MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions Today | Expert Projections for Wednesday, April 5

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions Today | Expert Projections for Wednesday, April 5 article feature image

Pictured: Grayson Rodriguez, Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease.

Welcome to Opening Pitch, my column 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.

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Expert Picks for Wednesday, April 5

Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds

Marcus Stroman vs. Hunter Greene
First Pitch: 12:35 p.m. ET

Over the past three seasons, Great American Ball Park ("GABP") has played nearly 20% higher than the league-average run-scoring environment — the only ballpark on par with Coors Field (roughly 30%) or Fenway Park (closer to 15%) in terms of the average offensive environment.

Given the wind and weather, I downgraded my typical park factor for GABP by six percent on Wednesday, yet I still see value on the Over, setting the total at 8.81. You can actively bet the Over up to 8 (-120) or 8.5 (-102).

Additionally, I'll consider betting the first five innings (F5) Over 4 up to -116 (projected 4.48), but I would prefer to bet the full game and get these sketchy NL Central bullpens involved.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Washington Nationals

Shane McClanahan vs. Patrick Corbin
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET

After struggling down the stretch of the 2022 season, McClanahan dissuaded all concerns with his first start against the Tigers (6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K) – who, as I mentioned on Tuesday, are a league-average offense against left-handed pitching.

McClanahan ranks firmly in my ace tier (2.9 Model Weighted ERA). Patrick Corbin is in replacement-level territory, with a model-weighted number north of five (6.41 expected ERA, or xERA in 2022 alone).

Offensively, the Rays also project better against lefties than righties, so I give Tampa Bay a significant advantage (projected 72.5%, or -264 favorites) for the first five innings.

You can bet the Rays' F5 moneyline up to -240 (70.6% implied), at roughly a two percent edge compared to my number — my typical cutoff price target for any side.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees

Aaron Nola vs. Gerrit Cole
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET

We played (and cashed) a wind-aided Under in the Bronx on Tuesday and will look to do it again on Wednesday with even better pitchers and worse conditions for hitters.

For Wednesday, with 9-10 mph wind blowing in from center field,  the park triggered one of our most profitable Action Labs systems (8.6% ROI since 2005):

To reiterate, I am not a system bettor; I adjust park factors for each game projection based on the weather conditions. Still, I set Wednesday's total at 6.4 and would bet Under 7 to -115.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Boston Red Sox

Mitch Keller vs. Corey Kluber
First Pitch: 1:35 p.m. ET

Despite an erratic Opening Day start — while blowing up our Unders — I'll continue to bang the drum for Mitch Keller, although I could see a start on the road at Fenway Park — against this offense — going south in a hurry.

We're betting on another weather-aided Under in Boston for the second consecutive day, with moderate temperatures and 10-13 mph gusts blowing in from right center.

On a weather-neutral day at Fenway, I would set this total closer to 9.5. Given the actual conditions, my weather adjustment knocked down the number by three-quarters of a run (projected 8.75).

Play Under 9 at any plus money price.

New York Mets vs. Milwaukee Brewers

David Peterson vs. Corbin Burnes
First Pitch: 2:05 p.m. ET

The Brewers are searching for a dominant sweep over one of the NL favorites after running up a combined 19-0 margin against the Mets on Monday and Tuesday.

Corbin Burnes will look to bounce back after a shaky Opening Day start against the Cubs (6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K). He projects as a clear top-five starter in my model — but the gap between the high-level ace projections like Burnes and more borderline aces like his teammate Brandon Woodruff — is close to a half of a run on an ERA projection.

And the gap between Burnes (2.6 Model Weighted ERA and a pitcher like David Peterson (4.02 Model Weighted ERA) — a No. 4 type starter — is much more substantial.

We are getting a slight discount on Burnes here after his Opening Day letdown.

Bet the Brewers to -146 (F5) and -136 (full game), at a similar edge compared to my projected lines (-160 and -148, respectively).

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Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers

Grayson Rodriguez vs. Jacob deGrom
First Pitch: 2:05 p.m. ET

The Orioles are my most considerable projected moneyline edge for Wednesday; and my favorite bet on the slate.

Coming off a brilliant spring, we backed Jacob deGrom in one of the crazier wins we will have all season — on the F5 moneyline against Aaron Nola on Opening Day. deGrom allowed five runs in fewer than four innings and left with a 5-0 deficit before the Rangers rallied for a nine-run fourth inning (and two more in the fifth) to cash our ticket.

And frankly, he was a bit lucky before falling apart — benefitting from multiple called strikes (and two strikeouts) on pitches six inches off the black.

On a per-start basis, deGrom projects better than any pitcher I have ever modeled; however, he has difficulty maintaining effectiveness deep into starts at this point in his career.

