MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Top 5 Picks, Including Astros vs. Red Sox, Dodgers vs. Cardinals & Diamondbacks vs. Mets (Monday, May 31)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob deGrom
- There are plenty of games on the MLB slate for Monday, from the afternoon through the evening.
- Our analysts have five bets to recommend, including Dodgers-Cardinals and Mets-Diamondbacks.
- Continue reading for our staff's five best bets from Monday's MLB slate.
With so many games to choose from, our analysts have found five angles on five different games, ranging from the early start between the Rays and Yankees, through the Dodgers-Cardinals matchup in Los Angeles and Jacob deGrom taking on the Snakes in Phoenix.
Here are our staff’s five best bets from Monday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees
DJ James: The New York Yankees offense still has not completely put it together. After sweeping the Chicago White Sox last week, they now have to overcome losing three straight in a sweep from the Detroit Tigers. They look to get positioned for victory against the seasoned veteran, Rich Hill. He faces Jameson Taillon, who has comparable peripherals.
The Yankees are about a league-average offensive team, but they have the weapons to combat a lefty, especially a soft-tosser like Hill. Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, DJ LeMahieu, Gleybar Torres and Tyler Wade are all far above-average against southpaws, and this is the angle here.
The Yankees’ one consistent strong spot is their bullpen, which is slightly better than the Tampa Bay Rays (2.88 ERA and 3.65 xFIP vs. 3.52 ERA and 4.02 xFIP). Taillon has not necessarily gone deep into games, so the Bronx Bombers need him to go at least five facing a strong Tampa strong lineup. Take the Yankees at -116 to bounce back in this one. Play it to -125.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners
Kenny Ducey: The prospect of backing an Oakland lineup that has scored just five runs over the past three games isn’t my favorite, but James Kaprielian has been that good. A former first-round pick of the Yankees acquired in the Sonny Gray trade, the right-hander has been a revelation in 2021 for an A’s team looking for some stability in its rotation. He’s allowed just three runs in three starts, including seven shutout innings against the Mariners in his last outing.
Kaprielian’s .188 expected batting average highlights how expertly he’s pitched, sporting above-average strikeout and walk rates to go along with his innate ability to induce contact to get outs. Seattle has the third-worst wRC+ over the last three weeks as it continues on its backslide, and even playing at home shouldn’t save this team here.
Logan Gilbert’s welcome to the big leagues hasn’t been ideal after some solid minor-league seasons, thanks in part to a low strikeout rate and a high average exit velocity. He’s failed to locate his fastball, leaving it over the plate to get ripped to the tune of a .444 xBA. Oakland is producing an impressive 0.57 weighted runs per 100 fastball this year and should be well up to the task of handling the young righty. I like this value.
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
Matt Trebby: This is a pretty straightforward fade of a left-hander against the Astros.
Houston enters Monday with the second-highest OPS in MLB this season against southpaws, and Eduardo Rodriguez doesn’t necessarily come into this one in good form. Rodriguez has a 7.80 ERA over his last three starts, spanning 15 innings, and opposing hitters have a .963 OPS against him in that span.
On the other side, José Urquidy is returning from the injured list, hopefully giving the Astros a stable spot in the rotation with Lance McCullers Jr. landing on the IL last week. The right-hander faces a tough task in his return, but his 3.22 ERA suggests he’s more than capable. His xFIP is 4.64, but a lot of that comes down to Urquidy not being a strikeout pitcher. He forces a lot of contact, which lends him less impressive advanced metrics.
Offensively, Boston is among the cream of the crop in the majors, but Houston is not far behind. Take the Astros on Memorial Day as long as you can get better than a pick’em.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Jeff Hicks: Trevor Bauer has a 0.90 ERA at home this season and gets to face a perfectly average Cardinals offense. St. Louis does nothing special on offense away from home against right-handed pitching (90 wRC+). This is fairly common in baseball this season with just eight teams posting a wRC+ of 100 or better on the road against righties. Bauer is also a threat to pitch deep into games and still be effective. He has a .197/.279/.475 slash line against when facing opponents lineups a third time in a game. The slugging is troublesome, but Bauer is getting outs when he is missing bats.
Jack Flaherty’s biggest concern in road starts this season has been walks. He has allowed 14 in 32 innings and allows a majority of them the second time through lineups. If he bucks that trend, the Cardinals have a chance to keep this game close. The Dodgers are one of the best home teams in the league but have to contend with a pitcher who at his worst allows a .254 average to left-handed hitters on the road. Flaherty has allowed five fewer home runs than Bauer in 2021 and only one more on the road than Bauer has in home starts.
Betting on ace pitchers looking to establish dominance is something I like to do, especially at plus money. PointsBet is offering under seven runs at +100. I would love to see this reach 7.5 runs and have zero issue betting 7-7.5 runs through -120.
New York Mets vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Brad Cunningham: Jacob DeGrom is going to be on the mound which means there isn’t going to be a lot of runs. The Mets ace has a 1.56 xFIP and has an incredibly high 14.80 K/9 rate this season. He’ll be facing a D’backs lineup that has been struggling versus right-handed pitching with a .302 wOBA and 89 wRC+, which are both in the bottom half of MLB.
Merrill Kelly has actually been halfway decent this season, posting a 3.87 xFIP, and he’ll be facing a Mets lineup that’s going through an injury crisis as only two guys from their Opening Day lineup are will be in Monday’s lineup. New York also has negative weighted runs against every single pitch type and is in the bottom five of baseball in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching.