Tuesday MLB Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Reds vs. Pirates, Phillies vs. Nationals, Mariners vs. Dodgers (May 11)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Gavin Lux sits on the dirt.
- Reds-Pirates, Nationals-Phillies, Mariners-Dodgers. There's plenty of betting options from Tuesday's MLB slate.
- Our staff outlines its best bets from the schedule below.
It’s another busy day in Major League Baseball, with all 15 teams in action, including a number of key divisional series getting underway, such as White Sox-Twins, Cardinals-Brewers, Phillies-Nationals and Yankees-Rays.
Our analysts have eyes on three games, with four bets in total, including a pair of divisional matchups. In Pittsburgh, two of our analysts are on opposite sides of the Reds-Pirates tilt, and we have a total pick on Phillies-Nationals and a plethora of options on Mariners-Dodgers.
MLB Odds & Picks
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Collin Whitchurch: This is less a pick for the Reds or Jeff Hoffman and more a pick against the Pirates, who are worth betting against on any of the rare occasions where they find themselves as the favorites.
Pittsburgh has somehow been favored five times already this season, and they’re 1-4 outright in those games. Going back to the start of the 2020 season, they’ve been favored 16 times and are 5-11 in those games. If you bet $100 against the Pirates each time they were favored since the start of last season, you’d be up $687. The sample is small, but again, we’re talking about the Pirates as favorites. It’s not going to happen very often.
There’s some risk here, sure. J.T. Brubaker might actually be good, for one, and the Pirates hold a significant edge with him going against the entirely mediocre Jeff Hoffman. Brubaker has faced the Reds once this season and escaped with just one earned run allowed in four innings despite four walks.
I think the Cincinnati offense has better luck this time around and Hoffman performs at least tolerably well enough to keep his team in the game. Don’t overthink it, bet against Pittsburgh as favorites. I like the Reds at any number with a plus in front of it.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Kenny Ducey: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but JT Brubaker is good. The 2015 sixth-round pick has posted two solid seasons so far to begin his career, displaying above-average strikeout and walk numbers, and flashing a devastating slider that’s generated over a 36% whiff rate for a second straight season.
At the very worst, Brubaker is average, and that is more than you can say about his opponent in this matchup, Jeff Hoffman. The righty escaped Coors Field just to treat every start like he’s pitching there. His expected ERA is a whopping 6.26, which is almost two full runs higher than his real-life 4.29 ERA (which is still bad!) He’s walking 11.2% of the hitters he’s facing, and almost one of every two balls put back in play comes off the bat at least 95 mph. He’s pitched to contact in the early going, and that contact has not been soft.
The Pirates have proven capable of breaking out a bit at the plate in the right matchup, taking Kyle Hendricks to town this weekend in a game with strong winds blowing in, and this should be another one of those games where they can capitalize against a poor pitcher. I love them here as short home favorites.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
Brad Cunningham: Chase Anderson really struggled in 2020 with the Blue Jays, posting a 7.02 ERA, but he was a tad unlucky as his xFIP was all the way down at 4.09. However, he hasn’t gotten much better since he arrived in Philadelphia, posting a 6.10 xERA and 5.42 xFIP through his first six starts.
Anderson mainly uses a fastball/changeup/cutter combination and he’s really been struggling with his fastball, as opponents have tagged it for .381 wOBA this season. Fastballs are the only pitch the Nationals’ lineup has had success against this season, so the should have a good matchup against Anderson, especially with Juan Soto back in the lineup.
Erick Fedde has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball over the past few seasons. So far this season, he’s been a little bit better, posting a 4.32 xERA, but he’s still having issues with his control. Fedde has a very high 4.20 BB/9 rate, which is something that has plagued him throughout his career.
Fedde is mainly a sinkerball pitcher, throwing it more than 44% of the time, but he’s struggling mightily with it, allowing a .456 wOBA to opposing hitters this season. That is going to be a major problem against this Phillies lineup, because five guys have a wOBA over .350 against sinkers.
Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tanner McGrath: Today is a momentous day, for two reasons.
First, it’s Dodgers-against-lefties day. If you’re going to fade the Dodgers, it has to be against a southpaw. While the Dodgers boast an offense that ranks among the top five teams in OPS, wOBA and wRC+, the Dodgers are relatively pathetic against lefties.
The Dodgers have posted a .652 OPS, 287 wOBA and 85 wRC+ against that side this season, all stats that rank among the bottom eight MLB teams. Additionally, the Dodgers walk less often against lefties while striking out more.
Secondly, it’s Yusei Kikuchi day. The left-handed Kikuchi has been inconsistent this season and has elicited mixed emotions from baseball bettors. But personally, I love him.
Kikuchi has a fastball that reaches the upper 90s, a softball slider that induces soft contact (87.1 mph average exit velocity this season) and a very cool leg kick. However, Kikuchi’s cutter should win him this game, as it’s his most-used pitch and the Dodgers rank 28th in weighted cutter runs created (-5.6).
Kikuchi has had some rough outings, but he’s pitched seven innings in each of his last two starts and even shut out the Astros on the road in one of them. Given that the Dodgers’ lineup struggles with lefties and the cutter, I think he’s due for a good start today. Plus, Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Max Muncy are a combined 0-for-9 lifetime against Kikuchi. A small sample size, but perhaps a predictive one.
Walker Buehler has been good this season, and there’s questions in both bullpens, but the value clearly lies with Seattle and its lefty starter. I actually have three plays I’d like to recommend, based on your level of risk aversion:
- Higher risk: Seattle ML at +215 at William Hill. Would bet this to +200.
- Medium risk: No Runs First Inning at -125 at PointsBet. Would bet this to -130.
- Lower risk: Seattle F5 +0.5 at +135 at PointsBet. At a minimum, Kikuchi and the Mariners’ lineup should keep this one close through five. Would bet this to +125.