MLB Odds, Best Friday Bets: Picks for Cubs vs. Padres, Orioles vs. Giants & More
Suzanna Mitchell/San Francisco Giants/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants.
- Friday's MLB slate is littered with action, and our staff has found betting value across the board.
- Our writers came through with four best bets for Friday's MLB games, including picks for Cubs vs. Padres, Orioles vs. Giants and more.
- Check out all four best bets for Friday's MLB slate below.
It's time to start the weekend off right with a visit to Green Dot City.
Our MLB writers are trying to give you a ticket with five best bets for Friday's MLB games, including picks for Phillies vs. Nationals, Angels vs. Astros, Cubs vs. Padres and Orioles vs. Giants.
Read on for all four best bets for Friday's MLB slate — and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more MLB betting content and best bets.
Now, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Friday's MLB Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from Friday night's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Phillies vs. Nationals
By D.J. James
The Phillies have been cold as ice at the plate. Since May 1, they hold a 90 wRC+ off of right-handed pitching. In the last week, they have a 62 wRC+ with a .601 OPS off of righties. These numbers are abysmal and seemingly are not getting better.
They'll now face Josiah Gray and the Nationals on Friday.
Gray is definitely overachieving, but he has been a solid starter with a 2.77 ERA. His xERA sits at 4.18, so there will be some negative regression in the future. That said, opponents own just a 6.6% barrel rate off of him, while he ranks in the 73rd percentile in average exit velocity.
He will face Zack Wheeler, who is a top-of-the-line starter. Wheeler owns a 3.60 ERA against a 3.33 xERA with a 4.5% barrel rate and an average exit velocity in the 90th percentile.
Washington has been about league average against righties since May 1 with a 99 wRC+ and a .733 OPS. It's picked up steam in the last week but hasn't been facing starting pitching like Wheeler.
In relief, Philly ranks in the middle of the pack in xFIP since May 1, while Washington is far more of a concern with a 4.75 xFIP in that same time frame. That said, each starter should go deep enough into this game to negate the bullpen’s effect on the scoreboard.
Take this game under the total with reliable starting pitching options on the bump, and play it to 8 (-120).
Angels vs. Astros
By Nick Shlain
One of my favorite bets on the slate for Friday is Astros ace Framber Valdez to go over 6.5 strikeouts at +100 on BetMGM.
Valdez is at home going up against the Angels tonight. He faced the Angels on the road on May 9 and completed eight innings while striking out 12 batters.
The Angels' lineup is mostly right-handed hitters, and Valdez has a 27% strikeout percentage against right-handed hitters this season. This projected Angels lineup has combined for a 21% strikeout percentage against left-handed pitching this season, and five hitters have a strikeout percentage of at least 20% against left-handed pitching this season.
Valdez has gone over this number in four of his last five starts. With his previous history against the Angels this season and the odds where they are, this is my favorite value on the board Friday.
Angels vs. Astros
As much as I love Framber Valdez, there’s no way you can make him a favorite over Shohei Ohtani.
Sure, Framber continues to force a ground-ball rate north of 60%, but his peripherals are wicked shaky. His xERA is north of 4.00, and his batted-ball profile is ugly (4th percentile in average EV, 13th percentile in hard-hit rate).
Meanwhile, Ohtani continues to dominate every batter in his path, even if he’s walking a few too many (10.9%). But his strikeout rate is also up, so everything is fine.
Anyways, let’s compare…
Valdez’s Statcast profile:
Yeah, I’d rather bet on that guy.
Meanwhile, the starting pitching matchup puts the Angels in their better split and the Astros in their worse one. Making this handicap even stronger: The Halos boast a whopping 172 wRC+ against southpaws over the past two weeks.
Obviously, Houston has the superior bullpen. However, the Astros used Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu, Hector Neris and Rafael Montero in Thursday’s win, so they’re a tad stretched.
And the Angels haven’t been that bad in the latter innings recently, boasting a top-15 reliever xFIP since the calendar flipped to May.
I’d also give slight defensive and base-running advantages to Anaheim.
So, putting it all together, I adore the Angels as divisional road dogs. Take 'em at (+105) or better.
Cubs vs. Padres
Michael Wacha is the exact kind of profile I like to bet against consistently.
He's shown excellent location and command numbers this season, but the Stuff+ metrics suggest he won't continue to produce a 31% hard-hit rate or get away with mediocre underlying strikeout and whiff rates.
Wacha's HR/FB rate this year is half of his career average despite the increased homers across the league. His ground-ball rate is down considerably, and his fastball grades out as one of the worst among all MLB starters.
The consensus projection for Wacha is around a 4.25 ERA by most of the non-The BAT projection systems. I'm skeptical he's truly a league-average pitcher at this point in his career, and once more homers creep into his profile, we'll see the regression in his ERA numbers.
Wacha's changeup is the only pitch that grades out as above average by Stuff+, and the Cubs' lineup features a ton of righty bats that limit its effectiveness.
From a situational and travel perspective, it's actually an advantage for the Cubs too. Chicago had a day off on Thursday, while the Padres played a road game in Miami and had to travel west Thursday night after their game.
I'd bet the Cubs at +140 or better.
Orioles vs. Giants
The Orioles are an incredible baseball team. And they’re fun to watch. And I don’t even think the City Connect uniforms are that bad.
That said, it’s no secret the O’s are weak in the rotation.
For example, take today’s starting pitcher, Dean Kremer. The 25-year-old has already gone through a full arsenal re-haul once in his short career, but to no avail — he’s already begun moving away from his added sinker and cutter.
Kremer has a 6.46 xERA and one of the worst batted-ball profiles in the Majors.
Yet, the O’s continue to trot Kremer out there every five days. Yikes.
Today, Kremer stares down a brutal matchup. The Giants have the fifth-highest wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, often stacking six or more lefties in the lineup (including switch-hitters Patrick Bailey and Bryce Johnson).
Meanwhile, the Giants are starting Logan Webb, who has been a delight to watch again this year. The righty boasts a sub-3.00 ERA and a 60% ground-ball rate behind one of the league’s better sinkers.
A big key to this matchup will be Webb’s changeup, something he throws a third of the time. The O’s rank 28th in Weighted Changeup Runs Created this year, so expect a healthy dose from Webb.
I never expected this, but the Giants’ bullpen has been lights out. They lead the league in reliever ERA (0.79) and xFIP (2.55) over the past two weeks, with Camilo Doval and Tyler Rogers putting together monster years.
It’s always daunting backing the San Francisco defense, but the Giants have a significant pitching advantage across all nine frames. Also, the Giants went 17-12 in May, including 9-6 at home, so they’re playing solid ball.
I'm fine playing the Giants up to (-160).