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MLB Odds, Expert Picks: 3 Best Bets For Friday, Including Marlins vs Nationals, Pirates vs Mets (September 16)

MLB Odds, Expert Picks: 3 Best Bets For Friday, Including Marlins vs Nationals, Pirates vs Mets (September 16) article feature image
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Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitch Keller

Happy Mitch Keller Day!

A favorite of the Action Network staff is in action tonight as a big underdog against the Mets, so of course two of our analysts are backing the Pirates hurler.

That’s not all, however. With a plethora of intriguing matchups to choose from, one of our analysts is on the yuck-fest in D.C. between the Marlins and Nationals.

Just because they aren’t big games doesn’t mean they can’t be for bettors.

Here are our three best bets from Friday’s MLB slate.

MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets
7:10 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets
7:10 p.m. ET

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
First Five Innings Under 4 (-110)
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Jesus Luzardo vs. Josiah Gray
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Charlie DiSturco: Two of the most electric young arms in baseball square off in D.C. as Jesus Luzardo and Josiah Gray go head-to-head in the battle of the National League East’s bottomfeeders.

Since his return in August, Luzardo has been a different pitcher for the Marlins. Acquired from Oakland with an incredibly high ceiling, Luzardo has shored up his barrel rate and hard-hit rate, as opponents have just a .218 xBA against the southpaw.

Not only does he have an upper-hand in this matchup against the National’s offense, but Luzardo’s home/road splits are drastic, and a positive here. On the road, Luzardo’s ERA sits at 2.54. That number jumps over three runs when pitching at LoanDepot Park.

Opposite him is Josiah Gray, the definition of Jekyll & Hyde in 2022. While he has a .216 xBA, his barrel rate remains in the double digits and he surrenders nearly 2.5 HR/9. But that shouldn’t be a problem against the lowly Marlins offense.

From the current active roster, the home run leader is Bryan De La Cruz with nine total. Gray has been a bit unfortunate, too, with expected indicators in the low-to-mid 4s as opposed to an ERA in the 5s.

I believe this matchup favors the 24-year-old who has elite swing and miss stuff, and he should have his way with the Marlins.

Because of the starting pitching advantage, I love the first five under here. Take both bullpens completely out of this matchup and trust Luzardo and Gray to take us home in the first half of Friday night’s divisional bout.


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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets

Pick
Pirates First Five Innings +195
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Mitch Keller vs. Taijuan Walker
First Pitch
7:10 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: Mitch Keller was set up for a disappointing 2022 season. Anytime a baseball player has a clip of their offseason training go viral, people tend to overreact and set unreasonably high expectations.

Now that the hype as long since subsided, Keller has actually turned a corner this season. Although his 4.09 road ERA isn’t anything to write home about, his ERA on the road since July sits at an excellent 2.08 and it is complimented by a 2.68 FIP.

He’ll be taking on a Mets offense that is still solidly above average against RHP at home over the past two weeks, but their starting pitcher — Taijuan Walker — has struggled of late.

In the second half, both Walker’s ERA and FIP sit above the five run mark. Additionally, the Pirates’ offense has been the 12th best unit against RHP on the road over the past couple of weeks.

The Pirates’ first five inning money line has climbed from +185 to +195 overnight, so that line movement does give me pause. However, considering the directions both starting pitcher’s have moved in the second half, plus a seemingly capable Pirate offense makes me believe their F5 moneyline is worth the risk as long as it’s above +180.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Mets

Pick
Pirates +220
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Mitch Keller vs. Taijuan Walker
First Pitch
7:10 p.m. ET

DJ James: Taijuan Walker has been one of the most fade-able pitchers in the second half. This seems to be a story drawing back over the last season or so. Walker boasted a 2.55 ERA before the All-Star break and has a 5.44 ERA in the second half.

He will face the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second time this month on Friday. Mitch Keller takes the mound for the Bucs.

Keller has been a much-improved pitcher for the Pirates, especially in the second half. He has a 4.01 ERA on the season with a 4.16 xERA, so he is right in line with expectations. Unlike Walker, his second half ERA is 3.00. He also ranks around the middle of the pack in both average exit velocity and hard hit rate, while Walker ranks in bottom 25% in both metrics.

The Mets do have a 124 wRC+ off of right-handed pitching in the last month. The Pirates have an 85 wRC+. That said, the Pirates have four hitters above a .345 xwOBA and scored four runs off of Walker on September 6.

Take the Pirates. They have value from +220 until +170. Expect second half Walker to continue plummeting.


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