Friday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Five Ways To Bet On Three Friday Games (April 9)

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Pavin Smith

  • Two different angles for Padres-Rangers. Two analysts on the Athletics at plus-money. Two on opposite sides of Reds-Diamondbacks.
  • Our MLB betting crew break down how they're betting Friday night's baseball slate, featuring moneylines and first five inning bets.

Five picks. Three games.

Our crew of MLB betting analysts outlined their best bets for Friday’s slate, featuring angles for Padres-Rangers, Athletics-Astros and Reds-Diamondbacks.

MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Padres at Rangers
8:05 p.m. ET
Athletics at Astros
8:10 p.m. ET
Reds at Diamondbacks
9:40 p.m. ET

Padres at Rangers

Pick
Rangers +165
Book
Fox Bet
Pitchers
Joe Musgrove vs. Kohei Arihara
First Pitch
8:05 p.m. ET

Kevin Davis: San Diego is one of the best teams in the league, while Texas is one of the worst. However, Texas should win about 70 games this season while San Diego should lose about 65-70 games.

With a 162-game season, there is a good deal of variance, and the Rangers have a plausible path to victory on Friday against the Padres, which is why I like Texas as a +165 moneyline underdog.

The biggest vulnerability that the Padres have is the long-term shoulder injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. My colleague Sean Zerillo wrote an article outlining how hurt the Friars will be by Tatis’ absence. Last season Tatis had a wRC+ of 149, meaning that he produced 49% more runs than the average position player. His replacement, Ha-Seong Kim, is an average offensive player at best and a below-average player at worst.

Additionally, with Friday being an interleague game, San Diego will have to rely on another DH than Kim.

The Rangers have a plausible chance of winning games against the Padres this weekend with San Diego’s lineup shorthanded. At +165 odds, Texas is worth a shot. I would take the Rangers down to +155.



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Padres at Rangers (2.0)

Pick
Padres to Lead After 5 Innings (-125)

Jeff Hicks: Joe Musgrove is a strikeout pitcher facing a Rangers lineup that is 10th-worst in strikeout percentage and is top five in Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) — Texas is not that good of an offense and faces a legitimate one.

Rangers starter Kohei Arihara did not impress in his MLB debut and does not project to strike out batters. The Padres could chase Arihara early and have a reasonable run line betting odds.


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Athletics at Astros

Pick
Athletics +148
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Sean Manaea vs. Lance McCullers Jr.
First Pitch
8:10 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: The Astros have sure beat up on the A’s to start the season, winning four straight after Thursday night’s 6-2 victory. However, the streak should end for Oakland on Friday with Sean Manaea on the mound.

Sure, Manaea got shelled by the Astros five days ago, but the lefty was really good in 2020. He posted a 3.77 xFIP, along with an incredibly low 1.33 BB/9 rate. However, his biggest improvement was increasing his ground ball rate by almost 10% from 2019, as he’s now all the way up to 50.3%, which is huge since his main two pitches are a sinker and changeup.

Houston actually really struggled against left-handed pitching last season — the Astros hit for a .232 average, .304 wOBA and 95 wRC+ — so it was sort of surprising to see them shell Manaea this past Sunday. In addition, the Astros were 21st against fastballs and 25th against changeups in 2020, which are Manaea’s main two pitches.

Lance McCullers’ numbers were also really good in 2020, posting a 3.68 xFIP, 1.16 WHIP and a 59.7% ground ball rate. He mainly uses a sinker/curveball combination, but both pitches combined yielded a wOBA over .320 last season. The A’s ranked in the top half of MLB against both of the those pitches and did most of their damage against righties, accumulating a 105 wRC+ in 2020.

I have the Astros projected as only -129 favorites, as I believe the starting pitching matchup is fairly even in this game, so I’ll take the A’s at +148.

Kenny Ducey: I was on the Astros last night, and don’t want to come across as someone who doesn’t respect just how good they’ve been in the early going. With that said, the A’s don’t necessarily deserve to be a one-win team, and their luck should begin to turn on Friday against McCullers.

Oakland currently sits ninth in contact rate through eight games and 11th in barrels per plate appearance, yet those haven’t yet translated to runs and wins. McCullers was able to stymie the A’s bats in his first outing of the season, but in that game he allowed seven of the 10 balls put in play by Oakland against him to travel 95 mph or more off the bat, averaging 96 mph on his contact.

Contact was certainly an issue for the A’s in that game, but they have proven against much tougher pitchers who they will put the ball in play. As long as they can do that, I like their chances — particularly against McCullers, who had a 4.61 xERA last season.

On the other side, we saw Thursday night against a lefty in Cole Irvin that the Astros don’t love facing lefties, and a 95 wRC+ last season in the split would back that up. Those bats cooled off just a bit against the southpaw, and now with a much better lefty on the mound in Manaea (who has historically owned Houston), the Astros might finally struggle to score runs.

The combination leads me to believe this line is simply off, even if the game is in Houston. I would make the A’s much shorter underdogs.


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Reds at Diamondbacks

Pick
Diamondbacks +133
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Tyler Mahle vs. Taylor Widener
First Pitch
9:40 p.m. ET

Sean Zerillo: Taylor Widener turned in a solid effort against the Padres in his first major league start on Sunday. He consistently located his fastball (average 92.8 mph, 72% usage) at the belt of opposing hitters and generated a fair number of called strikes and whiffs before lowering their eye level with his slider and changeup, which helped generate additional whiffs and weak contact.

The righty has enough arm talent and command to hold a spot at the back end of a starting rotation, and I’m willing to keep backing him at the right price. When all three of Widener’s offerings are working, he’s going to be a relatively effective pitcher — but I wouldn’t project him for anything better than a 4.50 FIP moving forward.

I projected the Diamondbacks to win their homer opener 51.9% of the time on Friday, and I set their chances at a coin-flip (50%) for the first five innings. I would play those lines to +105 and +113 respectively, with either wager representing more than a 3% edge compared to my projection.


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Reds at Diamondbacks (2.0)

Pick
Reds -125
Book
FanDuel

Matt Trebby: I’m not ready to ask whether the 2021 Reds lineup is better than the 1927 Yankees, but it’s clearly entered my mind.

Cincinnati isn’t there yet, but the Reds have come out of the gates raking in 2021. They lead MLB in OPS and runs scored and are second in home runs to only the Astros.

Arizona starter Taylor Widener threw six shutout innings in his 2021 debut and first big-league start, but I’ll take the Reds’ hot bats against an unproven arm like him. Tyler Mahle is nothing special for the Reds, but he pitched well last year and got off to a decent enough start this year. If his control is on, he’s a better bet than Widener.

The Reds are -125 at FanDuel, which is far too low against a team like Arizona, and given how well they’re hitting the ball.



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