MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Best Bets For Royals vs. White Sox, Athletics vs. Giants, 2 More Games (April 26)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Rodon #16 of the San Francisco Giants.
- There's plenty of betting value to be found on tonight's loaded MLB slate.
- There are aces on the mound, underdogs to be found, and what's with this unders trend, anyway?
- Continue reading for all of our best bets and picks from tonight in Major League Baseball.
Another Tuesday in Major League Baseball means another 15-game slate. There’s no afternoon baseball for seemingly the first time all season, but instead all 30 teams will take the field under the lights starting with Brewers-Pirates at 6:35 p.m. ET.
We have a pick on that game, and four others, too. This includes a pair of picks on Marlins-Nationals, as well as two totals in later games.
Here are our best bets from Tuesday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|9:45 p.m. ET|
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Sean Zerillo: Mitch Keller seemed like an excellent post-hype breakout candidate coming into the 2022 season after changing his mechanics and adding velocity while working in the pitching lab at Tread Athletics.
The former second-round pick and No. 12 overall prospect (in 2018), per Baseball America, has always had arm talent. Increasing his fastball/changeup velocity (both +2.5 mph relative to last season) raises his floor substantially.
Keller now throws the second-fastest changeup in baseball behind Miguel Castro (92.6 mph) and ahead of Sandy Alcantara (91.9). Moreover, he added a sweeper to his arsenal, though there appear to be some pitch classification issues in publicly available data.
Updated projections have already dropped Keller’s FIP projection from high 4s (in the preseason) to 4.14 to 4.49 after a few starts. And his expected indicators (2.81 xERA, 3.13 xFIP) point to his significant upside, especially with his improved curveball and changeup bumping his groundball rate near 54% in the early going (career 41.4%).
Additionally, the Pirates have a few live arms in their bullpen, including co-closers David Bednar (2.53 xERA last season; 2.37 through eight innings in 2022) and Chris Stratton (1.09 xERA), and fireman Wil Crowe (1.67 xERA).
With Keller and a rested bullpen, the Pirates can go pitch for pitch with Brandon Woodruff (3.34 Model Weighted ERA) and the Brewers bullpen for a night.
In the first five innings, I projected the Pirates at +144 and would need a number closer to +155 to bet them in the first half.
You can bet their full game moneyline (projected +134, or 42.7% implied) down to +145 (40.8% implied), at roughly a 2% edge compared to my projection.
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
DJ James: Sandy Alcantara could very well be the National League Cy Young winner at the end of the season, regardless of the success of the Miami Marlins. He will face off with Josiah Gray and a pretty weak Washington Nationals team on Tuesday.
Alcantara has been dazzling this season with a 2.30 xERA and his blistering 97 mph four-seamer. He typically mixes in a slider, sinker and changeup at a similar rate (20-24%). Against righties this season, Washington has five hitters with a .335+ xwOBA.
On changeups and sliders, though, only Juan Soto and Josh Bell have any success this season. This is where the offense will come from, if at all. Since there is such a significant difference between the top of the lineup and the bottom, if Alcantara is careful with these two, he should be in great shape.
Gray, on the other hand, does not have encouraging peripherals. He is allowing an average exit velocity of 90.9 mph and a hard hit percentage of 50%. The Marlins are not a loaded team, but they do have more consistent bats. Six of their hitters are hitting above a .345 xwOBA when facing right-handers this season.
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Tanner McGrath: Dare I say the Marlins haven’t looked bad in the early going?
My Fish have paired a competent offense (111 wRC+) with a competent bullpen (3.40 xFIP), and both units rank top-10 in the first 15 games. Put it all together, and Miami is second in the NL East at 7-8 with a +1-run differential.
And the schedule has not been easy. Miami has already battled the Giants, Angels, Cardinals and Braves.
Washington is humming along at 6-12 with a 28th-ranked offense (via a 78 wRC+) and a 28th-ranked bullpen (via 4.10 reliever xFIP). Outside of Juan Soto, this team doesn’t have much going.
I’m high on Josiah Gray, and he’s held his own through three starts. But he’s no Sandy Alcantara.
The Marlins’ biggest strength is their abundance of young, team-controlled starting pitchers. Sandy is the best of that bunch.
