MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks, Expert Projections for Sunday, April 23
Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Gausman, Alex Verdugo and LaMonte Wade Jr.
Welcome to Opening Pitch, my column that you’ll find daily throughout the 2023 MLB season.
My goal for Opening Pitch is to highlight my top daily projection edges for MLB moneylines and totals, share my favorite bets and provide some betting notes and analysis, mainly as I react to opening and overnight lines while using my baseball betting model.
I will look to release a new version of Opening Pitch daily between midnight and 3 a.m. ET; after I enter my overnight bets in the Action Network App and update the MLB projections. Hopefully, you will use it as your morning betting guide to get ahead of the baseball markets.
You can find my projections for every MLB game in the Action App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub (which you can bookmark).
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Expert Picks for Sunday, April 23
Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Jose Urena vs. Zack Wheeler
First Pitch: 12:05 p.m. ET
The last thing I want to do after a bad day of betting is back one of my favorite pitchers to fade, Jose Urena, who has posted a 9.82 ERA and an 8.62 xERA in four starts this season. Urena’s ERA and expected metrics have been north of five since 2019; he’s a replacement-level pitcher who can eat innings for the worst teams in the league.
Conversely, Zack Wheeler has carried an xERA closer to 3 since the start of the 2021 season, making him two totalruns better than Urena in terms of a full-season ERA. Philadelphia’s bullpen is roughly a run better than Colorado‘s, and the Phillies have advantages offensive and defensively, too.
That said, while I project slight value on the Phillies’ moneyline (projected -280, listed -265) for the first five innings (F5), I see a more actionable edge on Colorado over the full game (projected +218, listed +255).
You can bet the Rockies down to +240 (29.4% implied) at a two-percent edge compared to my projection. If Colorado can keep things tight until the starting pitchers exit, they should have a shot to steal the game.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
Kevin Gausman vs. Clarke Schmidt
First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET
In his brief major league career, Schmidt has shown a drastic righty/lefty split, permitting a .277 wOBA against righties and a .409 mark against lefties. And while the Blue Jays have a potent lineup, none of their lefties aside from Daulton Varsho are a terrifying threat (though I think Brandon Belt will round into form).
Kevin Gausman has become one of baseball’s most reliable starters in the past few seasons after taking seven seasons to achieve his peak form. Offensively, the Yankees project better against lefties than righties.
Although the weather (temperatures in the 60s with 9-mph winds blowing out to the short porch at Yankee Stadium) might indicate that I would back an Over — or at least pass on the total — I projected the number at 8.14 and would bet Under 8.5 to -105.
The matchups and splits likely benefit the starting pitchers against these two offenses.
Miami Marlins vs. Cleveland Guardians
Jesus Luzardo vs. Logan Allen
First Pitch: 1:40 p.m. ET
The Guardians and Marlins played a doubleheader on Saturday. Still, neither bullpen was over-extended, and all relievers should be available for Sunday’s tilt after off days on Thursday and Friday.
I like the Under in a game with a pair of southpaw starters.
While the Guardians have improved against lefties compared to last season (84 wRC+, 27th), righties remain their superior split. Similarly, the Marlins were historically bad against lefties in 2022 (71 wRC+) and should remain better against righties this season too.
Cool temperatures (45 degrees at first pitch) and a 10-mph crosswind should also aid the pitching on both sides, and I would bet an Under 7.5 to -120 (projected 6.74).
Back Luzardo in the first half to -115.
Boston Red Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Brayan Bello vs. Corbin Burnes
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Since his dominant Cy Young campaign where he posted a 2.00 xERA and a 2.30 xFIP, Burnes has definitively dropped a level (3.08 xERA, 2.85 xFIP in 2022; 3.47, 4.34 in 2023).
He has struggled to get strikeouts or whiffs this year. Burnes is generating called strikes (18.1%) more than ever before (17.2% in 2021), but his whiff rate (10.2%) is down five percent from his career average, and batters are making contact with his pitches both inside and outside the zone about 10% more often than career norms too.
Strikeout rate tends to stabilize more quickly than other statistics, and it’s not as though Burnes has faced a murderer’s row of offenses (Cubs, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Mets). His walk rate (7.7%) is also trending in the wrong direction, and there are some red flags:
I’m also generally higher on Brayan Bello than the market too. Bello has incredible arm talent — and is being mentored by Pedro Martinez — but his command is highly inconsistent.
The more optimistic projections place Bello as a mid-rotation starter for the remainder of the 2023 season; he should have some dominant performances and some complete duds. I expect him to be a Jekyll or Hyde pitcher depending on his command from a game-to-game basis.
That said, I see value here on both Boston and the Under, knowing full well that Bello could implode both bets early.
I projected Boston around +145; you can bet their moneyline down to around +160. Additionally, I set the total at 7.9 and would bet Under 8.5 to -112.
New York Mets vs. San Francisco Giants
Tylor Megill vs. Ross Stripling
First Pitch: 7:08 p.m. ET
Both Sunday night starters have struggled mightily this season. Megill has posted a 5.17 xERA in four starts, managing a 3.00 ERA thanks to a 94% strand rate and a .254 BABIP — both highly unsustainable.
Megill has struggled with command (9 BB, 10 K in his last three outings), and seeing his velocity down compared to 2022, when he posted a 5.13 ERA and a 4.31 xERA, is an additional red flag.
Stripling has posted a 7.30 ERA and an 8.88 xERA in four outings (one start) for the Giants after posting a 3.57 xERA in 134 innings for Toronto last season. The Giants’ pitching modification lab hasn’t fully sunk its teeth into Stripling yet, but he is throwing his slider a little more, and I’m sure additional tweaks are coming.
While I view both pitchers as far superior arms to their results thus far this season, I am probably lower on both of them relative to the betting market (and their past performance).
Oracle Park should see some nice hitting weather on Sunday night — 63 degrees at first pitch with 13-mph winds out to center field. We have bet the Over in all three games in this series, and we’ll try to hit our third in four days.
I projected the totals for Sunday Night Baseball at 5.46 and 9.77; you can bet an F5 Over up to 5 (-120) and the full game Over up to 9.5 (+100).
You can also bet the Mets to -115 F5 and -111 full game.
Zerillo’s Bets for Sunday, April 23
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- Arizona Diamondbacks (+135, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +134)
- Boston Red Sox (+160, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +159)
- Boston Red Sox / Milwaukee Brewers, Under 8.5 (-110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -112)
- Chicago Cubs / Los Angeles Dodgers, Under 7 (+105, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +100 or 7.5, -118)
- Chicago White Sox (+152, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +148)
- Colorado Rockies (+255, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +240)
- Cleveland Guardians / Miami Marlins, Under 7.5 (-115, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -120)
- Houston Astros F5 (+110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +110)
- Houston Astros (+120, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +115)
- Miami Marlins F5 (-115, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -115)
- Minnesota Twins / Washington Nationals, F5 Over 4.5 (+100, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -105)
- New York Yankees / Toronto Blue Jays, Under 8.5 (+100, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -105)
- New York Mets F5 (-110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (Bet to -115)
- New York Mets (-105, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -111)
- New York Mets / San Francisco Giants, F5 Over 4.5 (-125, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to 5, -120)
- New York Mets / San Francisco Giants, Over 9 (+100, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to 9.5, +100)
- Texas Rangers F5 (-350, Flat Risk 1u) at Caesars (bet to -365)
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