MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks, Expert Projections for Wednesday, May 3
Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Trevino, Mitch Keller and Logan Webb.
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 Wednesday, May 3
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Texas Rangers
Brandon Pfaadt vs. Andrew Heaney
First Pitch: 2:05 p.m. ET
Pfaadt, the No. 51 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, will make his major league debut on Wednesday against the Rangers.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound righty carries a four-pitch mix (fastball/curveball/slider/changeup) with multiple above-average offerings and should eventually offer above-average command, too. Pfaadt posted an impressive 104:20 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 87 innings in Triple-A the past two seasons and figured to miss a lot of bats at the MLB level too.
Brandon Pfaadt, picking up where he left off.
The @Dbacks’ No. 4 prospect — whose 218 strikeouts in 2022 were the most in @MiLB in 21 years — punches out three in his first inning of the year for the @Aces. pic.twitter.com/af0sYFF1Z1
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 2, 2023
Pfaadt’s projected FIP range (4.02 to 4.31) would make him immediately competitive with Andrew Heaney (4.64 xERA or expected ERA in 2023; 3.39 last season) and should provide a boost to Arizona‘s playoff chances following its 16-14 start.
I slightly lean toward the Diamondbacks (projected +107) for Wednesday, but I need at least +115 or better to back them on the moneyline.
I projected the totals at 3.96 (F5, or First Five Innings) and 7.84. I would bet an F5 Under 4.5 to -125 or a full Game Under 8.5 to -115.
San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros
Logan Webb vs. Framber Valdez
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
I project Logan Webb (3.59 Model Weighted ERA) and Framber Valdez (3.68) as somewhat comparable pitchers, and both starters should keep their opponent in their lesser offensive split on Wednesday.
Houston has some apparent advantages defensively and in the bullpen; still, I couldn’t get their moneyline projection beyond -140; and I would bet the Giants down to +150 behind their ace.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Mitch Keller vs. Shane McClanahan
First Pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
I’ll continue to bang the drum for Mitch Keller, who is showing the best metrics since his rookie season, most notably, a six percent uptick in strikeout rate, which, by this point in the season, is pretty indicative of future results.
Keller has deployed a new toy this season, a 90-91 mph cutter he throws nearly 25% of the time. The new pitch mix has led to a 3.53 ERA, a 3.90 xERA, and a 3.80 xFIP through six starts. And the increased strikeout rate is supported by an improved swinging strike rate and an increase in called strikes (29.8% CSW%; 25.7% career).
Shane McClanahan (2.74 xERA in 2022; 2.84 in 2023) is a better pitcher than Keller, and the Rays have the advantage virtually everywhere else in this matchup. Still, I expect the Pirates to win this game 36% of the time (+178 implied), and I would bet their moneyline at +194 or better, at a two percent edge compared to my number.
As dominant as the Rays have been offensively (148 wRC in 2023, 101 in 2022), the Pirates have seen a similarly drastic improvement (113 wRC+ in 2023, 84 in 2022) year over year.
Cleveland Guardians vs. New York Yankees
Shane Bieber vs. Clarke Schmidt
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
Strikeout and walk numbers — which feed into ERA estimators like xFIP — say that Clarke Schmidt (32 K, 7 BB in 25 IP) has underachieved this season (6.84 ERA, 4.01 xFIP). However, Schmidt’s xERA (6.31) shows that his .394 BABIP, 2.52 HR/9 rate, and 64% stand rate are closer to deserved than unlucky.
Still, I like Schmidt’s arm talent and expect him to pitch closer to that xFIP mark of four the rest of the way, which aligns with his projections (projected FIP range of 3.99 to 4.30). I also remain low on Shane Bieber (4.73 xERA, 4.32 xFIP), who has posted a career-worst 9.9% K-BB% through six starts.
Compared to his career peak (94.1 mph in 2020), Bieber’s fastball velocity is down three ticks — where he sat last season — but his swinging strike rate is down four percent year over year and 6.5% over two years: extremely concerning slippage:
I projected the Yankees closer to +110; you can bet their moneyline down to +120 as rare home underdogs (12 times since 2020).
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Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals
Kyle Gibson vs. Zack Greinke
First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET
At age 39, Zack Greinke might finally be nearing the end of the line. He was repeatedly rocked in his first six starts (6.10 ERA, 6.00 xERA) and seemed particularly vulnerable without the shift and while pitching in front of one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
Kyle Gibson hasn’t performed much better than Greinke over the past two seasons (4.86 xERA in 2023, 4.46 in 2022), and maybe the Royals‘ league-worst offense against righties (61 wRC+) can finally put together some runs against a lesser starter. The Royals were better against lefties than righties last season, too, but they were 25th against right-handed pitching (89 wrC+); not historically bad like this season.
Kauffman Stadium should see fairly typical hitting conditions on Wednesday (72 degrees at first pitch, 2.2 mph winds blowing out), and I like the Over in both halves, up to 5 (-110) F5 and 9 (-111) for the full game; compared to my projections of 5.29 and 9.56, respectively.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies
Eric Lauer vs. Kyle Freeland
First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET
Wednesday’s weather in Denver — 77 degrees at first pitch — should be substantially better for hitters than Tuesday’s 58-degree temperatures and rainy weather.
I projected the totals for Wednesday at 6.94 (F5) and 12.22 (full game), and I would bet an F5 Over 6.5 to -120 and an Over 12 at plus money. Alternatively, bet Over 11.5 to -118.
Velocity readings for Eric Lauer (6.19 xERA) remain down significantly compared to his past two seasons when he posted expected indicators closer to four.
Kyle Freeland (4.32 ERA, 4.18 xERA) has pitched exceptionally well thus far, but his .242 BABIP is more deserved in the short term than sustainable over a larger sample of starts.
Five different projection systems put Freeland’s rest-of-season ERA between 5.17 and 6.02, with a FIP projection between 4.77 and 5.18. Freeland has turned in quality starts in three of his four Coors appearances this season; it’s a matter of time before the park gets him again.
Zerillo’s Bets for Wednesday, May 3
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- Arizona Diamondbacks / Texas Rangers, F5 Under 4.5 (-118, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -125)
- Arizona Diamondbacks / Texas Rangers, Under 8.5 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -115)
- Baltimore Orioles / Kansas City Royals, F5 Over 4.5 (-115, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to 5, -110)
- Baltimore Orioles / Kansas City Royals, Over 9 (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -111)
- Detroit Tigers Game 1 F5 (+135, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +130)
- Detroit Tigers Game 1 (+138, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +135)
- Los Angeles Dodgers F5 (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -120)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -120)
- Los Angeles Dodgers / Philadelphia Phillies, Over 8.5 (-120, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to 9, -110)
- Milwaukee Brewers / ColoradoRockies, F5 Over 6.5 (-114, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -120)
- Milwaukee Brewers / Colorado Rockies, Over 11.5 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -118 or 12, +100)
- New York Yankees (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +120)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+194, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +194)
- San Francisco Giants (+155, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +150)
- WashingtonNationals (+175, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +152)
- Washington Nationals / Chicago Cubs, Under 9 (-120, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to 8.5, -110)
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