went out and acquired All-Stars Adam Frazier and Jesse Winker in the offseason.
Then there is Chris Flexen. My favorite player in the league. If you put $100 on Seattle in every Chris Flexen start last season, you went 22-9 and won $1,588. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was on him for almost all of those starts. Even more, Seattle went 11-3 in Flexen’s starts on the road last year.
Dylan Bundy went just 2-9 last season for the Angels and pitched to a 6.06 ERA. He doesn’t strike out batters and allows one of the highest barrel rates in the league.
No team in baseball was more profitable to bet on as an underdog last season than the Seattle Mariners. I will continue to back the league leaders in Fun Differential until oddsmakers figure out how to price in the Mariners’ mojo, especially with Flexen on the mound.
San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants
Jules Posner: The San Francisco Giants are fresh off a solid opening series win at home against the Miami Marlins.
On the other side, the San Diego Padres took three of four and three straight on the road vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Both teams surprised in different ways last season, but both teams are looking to establish themselves as serious contenders in the NL West again in 2022.
Although the Giants’ offense struggled in their opening series, they were up against a trio of young and underrated starters. The Marlins did a good job minimizing the Giants’ best home offense from last season, but the Giants still managed to pull off two close victories on Thursday and Sunday. Additionally, all three games were decided by one run.
The Padres may have gotten more of a fight in Arizona than they anticipated.
Following an Opening Day walk-off loss, the Padres’ offense struggled to get things going against Arizona starters on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before blowing the D’Backs out early on Sunday.
Heading into the weekday series in San Francisco, the Padres’ results so far against LH starters have been pretty extreme. Madison Bumgarner pitched decently against them on Opening Day, but an error followed by two straight walks and a grand slam propelled the Padres’ offense on Sunday.
Alex Wood makes his season debut for the Giants and the LH enjoyed pitching at home to the tune of a 3.13 FIP.
Nick Martinez is listed as the starter for the Padres and the RH will be making his first MLB appearance since 2017.
On paper, this seems like a great opportunity for the Giants’ offense to break out at home, while the Padres’ offense may continue to struggle to find consistency.
San Diego Padres vs. San Francisco Giants
|9:45 p.m. ET|
Kenny Ducey: The San Diego Padres have scored five runs per game through their first four contests, ranking seventh in baseball. While that sentence tells one story, the individual games tell another.
San Diego was fortunate to run into some poor pitching in the opening series, and I think against one of the better stables in the National League their fortunes will change. These right-handed bats simply aren’t at a high enough level right now to justify backing them against a strong left-hander like Alex Wood.
Jurickson Profar has been great, hitting .400 with a couple of homers, but San Diego has gotten absolutely nothing from Wil Myers, Luke Voit and Ha-Seong Kim. Even Manny Machado is hitting just .250.
Heading into a matchup with a strong lefty with just one solid right-handed bat isn’t a winning strategy. We saw Madison Bumgarner effectively quiet this order for three frames on Opening Day, and I think Wood should have success and deliver the Giants a victory.
Wood’s propensity for the strikeout (26% strikeout rate in 2021) should serve him well here against a whiff-happy Padres team, as should his ability to limit catastrophic contact (5.3% barrel rate ranked in the top 14% of the league).