Mariners-Marlins gets us started in Miami, but we have four other picks on three games throughout the night.
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Ramirez
- Our MLB analysts have found plenty of value on the board tonight in MLB.
- Mariners-Marlins gets us started in Miami, but we have four other picks on three games throughout the night.
- Continue reading for our best bets and full analysis from Friday's MLB slate.
Friday’s MLB slate is loaded with evening games. All 30 teams are set to play, with a number of intriguing series’ getting started.
Our analysts are all over this slate, with five bets on four of those games. We have a pair of bets on Diamondbacks-Cardinals, as well as a moneyline underdog in Angels-White Sox and a total in Guardians-Athletics.
Here are our five best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Seattle Mariners vs. Miami Marlins
Mike Ianniello: While Matt Brash has yet to have the results and dominant outings some expected, his stuff is so nasty that it just seems inevitable. Despite rankings 12th in wOBA at the plate, the Marlins are just 19th in xwOBA.
The Mariners rank second in xwOBA. Elieser Hernandez has struggled this year and the Mariners are in a great spot in this matchup. Hernandez throws his fastball 49% of the time and it has been hammered to the tune of a .323 batting average, .490 wOBA and a 42.3% hard-hit rate.
Seattle has hit fastballs better than any team in the entire league by a wide margin. The Mariners have a wFB value of 20.3, more than double the second-best team. Ty France, J.P. Crawford and Adam Frazier are all batting over .300 against fastballs this year and France and Crawford have an wOBA over .500 against four-seamers.
Neither starting pitcher has been able to go very deep into games this year and the Mariners bullpen currently ranks fifth in the league in xFIP, where the Marlins relievers rank 16th.
I expect the Mariners offense to jump on Hernandez early and often and build a lead that allows Brash to confidently spin his stuff.
Seattle has a big advantage at the plate in this matchup and the price is just too short with Brash on the mound.
Take the MLB leaders in fun differential at -110 and I would play them to -125.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Chicago White Sox
Tanner McGrath: I’m fully ready to back the red-hot Angels and the red-hot Noah Syndergaard as underdogs.
After years of injury and wear and tear, Syndergaard will likely never be the strikeout machine he once was. But, he’s still managed to keep his exit velocity down (85.6 mph on average), something at which he used to be elite.
As a result, Syndergaard ranks in the 90th percentile of qualified pitchers in xSLG allowed (.264) and has posted three straight starts of five-plus innings and fewer than two runs allowed.
That’s plenty good enough for an Angels lineup that leads MLB in wRC+ (128), OPS (.762) and wOBA (.342). Shohei Ohtani still hasn’t gotten it going (.691 OPS, 25 Ks in 80 ABs) and the Angels offense is still smashing the ball.
The Angels will take on Lucas Giolito, who has been near perfect through two starts. But I’m worried about one stat in particular: Giolito ranks in the fifth percentile in average exit velocity allowed. It hasn’t mattered because he’s struck out 15 batters over eight innings, but we can’t reasonably expect him to post a 16.5 K/9 over 30 starts.
The White Sox have lost nine of 10. The offense has been putrid but is due for a significant amount of positive regression. But even if you take that regression into account, the White Sox bats still haven’t been seeing the ball like the Halos.
The bullpens are essentially a wash (LAA 3.93 reliever xFIP; CHW 4.03 reliever xFIP), and so I’ll happily bank on Syndergaard, Mike Trout and Tyler Ward to win in Chicago today.
Editor’s note: Noah Syndergaard has been scratched and will no longer start for the Angels. Jimmy Herget will take the mound instead.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals
DJ James: The St. Louis Cardinals are the best hitting team against left-handers in this young season. Madison Bumgarner only has a 1.00 ERA on the season, but his xERA of 3.61 tells a different story. He has walked batters at a 13.3% clip. The Cardinals do chase at a 30.3% clip this season, but they should be able to handle Bumgarner and the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff.
Tyler O’Neill is the player to watch this game. He only has 68 wRC+, but his xwOBA against lefties is over .500. He also walks at a 11.6% rate. In addition to him, the Cardinals have three other hitters over .400. The top of this lineup should be patient enough and able to feast on the MadBum early.
Building off of that, the Arizona bullpen is brutal. It has accrued -0.4 fWAR and has a 4.68 xFIP. The Snakes only have three to four competitive relievers. Otherwise, if the Cards can force MadBum out before the fifth inning, they will get a couple of runs late.
The moneyline on the Cards is a bit steep, so look to take the team total over 4 (-105). Play this to 4.5 (-110). Even with unders hitting at an alarming rate this season, the over on the Cards is the right position.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Jules Posner: You know that Breaking Bad meme where Jesse Pinkman is screaming, “He can’t keep getting away with this!”? That is Madison Bumgarner.
He comes into Friday’s match up at the St. Louis Cardinals with a 1.00 ERA. However, his FIP is 4.01 and his xFIP is 4.69. Additionally, he didn’t give up an earned run in his first road start of 2022, but his road FIP is 3.47.
Bumgarner has been long overdue for regression and that may occur tonight in St. Louis. In a small sample, the Cardinals lead the league in team wRC+ at home against LHP. Those numbers are inflated due to the small sample coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Bumgarner’s peripherals indicate that he is due to be scored upon.
Pair that with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bottom five bullpen in terms of FIP and the Cardinals should be able to put up some offense.
Adam Wainwright is on the hill for the Cardinals and he is consistently lights out at home. He threw six scoreless innings against the Pirates in his first home start and the Diamondbacks’ offense are pretty Pirates-y in their own right.
Although the Cards’ bullpen took a tough loss Monday night, they should recover against a much less potent offense. The RL is the play here and should be taken as long as it’s plus money.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Oakland Athletics
Collin Whitchurch: Generally when we see totals this low it’s because the matchup is between two elite starting pitchers. Frankie Montas might come close to qualifying as such, but Aaron Civale definitively does not.
Civale is simply not missing bats this year. He’s inducing swinging strikes just nine percent of the time so far this season, more than two percent worse than the league average, and his CSW% (called + swinging strike) falls in line similarly.
The Athletics’ offense is nothing special, but the way to get them out is by striking them out. They have the second-worst K rate in the majors so far this year, and in a battle between a moveable object and a stoppable force, I’m going with the side that has shown more competence — at least to scratch a few runs out against a very hittable pitcher.
Montas misses plenty of bats, and he’ll be going against a Cleveland offense that avoids the punch-out better than league average (19th in K%). There’s a lot to like about Montas overall — and whoever trades for him will likely be happy — but it’s tough to imagine him getting through five unscathed if he’s not missing bats at the rate he’s seen so far this season.
Simply put, I like both of these offenses to put up at least a few runs against vulnerable starting pitching. Both bullpens have been fine in the early going, but we’re not exactly looking at two elite units, either.
Any time I see a 6.5 total I almost blindly side with the over, but there’s legitimate justification here. Also, this will be the sixth time this season a total has closed at 6.5 or lower this season, and the over is 4-1 so far in such instances, per Bet Labs. That’s particularly notable in a season when the unders have been so profitable overall.
I’ll take over 6.5 at -115. 7 is fine if the line moves, it just increases your push risk.
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