MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 5 Picks, Featuring Mariners vs. Athletics & Reds vs. Cubs (Monday, May 23)
Jane Tyska/Digtal First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Logue (Athletics)
- Monday's MLB slate is loaded with betting opportunities, and we have five bets for four games to recommend.
- Cubs-Reds gets us started, but we also have Phillies-Braves, Blue Jays-Cardinals and Mariners-Athletics on tap.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of our picks, including analysis, from tonight in Major League Baseball.
Here are our five best bets from Monday's Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds
Doug Ziefel: The Cubs are due for a victory. Their offense, which has primarily been quiet, has heated up over the last few games as they've scored more than five runs in each of their last three games but only have one win to show for it.
They should be able to carry over that offensive momentum as they'll match up against Vladimir Gutierrez. Gutierrez will bring an 8.65 ERA in this start.
His command has got him in trouble start after start this season. He ranks in the bottom five percent of the league in walk rate, and when he's missed inside the zone, hitters have made him pay as Gutierrez also ranks in the bottom third of qualified pitchers in every expected stat.
On the other hand, Drew Smyly has silently been one of the more effective pitchers in baseball. He enters this start in the top four percent of the league in average exit velocity and is in the top 30 percent in hard-hit rate.
Smyly has also displayed excellent command of his arsenal as he is in the top 15 percent in walk and chase rate. That chase rate is key as the Reds are fifth in the majors in strikeout rate against lefties.
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies
DJ James: Zack Wheeler had a rough start to the 2022 season but has now only allowed runs in one of three starts in May. He is back to being a Cy Young contender. Tucker Davidson has only had two starts this season, but he allowed five in one of those against the Nationals.
The Braves have an 87 wRC++ mark in May against right-handed pitching. These numbers will not improve against Wheeler, who has encouraging peripherals. He owns a 3.01 xERA, 34.6% chase rate and does not allow much hard contact.
The Phillies have an above-average wRC+ at 113 in May against right-handers. The top of their order has been sharp. Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm all have maintained a .400+ xwOBA off righties. Four other available hitters in the order have been above the .340 mark on the season, as well.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Jules Posner: Jose Berrios gets the start for the Blue Jays and he's had a hard time on the road this season. Over 21 road innings, he's posted a 6.43 ERA with a 5.14 FIP and 4.78 xFIP. He'll be taking on an offense that's fourth in MLB in team wRC+ at home vs RHP in May.
The Cards will counter with Miles Mikolas, who has been dealing at home. Over 25 home innings Mikolas has registered a 1.81 ERA, but his 3.54 FIP and 3.91 xFIP might indicate he is due for some regression. However, the Blue Jays are 23rd in team wRC+ vs RHP on the road in May.
The Jays have great offensive talent, but they have struggled to live up to the hype so far this season. Additionally, the Cardinals' youth movement is gelling really well with their veterans at the moment and they are playing energized baseball right now.
Players like Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez have given the Cards a huge injection of energy and considering the Jays' struggles to hit in general — and especially with runners in scoring position — the Cardinals seem to have the edge here.
Although they opened at even odds, the market for the Cardinals has moved them into the favorites position. The Cards' ML is still the move and should be taken to the -125 threshold.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners
Sean Zerillo: Marco Gonzales has outperformed his expected metrics (3.08 ERA, 5.17 xERA, 4.81 xFIP, 4.99 SIERA) for a second consecutive season (3.96 ERA, 5.02 xERA, 5.16 xFIP, 4.94 SIERA in 2021).
The soft-tossing lefty has seen his K-BB% fall to a career-worst 4.7% mark (12.4% career). He's missing fewer bats than ever before (6.1% swinging strike rate; 140th out of 143 qualifying pitchers) while exhibiting spotty command — leading to a dramatic increase in his home run rate (1.82 HR/9 in 2021; 1.89 in 2022; 1.26 career) once he falls into hitters counts.
I'm low on the Mariners overall and extremely low on Gonzales, who has a four-year, $30M contract which runs through 2024. I never saw the upside in that deal, and Gonzales has seen a substantial performance dip in the interim.
In my eyes, Oakland starter Zach Logue (2.04 ERA, 4.28 xERA, 4.71 xFIP, 4.57 SIERA) is already a superior pitcher to Gonzales. He generates many popups, and I prefer to bet him at home with the massive foul ground territory at the Oakland Coliseum. Still, a popup is as good as a strikeout, and Logue also limits free passes.
Logue offers solid command with an effective slider/changeup pairing, and he seems to have a solid floor moving forward, even if his upside isn't high.
I projected the A's moneyline at 44.2% for the first five innings and 43.7% for the whole game on Monday. You can bet those lines down to +137 and +140, respectively, with either price target representing an edge of roughly two percent compared to my projection.
Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners
Anthony Dabbundo: The Mariners have lost six of seven games as injuries continue to test their depth on the back end of the lineup. Next up after a tough road trip to Toronto and Boston is an expected reprieve at home against the Athletics, but Seattle is once against overvalued in the market on Monday night.
Marco Gonzales has continued to put up solid surface level numbers this season with a 3.08 ERA and four consecutive quality outings of at least five innings and three or fewer runs allowed.
A look under the hood paints a very different picture of Gonzales, though. His xERA is still 5.34, even worst than last season. His FIP sits closer to six, his strikeout rate has dipped below 15% and Gonzales is still getting barreled at an above average clip.
He's a pitch-to-contact pitcher who isn't avoiding enough hard contact and regression is looming for him in a major way. Gonzales is opposed by Zach Logue, who has displayed plus command and avoided most hard contact through his young major league career. He fits the mold of the A's pitching staff that prioritizes command and missing bats over elite stuff.