MLB Odds, Betting Picks: Our Best Bets for Rays vs. Orioles, Rangers vs. Astros and More (May 21)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Verlander
- The MLB slate for Saturday is already rolling along, but there's plenty of value still on the board.
- Our analysts are targeting a pair of evening games, including Rays-Orioles and Rangers-Astros.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown and analysis from our best bets on Saturday's slate.
Our analysts have found three areas to target, including an afternoon game in Toronto and evening starts in Baltimore and Houston.
Here are our three best bets from Saturday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Cincinnati Reds vs. Toronto Blue Jays
DJ James: Hunter Greene threw 7 1/3 shutout innings last week against the Pirates in a game where the Reds hilariously lost, 1-0. He’ll face the Blue Jays and Alek Manoah while his team misses multiple players due to the injured and restricted list since this game is played in Toronto and Canada requires a COVID-19 vaccination.
Joey Votto is back, however, and in May the Reds are actually an above-average offense against righties. They own a team 107 wRC+, and if people saw this in April they would be shell-shocked, considering how the season began.
Manoah is great, though. He owns a 2.41 xERA with an elite Statcast profile. He will go 5-7 innings for the Jays, as well. He has not necessarily been touched up against anyone this season, but the handicap is how poorly Toronto has hit righties.
The Blue Jays own an abysmal 75 wRC+ this month, which will not bode well. Greene may walk some hitters and throw a relatively flat fastball, but he still throws the ball in the upper 90s or low 100s. This should be enough to get through that struggling Toronto lineup.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles
Anthony Dabbundo: It’s a youth movement in Baltimore as top prospect Adley Rutschmannmakes his MLB debut behind the plate and rookie Kyle Bradish starts on the hill for the Orioles.
Bradish has been very underrated in the market since joining the staff last month. He may have a 5.06 ERA, but he has above-average stuff+ metrics, based on Eno Sarris’ data from The Athletic. His xERA is below 4 and I trust his well above-average K/BB ratio to stick for him in MLB.
His command is clearly above average and has been since the upper minors. He’s striking out more than 25% of hitters, too. Bradish faced some difficult matchups thus far, but the Rays are not a particularly difficult one.
While Bradish has struggled to keep the ball in the yard, he should benefit from pitching with the pushed back fence in left field at Camden Yards.
Jeffrey Springs has quietly been elite for Tampa Bay as a 3-4 inning type pitcher as he’s allowed just a 3.6% barrel rate, isn’t walking anyone and is still striking out more than 25% of hitters.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros
Jules Posner: The Houston Astros are finally looking like themselves again and have surged up the AL West standings, while overtaking the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have been playing better, going 6-4 over their last 10 games, but they are still under .500.
Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Astros and although his home splits don’t look as impressive in relation to his overall numbers, this could be a situation where he can positively regress.
The Rangers’ offense is 27th in MLB in team wRC+ against RHP on the road so far this month. Verlander’s 5.14 FIP home FIP might make bettors give some pause, but the Rangers’ offense could be a perfect get well situation for the Astros ace.
Additionally, the Astros offense has been mashing again. They are fourth in MLB this month in team wRC+ against RHP at home and Rangers’ starter, Jon Gray, has struggled on the road so far this season.
Although both bullpens are solid, the Astros’ pen has the slight edge and their offense might be too much for the Rangers’ pitching staff to overcome.