Friday MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Prediction: Our Favorite Bets, Including Blue Jays vs. Twins & Astros vs. Athletics (Sept. 24)
Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images. Pictured: Frankie Montas.
- Three matchups with huge value on Major League Baseball postseason races highlight Friday's best bets.
- The Blue Jays look to stay hot, while the Mariners and Astros are favored out west.
- Check out our picks and detailed breakdowns below.
The postseason races in MLB are heating up, and all three of our best bets for Friday have serious implications for October baseball.
The Blue Jays are looking to pip the Yankees for the second American League wild-card spot, which is what the Mariners are also after. The Astros, meanwhile, can seal their AL West title and continue the A’s late-season collapse.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Blue Jays vs. Twins
DJ James: The Toronto Blue Jays take on the Minnesota Twins in the second of a four-game set. José Berríos will be on the bump and facing Bailey Ober. Berríos is the better of the two starting pitchers and with the Wild Card in reach the Blue Jays could cause some damage on the road, after dropping the first game of this series.
Ober is a tall right-handed pitcher, who only throws 92 mph on average and he throws this four-seam fastball almost 60% of the time. On righty fastballs between 91-93 mph since August 1, the Toronto Blue Jays have a .455 xwOBA and 95.1 mph average exit velocity. Essentially, they are crushing these types of pitches, and Ober does not have too much else in his pitching arsenal to combat the power of the Blue Jay lineup.
The Twins can do similar damage to right-handed four-seamers. They have a .391 xwOBA against fastballs between 92-94 mph. This is about how fast Berríos will throw the ball. That said, Berríos relies on his curveball and sinker more than his fastball, so this should hold the Twins lineup in check.
Both bullpens have struggled lately, so these are essentially a wash. Given Berríos’ ability to go deep into games, this will negate some of the mishaps of the Toronto bullpen, so they get the edge. With a better starter on a mound and a more powerful lineup, the Blue Jays are the play here. Take their moneyline at -150 and play to -175.
Mariners vs. Angels
Mike Ianniello: The Mariners have won five straight games and are 7-3 in their last 10 while the Angels have lost six in a row and seemingly just called it a season.
Los Angeles ranks dead last in wOBA and 29th in wRC+ over the last month. Mike Trout is done for the year and Shohei Ohtani is batting .190 over the last 30 days.
Rookie Logan Gilbert has settled in for Seattle and the former first round pick has 2.01 ERA in his last four starts. He is 2-0 at Angel Stadium already this year.
The Mariners other big rookie Jarred Kelenic has come to life, with five home runs in the last two weeks. Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger have both been mashing the ball all season, clubbing 35 home runs apiece.
Seattle has been the most clutch team in the league all year, ranking first in wOBA and a wRC+ in High Leverage situations by a pretty wide margin.
Now the Mariners are just two games out of a wild card position and with the Yankees and Red Sox playing each other this weekend, every game will basically be a high leverage situation down the stretch. That is when the Mariners have played their best.
Astros vs. Athletics
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Author’s Note: With Zack Greinke scratched and placed on the IL, this betting pick is mostly unchanged, but I would continue to bet the Athletics down to -130.
Collin Whitchurch: This is a strict “fade the public” play because as of this writing, 74% of the bets have come in on the Astros, but 92% of the money is on the Athletics.
The average bettor is going to look at this line and say “The Astros as underdogs?! Easy money,” but not so fast, my friend.
Zack Greinke is not the Cy Young contender he once was. He’s still a reliable, mid-rotation innings eater, but he hardly misses any bats, with a 9.1 percent swinging strike rate that’s his lowest since 2012, and his HR/FB rate is 17 percent, the highest of his entire career.
Oakland is not a prolific home run hitting team by any measure, but it does have the edge on the mound tonight with Frankie Montas, who rebounded from a rough start to the season to become arguably the team’s best starter.
He knows Houston well and has the Astros’ number. In three starts, he has a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts against just four walks. Since the All-Star break, batters overall are hitting just .210/.279/.317 against him. To put that into proper context, the worst qualified hitter in 2021 by OPS is the Pirates’ Kevin Newman at .569. Montas is allowing a .596 OPS in the second half.
The Athletics are reeling after being swept by the Mariners, and their playoff hopes are dim. But they have a really good shot at getting back in the win column on Friday night. Fade the public, side with the favored Athletics, and do so to -120.