Saturday MLB Odds & Picks: 5 Best Bets Including Yankees vs. Indians, Rangers vs. White Sox & Phillies vs. Rockies (April 24)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper
- Saturday is another busy day on the baseball diamond and there is no shortage of MLB aces taking the mound.
- Today features the likes of Shane Beiber, Trevor Bauer, Aaron Nola, Gerrit Cole and Blake Snell all taking the hill.
- See which games are staff are targeting for today, below.
It’s a busy Saturday in Major League Baseball, with a full slate of games throughout the day and some prime pitching matchups, including Gerrit Cole vs. Shane Bieber in Cleveland. Another ace, Aaron Nola, takes the mound in Denver against the Rockies.
Our staff of analysts have found betting angles on four different games with five total picks. Below, you will find our best bets from Saturday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians
Kenny Ducey: The Yankees can’t win again, right? This team hasn’t shown too much improvement from where it was two games ago, and got pretty mediocre outings out of its starters. Yet here New York is in the driver’s seat, looking for a third straight against Cleveland, and I think it can get it done against the reigning Cy Young Award winner.
For starters, Gerrit Cole should deliver a much better outing than Domingo Germán or Jordan Montgomery were able to, which should take some pressure off the offense. Cole’s .198 xwOBA and .164 xBA have been absolutely elite, and he’s struck out more than 41% of the hitters he’s faced. That should be more than enough to quiet an Indians side that has beaten up on lefties this year but is just 26th in wRC+ against right-handers.
On the other hand, Shane Bieber has seen the slightest drop-off in production so far this year, and while he’s fine — and will be fine — the Yankees aren’t the team he wants to see on the other end. In his career, he has an 8.31 ERA against New York in two regular season starts.
I’m not quite sure the Yankees will beat up on him here, but I’m encouraged by their first three-homer game of the year Friday night. If these home run hitters begin to hit home runs again, the season will turn quite quickly. I think this is a very nice price to pay on the guy who’s been the better pitcher this year, against the inferior lineup.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Collin Whitchurch: This is simple belief that a trio of talented arms can turn over a pair of struggling lineups twice.
The Blue Jays are starting Robbie Ray. Perhaps more than any other pitcher in baseball over the last handful of years, Rays had been the most maddeningly inconsistent to bet on or against — not to mention to roster in fantasy baseball. In any given start, Ray can strike out 13 over seven shutout innings or walk six and give up eight earned runs in three innings.
Toronto has been wise to limit Ray this season, not allowing to let him go more than twice through either of the lineups he’s faced. In two starts, he’s yet to eclipse 100 pitches or throw into the sixth inning. His strikeouts are down and his walks are still sky-high, but he’s danced out of trouble against the Yankees and Royals to somehow allow only two earned runs. Not surprisingly, his DRA is an obscene 6.32, as you might expect for someone with a 9:6 BB/K ratio. Regression is coming for Ray, it’s just not coming on Saturday.
Tampa is going with the opener in feel-good story Brent Honeywell Jr., followed by established “bulk guy” Ryan Yarbrough. Honeywell, who hadn’t pitched since 2017 prior to this year, went two scoreless innings in his first opener opportunity. The Jays’ lineup is talented and untapped thus far this year, but having not seen Honeywell before, he should do well while presumably not seeing any hitter more than once. Yarbrough is hardly infallible, but has a more proven track record of success as a bulk guy than as a straight starter.
All of this adds up to a game that should be low-scoring, at least to start. I don’t trust either bullpen entirely, so instead of playing the full-game total, we’ll take a stab at the first five innings under, which you can get at +115 at BetMGM. Bet it to +110.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Sean Zerillo: There was a lot of overnight movement from Friday to Saturday, so I’m not showing too much value left on today’s board, but the under in Tampa Bay still looks like a solid play for this evening.
The pitching matchup isn’t necessarily inspiring. Robbie Ray (5.90 FIP, 9 BB, 6 K through two starts) is still searching for his command after a tumultuous 2020 campaign, and while I’m high on Brent Honeywell Jr.’s skillset, he only has two major league appearances — and a long history of injuries.
It’s relatively difficult for two teams to score nine or more runs in a dome. Since 2010, when the total is listed at 8.5 or higher at any domed stadium, the Under has cashed 53.9% (844-721-58) of the time, good for a profit of $7,364 for a consistent $100 bettor. At Tropicana Field, those Unders hit 58.5% of the time (137-97-7, +$2,966, 12.4% ROI).
But I’m not blindly following a trend, either.
I projected this total closer to 7.5 (I made Friday’s total closer to 6.5, with the game lined at 7) and I’m happy to bet the under 8.5 (to -120) or under 8 (to +100) at more than a four percent edge on either bet.
Texas Rangers vs. Chicago White Sox
Jeff Hicks: Dallas Keuchel has had a poor start to 2021. He has three starts in which his xFIP is lower than his ERA and followed his poor game against Cleveland by shutting down the Boston Red Sox in Boston.
The +110 line has a lot to do with Keuchel logging a maximum of five innings three times in four starts. The Rangers got to Dylan Cease Friday night and chased him in the fourth inning. He still recorded five strikeouts and the Rangers still do that more than any team in baseball.
The Rangers are hoping Kyle Gibson can keep his early season magic going against the second-ranked offense according to Offensive WAR. Gibson has faced one team with a positive Offensive WAR: Toronto. That was also when I could count on one hand the number of Blue Jays with a positive Offensive WAR.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
Brad Cunningham: This is a fantastic matchup for the Phillies against a very weak right-hander in Antonio Senzatela. Senzatela is a “fill up the zone” type of pitcher who doesn’t strike out too many guys, throws his fastball way too often, and allows a lot of hard contact.
In 2020, he finished the season with an xFIP of 4.81 and a hard contact rate over 35%. His fastball got absolutely shelled last season to the tune of a .313 batting average and a .364 wOBA. What’s even worse is he throws it more than 55% of time. That’s not going to bode well against a Phillies lineup that feasts on fastballs.
Last season, the Phillies were the seventh best team in MLB against fastballs, while also crushing right-handed pitching with a .331 wOBA and 106 wRC+. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they are playing in Coors.