MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Top Picks, Including Orioles vs. Astros, Twins vs. Reds & Padres vs. Dodgers (Monday, June 21)
Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis Jr. and Max Muncy
- Just because there are few games doesn't mean there has to only be a few bets.
- Our staff of analysts have angles on three of tonight's MLB games, including two bets on the Padres-Dodgers showdown.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets from Monday's MLB slate.
It’s a lighter slate in Major League Baseball on Monday, with a doubleheader between the Braves and Mets getting the day started at 5:10 p.m. ET, and just six other games throughout the evening.
That doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of intrigue. Our analysts have found angles on three games with four bets total, including a pair of picks on the much-anticipated NL West showdown between the Dodgers and Padres.
Here are our staff’s four best bets from Monday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles
Brad Cunningham: Jake Odorizzi has been pitching much better than his numbers have shown. His ERA is sitting at 5.68, but his xERA is at 3.86 and his xFIP is at 4.09, so he’s due for some positive regression. Where he’s really excelled is with his fastball, as opponents have only been able to put up a .258 wOBA against it. He’ll have a good matchup against the Orioles because they have the fourth-worst wOBA against righties and are 20th against fastballs.
Left-hander Keegan Akin has really been struggling with his top three pitches of fastball, changeup and slider, as all of them are allowing a wOBA above .330. The Astros are the best lineup against left-handed pitching as they lead MLB in batting average, wOBA and WRC+. On top of that, Houston is sixth against fastballs and the best team in baseball against sliders and changeups.
I love the Astros First Five Inning Spread of -0.5 at -118 and would play it up to -127
Cincinnati Reds vs. Minnesota Twins
Mike Ianniello: The Cincinnati Reds head to Minnesota after a tough trip to San Diego. The Reds were swept by the Padres and struggled offensively.
Over the course of the entire season, Cincinnati has been a top-10 offense in the league. The Reds rank seventh in runs per game, seventh in wOBA, eighth in OPS and 10th in wRC+. Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker are having unbelievable seasons, each posting an OPS above .980.
Coming off a sweep, this is a great spot to bounce back over the struggling J.A. Happ. After starting the year really well, it has been a disaster since the start of May for Happ. In eight starts, he has an 8.68 ERA and is allowing a .345 batting average and 1.035 OPS against.
Happ has allowed at least four runs in six of his last seven starts and has allowed seven home runs in his last four games.
Cincinnati will start Tyler Mahle, who is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA this season. Mahle has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his 14 starts this season and has allowed just one home run in his last six starts. He has more than twice as many strikeouts as Happ this season and has won five straight games.
I want no business dealing with the Reds’ bullpen but they have a large advantage in starting pitching, so I will back them at -128 for the First Five Innings and would play them up to -135.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres
Tanner McGrath: For East Coast baseball gamblers, such as myself, tonight’s Dodgers-Padres game is a fascinating one that demands action. However, I definitely don’t want to stay up until the crack of dawn waiting for a ticket to cash.
Instead, we can bet my favorite prop: The No Runs First Inning (NRFI). We just need six straight outs from accomplished pitchers Yu Darvish and Julio Urías, and then we can hit the hay. I believe that’ll happen fairly easily tonight.
The one big red flag in this play is the Dodgers’ offense, which has been red-hot as of late. However, Yu Darvish has allowed just two runs in 14 innings of work against L.A. this season, while the Dodgers rank only 16th in first inning scoring on the road (0.50 runs per game).
More on Darvish: In 2021, Darvish has posted a 1.93 first inning ERA in 14 starts and has allowed zero first inning runs in his past six starts. His strikeout rate is high (10.39 K/9), his walk rate is low (2.25 BB/9), and he’s posted a low WHIP (0.95), all great qualities for a NRFI starter.
Meanwhile, Urías is having a solid season himself. He’s also posted a 1.93 first inning ERA in 14 starts this season, and has posted a high strikeout rate (9.64 K/9) with a super low walk rate (1.39 BB/9) and a low WHIP (1.00).
Urías will need to snag three quick outs against a Padres squad that is below-average at home against lefties (92 wRC+ in 2021), ranks 23rd in first inning scoring (0.45 runs per game) and might be without Fernando Tatis Jr., who is questionable with a shoulder injury. I like Urías’s chances today.
Finally, the forecast calls for a strong breeze blowing straight in from left field (9.5 mph at 10 p.m. ET), hopefully keeping those long pull balls from Mookie Betts and Manny Machado in the park.
At PointsBet, BetMGM and FanDuel, this NRFI line is hovering around -150. But at DraftKings, you can still play it at -124, where it absolutely provides value.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres
Kenny Ducey: I’ll be honest, I have trust issues right now with the Padres’ offense, and they’re not going to be alleviated here. San Diego lost two of three to the Cubs, two of three to the Mets and went to Coors Field and got swept before pulling off a four-game sweep of its own against the Reds. Things have been wildly inconsistent of late, but I’m not quite ready to buy into this offense.
Not against Julio Urías , anyway. The Padres rank 22nd in wRC+ to left-handed pitching, and the southpaw has an ERA of 2.03 in his career versus San Diego. That number’s one-upped by Yu Darvish’s 1.29 career ERA against the Dodgers, but with that being said it’s very difficult to fade this offense at the moment. It ranks fourth in wRC+ over the past two weeks and sixth in contact rate, leading me to believe LA will have some action on the base paths all night.
With that, I think the probability that the Dodgers scratch across a few runs is much higher than the chances Urías blows up against an offense that’s still very much searching for its groove since returning Fernando Tatis, Jr., Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers from the COVID list. The Padres are going to get the Dodgers plenty this year, but I don’t see this as one of those nights.
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