MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 4 Picks, Featuring Blue Jays vs. Yankees (Wednesday, May 4)
Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo.
- Two best bets are down today but there's still plenty more MLB action tonight.
- Two of our analysts are all over the series finale tonight between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
- Continue reading for full analysis and our betting picks from this key AL East rivalry matchup.
Our analysts are eyeing three games, including two this afternoon and a pair of picks on the series finale between the Yankees and Blue Jays in Toronto.
Here are our four best bets from Wednesday's MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
San Diego Padres vs. Cleveland Guardians
Jules Posner: The Cleveland Guardians return home after a road trip where they got swept in consecutive series then swept their final series. They will be taking on a familiar face in Mike Clevinger, who will be making his first start since 2020 in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Clevinger was absolutely lights out at Progressive Field over his final season and a half on the Guardians, but the Guardians look to spoil his return to the field.
Zach Plesac takes the mound for the Guardians and he's posted a 2.25 ERA so far at home over 12 innings this season. He's taking on the sixth-best road offense against RHP so far in 2022, and his FIP means he may be due for a little home regression.
The Guardians have a team wRC+ of 100 at home against RHP this season. Overall, they have the highest wRC+ against RHP in the league.
Although both bullpens are generally weak, the Guardians' bullpen has the slight edge as the Padres' bullpen has the sixth-highest staff ERA and fourth-highest FIP in MLB. With Clevinger returning from injury, the bullpen is going to have to work against a patient and effective Guardian offense.
Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros
Collin Whitchurch: Matt Brash has superlative stuff, but he just can't seem to figure out where it's going at the major-league level.
In 17 innings across four starts, Brash has 13 walks, including a whopping six the last time he faced the Astros on April 17. He escaped that mess with just two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings and actually earned his first career win, but I don't expect him to be so lucky this time around.
Brash's career has a lot of promise, but against patient major league teams he's going to need to harness his command better. After allowing six earned runs his last time out against the Marlins, many thought a trip back to Triple-A was next for him, but Seattle is giving him at least one more opportunity to right the ship. I don't expect better results.
Justin Verlander hasn't seemed to miss a beat in his return from injury. He threw eight shutout innings against these Mariners a few weeks ago, and Seattle's offense is lost right now. They've lost six of seven overall and been shutout each of the last two games.
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
DJ James: Nestor Cortes owns a 1.67 xERA this season with a 35.9% strikeout percentage. These numbers are elite.
Yusei Kikuchi, on the other hand, has a 6.02 xERA and 18.1% strikeout percentage. His strikeout percentage is the same as his walk percentage. That is not great!
Toronto has also been shockingly subpar against lefties in the early going. The Blue Jays only have a team 93 wRC+ with a 7.4% walk rate. This pairs well for Cortes, who looks to improve an already impressive run in April. He held the Blue Jays to three hits and no walks on April 12.
The Yankees have the fourth-best wRC+ against southpaws this season at 132. They also have a league-best hard hit percentage at 48.5% and exit velocity of 91.7 mph. Kikuchi is allowing hits at an average of 91.6 mph and his hard hit rate is almost the same at 47.8%.
All of these variables should lead to a route by the Yankees. Nothing in this game is encouraging for the Blue Jays. Even if they have a potent lineup, they will struggle with Cortes’ arsenal. Take the Yanks to -140.
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Mike Ianniello: The Yankees have won 11 straight games and sit with the best record in the MLB. They will hand the ball to Nestor Cortes as they look for their fifth straight series sweep.
Nasty Nestor has surprisingly been New York’s best pitcher this season. Through four starts, he has pitched to a 1.31 ERA with a 1.68 xERA and 2.06 xFIP. He has racked up 28 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings.
On the other side will be Yusei Kikuchi. Last season, he had a breakout start to the season to earn his first All-Star selection but really struggled in the second half. He went just 1-5 with a 5.98 ERA after the All-Star break last season.
In four starts this year, Kikuchi has a 5.52 ERA and even worse 6.02 xERA. He has walked as many batters as he has struck out and his usually reliable cutter has been hammered to .580 wOBA.
The Yankees' offense is on fire, leading the league in runs scored and home runs. They have also hammered lefties to a .344 wOBA and 132 wRC+, ranking fourth in the league in both. Toronto is much better against right-handers and sits just 18th in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers.
Don’t fall for any sort of “Toronto needs to avoid the sweep” narrative. The Yankees' bats are on fire right now and they have a big advantage with Nasty Nestor on the mound. I’ll play New York at -138 and would back them to -145.