MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Sunday, Including Athletics vs. Yankees, White Sox vs. Astros (June 20)
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Correa.
Matinee baseball rules the day, as it does most Sundays, with 15 games throwing first pitch between 1:05 p.m. ET and 4:10 p.m. ET. The day concludes with the backend of the Cardinals vs. Braves doubleheader at 7:08 p.m. ET.
Our staff has narrowed down the action to just two games with their favorite bets, including Athletics vs. Yankees; and White Sox vs. Astros.
MLB Odds & Picks
Athletics vs. Yankees
Kenny Ducey: It is with a heavy heart that I once again inform you it is time to fade the New York Yankees. Yes, they are fresh off a thrilling win on Saturday — their first win in a home, weekend series since May 23 — but this matchup is very problematic. I see no reason why New York should be -145 here.
Let’s start with the obvious: The A’s are great against left-handed pitching. Their 113 wRC+ within the split ranks fifth in baseball, and it’s no surprise considering how Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano hit southpaws.
While they’re great against lefties, they’ve simply been great in general over the past two weeks with a .759 OPS, and now they will face a very average lefty in Jordan Montgomery. Montgomery lacks the swing-and-miss stuff to make an impact against an A’s team that can really only be conquered with punchouts.
As long as Oakland is putting the ball in play, good things are generally happening for this team. As for the Yankees, you’d think they’d be pretty good against left-handed pitching with all the right-handed power they have, but they’re 16th in baseball judging by wRC+, which follows a trend set over the past couple of seasons.
The fact that Sean Manaea has been stellar of late, allowing just three runs in his past 32 ⅓ innings isn’t exactly helping them here. The Yankees’ offense has still been in a rut, more or less, and the A’s should have the edge in the pitching matchup as well. Even on the road, I’d make this game close to a pick ‘em.
White Sox vs. Astros
Sean Zerillo: The Houston Astros have reasserted themselves as one of the top contenders in the American League this week, ripping off a six-game winning streak, including three victories over the Chicago White Sox.
Per expected ERA or xERA, there’s a substantial difference in the performance level of the two starting pitchers in the final matchup of this series, as Dallas Keuchel (5.83 xERA) has struggled. In contrast, Lance McCullers Jr. (3.58 xERA) has thrived.
These two teams hit lefties (124 wRC+ for Chicago, 123 for Houston) better than any other offense in baseball, but while the Astros also rake against righties (122 wRC+), the Sox are closer to league average (101 wRC+) against right-handers.
McCullers is a reverse-splits pitcher, meaning that he is typically more effective against lefties (career .273 wOBA) than righties (.320). However, I still think that the Astros favoritism is underrated as they look for a four-game sweep in this spot.
I projected Houston as a 65% favorite in the first five innings (F5) on Sunday and at 61.1% for the whole game. I prefer the value on their F5 moneyline, up to -165.