His fastball velocity tends to dip after his first time through the order, and as he continues to pump fastballs up in the zone and challenge hitters, whiffs eventually turn into foul balls, which eventually turn into hard contact; as velocity continues to decline.

Moreover, power pitchers like deGrom — who may not have adequate time to recover between pitches — may suffer from the new rules. I'm curious if there is a way for pitchers to recover actively — by throwing a string of breaking balls or utilizing a pickoff move, etc. — to hit their peak velocity when throwing multiple fastballs in an at-bat.

Lastly, the Orioles project better against righties than lefties. I give them the advantage everywhere in this matchup (baserunning, bullpen, defense, offense) aside from the starting pitcher.

However, I project Grayson Rodriguez as a borderline No. 2/3 type starter right out of the gate. I bet him in the preseason for AL Rookie of the Year — even though pitchers rarely win the awards — and the AL field is loaded with favorites Gunnar Henderson, Anthony Volpe and Masataka Yoshida making early noise. Rodriguez has massive potential.

The hulking righty has a plus fastball/changeup combination with an above-average slider and a show-me curveball. And he can throw everything for strikes.

Rodriguez will sometimes struggle with command (3.1 BB/9 in 69 minor league starts), but he should safely pace as one of the strikeout leaders on a per-start basis too.

I projected Rodriguez as a +157 F5 underdog and a +135 full-game underdog against a two-time Cy Young winner — on the road — in his MLB debut.

Bet the Orioles down to +146, and either allocate a larger wager than a half unit or add some spread (+1.5 runs to -145).

Moreover, we will look to bet the Orioles' F5 moneyline down to +170.

San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago White Sox

Logan Webb vs. Dylan Cease
First Pitch: 2: 10 p.m. ET

I find it interesting when my in-season bets somewhat conflict with my preseason opinions.

We have bet on the White Sox (the team I liked most for a win total Under) several times now while betting against Logan Webb — who I bet for the NL Cy Young — and the Giants — who I had a relatively neutral opinion about — multiple times too.

Dylan Cease carried an impressive 2.7 expected ERA or xERA last season and made a decent run without AL Cy Young and strikeout leader tickets. I believe he is better than projections dictate. Still, I project his actual level closer to the borderline ace tier than with the highest tier of starting pitchers.

Webb is another step below that as a high-end No. 2 starter with innings-eating potential. The workload — albeit at slightly reduced effectiveness — brings Webb into the "best pitchers" conversation from a season-long perspective.

Still, on a game-to-game or inning-to-inning basis, Webb doesn't project as well as the other frontline starters.

I projected the White Sox as -144 F5 favorites, and you can bet Cease on the F5 moneyline up to -133.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Seattle Mariners

Shohei Ohtani vs. Chris Flexen
First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

Ohtani is another top-five starter in my power rankings (alongside deGrom, Burnes, Spencer Strider and Tyler Glasnow when healthy). Still, I also expect Chris Flexen to take a step forward this season (or die trying).

Per analyst Lance Brozdowski, Flexen has altered his mechanics, adding roughly four inches of extension (and, therefore, extra perceived velocity on his pitches) and resulting in a shape alteration on his entire arsenal.

Flexen didn't post remarkable numbers in spring (17 IP, 17 H, 5 BB, 13 K), and his first outing against the Guardians (4 IP, 3 BB, 1 K) was less than encouraging too. Typically, I look for some wild strikeout-to-walk ratio — even in a limited sample — for a potential breakout candidate.

That said, I give Flexen a decent chance to outperform his expectations (4.32 to 4.65 ERA range) or at least pitch toward the more optimistic end of those projections in 2023.

Still, even while using a more conservative number — in that 4.6 range — I see value in the Under for Wednesday, setting the total at 6.77.

Bet Under 7 at any plus money price.

Zerillo's Bets for April 5

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  • Atlanta Braves (+120, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Baltimore Orioles F5 (+170, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Baltimore Orioles +1.5 (-126, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Baltimore Orioles +176 (0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Chicago Cubs / Cincinnati Reds, Over 8 (-105, 0.5u) at DraftKings
  • Chicago White Sox F5 (-130, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Houston Astros F5 (-220, 0.5u) at BetRivers
  • Los Angeles Angels / Seattle Mariners Under 7 (+100, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Milwaukee Brewers F5 (-140, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Milwaukee Brewers (-130, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Philadelphia Phillies / New YorkYankees Under 7 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings
  • Pittsburgh Pirates / Boston Red Sox Under 9 (+100, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Seattle Mariners (+155, 0.5u) at WynnBet
  • Tampa Bay Rays F5 (-220, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Toronto Blue Jays F5 (-172, 0.5u) at FanDuel

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