And after putting together two average starts, Alcantara finally spun his gem. He went eight scoreless against the red-hot Cardinals with six strikeouts and one walk. He forced a groundball rate over 57% and stranded every runner.
Alcantara’s ability to mix-and-match his 97-mph fastball with his confounding changeup keeps hitters off-guard. Among those six strikeouts, three came on the change, two on the four-seam and one on a sinker.
If Alcantara shoves again — and I’m thinking he will — this is a complete and utter mismatch. I bet the Marlins win this game well over 60% of the time, and I’m willing to bet the Marlins ML up to -145 as a result.
Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox
Sean Zerillo: Before I saw the listed total, I blindly assumed that I’d be on the overs in this matchup.
My model is about as low as you can be on both Dallas Keuchel (6.15 xERA in 2021) and Daniel Lynch (6.35), who have both reverted toward projections this year (4.46 xERA for Keuchel, 4.35 for Lynch).
Additionally, the White Sox have underperformed to a more severe degree than any other offense (.349 xwOBA,278 actual wOBA), ranking as a top-six club in expected production but a bottom-five team in actual production.
Both teams hit better against lefties than they do against righties.
Since the start of last season, the White Sox have posted a 104 wRC+ against righties (7th), compared to a 115 wRC+ against southpaw pitching (2nd). Likewise, the Royals rank 25th against righties (85 wRC+) but 20th against lefties (97 wRC+).
And given their current rosters, I project the Royals as 10% better and the White Sox more than 30% better against lefties (projected 106 wRC+ and 139 wRC+, respectively) as compared to righties (96 wRC+ and 103 wRC+, respectively).
Lynch is a tall young southpaw with projectable upside. Still, he’s a two-pitch guy (fastball/slider) who has struggled against right-handed hitters (.386 wOBA; compared to .185 vs. lefties). And the White Sox can feed him nine right-handed or switch-hitting bats.
Keuchel doesn’t have an individual indicator that has forced his level to drop, but his skills have deteriorated over time. After winning the AL Cy Young in 2015 (2.7 xERa, 2.75 xFIP), Keuchel’s indicators fell toward 3.5 in the two subsequent seasons and have held north of 4 (and typically higher than 4.5) in the past four seasons.
I would consider a bet on the Royals at +141 (41.5% implied) or better, at a 2% edge compared to my projection.
Still, I prefer the over 8.5 and the F5 over 4.5 in this matchup. I would bet those totals up to 8.5 (-122), or 9 (-103) for the full game, and up to 4.5 (-125) or 5 (-105) for the first five innings).
Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants
|9:45 p.m. ET|
Jules Posner: The under for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants is low for a reason. Two exceptional starting pitchers who are on a roll are squaring off and this game is going to be, as the kids say, “lit.”
Daulton Jeffries has had a long path to the majors as he’s dealt with arm troubles throughout all of his professional career, but the 26-year-old right-hander has arrived. Jeffries brings a 1.17 ERA into Tuesday night’s matchup, but his 3.72 FIP means there is room for regression.
However, Jeffries is not a strikeout artist. Instead he relies on three fastball variations, a changeup, and an occasional curveball to keep hitters off balance. It’s been working for him so far this season.
Carlos Rodon has been a monster for the San Francisco Giants so far this season. He is essentially the opposite of Jeffries as he seemingly has been striking out everyone.
Rodon heads into Tuesday night’s matchup with a 1.06 ERA, a 0.89 FIP, and he also boasts an over 15 K/9. Additionally, following his one home start, Rodon has has a -0.53 FIP. I did not know that was possible.
The A’s offense has slowed down some since returning to the Bay Area and they also have the fifth-highest K% as a team.
The Giants still have one of the better offenses in baseball, but their numbers are slightly inflated coming off their sweep of the Washington Nationals.
Additionally, the Giants haven’t played a home game since April 13th, so they are still dealing with a small sample in terms of their home offense. This means there is still going to be some volatility with the data.
Jeffries is one start short of qualifying, but his 45.7 GB% would be good for top 20 in the league, which could help neutralize a Giant offense that has the sixth lowest GB% in the league.
This looks like it’s going to be a real pitchers’ duel at Oracle Park, where we’ll see a classic power pitcher square off with a finesse arm. 6.5 is low, but the sharp action is also on the under, and I am too. It should be taken as long as it’s at 6.5.