MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks, Expert Projections for Monday (June 26)

MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks, Expert Projections for Monday (June 26) article feature image

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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.

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Expert Picks for Monday, June 26

Cincinnati Reds vs. Baltimore Orioles

Brandon Williamson vs. Cole Irvin
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

After a competitive series with the defending champion Braves, the surging Cincinnati Reds head to Baltimore for an exciting matchup with the 47-29 Baltimore Orioles, who will call up No. 34 overall prospect Jordan Westburg (.939 OPS in Triple-A), presumably to play some second base and platoon with Gunnar Henderson (60 wRC+ vs. lefties, 143 wRC+ vs. righties).

He should get an opportunity to play on Monday against southpaw Brandon Williamson (6.72 xERA), who has had an up-and-down start to his major league career after struggling in the high minors and seemingly getting rushed to the majors. Pitching models aren't in love with him (92 Stuff+, 95 Pitching+), but I could say the same for his opponent, Cole Irvin (77 Stuff+, 97 Pitching+).

Since Elly De La Cruz arrived in the big leagues on June 6, the Reds rank fourth with a 120 wRC+, and even though they have performed better against righties than lefties over that stretch, I project the current Reds' for a 113 wRC+ against left-handed starters. Joey Votto (91 wRC+ vs. lefties since 2021) should be the only left-handed bat in the lineup against Irvin (8.99 xERA).


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If Westburg replaces Henderson, the Orioles can send out nine right-handed (or switch-hitting) bats to face Williamson; however, the Reds' lineup is deeper — I only project the Orioles lineup for a 98 wRC+ against the left-handed Williamson on Monday.

And while the Orioles project as the better defensive team, the Reds are the number one baserunning team in the league. They rank second in steals (84) and should keep Adley Rutschman busy.

Felix Bautista also worked consecutive days for Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday.

I projected the Reds at +106 for the first five innings (F5) and +114 for the full game; bet them in both halves to +115 and +125, respectively.

Additionally, bet Over 9.5 to -110 (projected 10.04) with two replacement-level left-handed starters and two lineups of right-handed bats.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets

Collin Rea vs. Justin Verlander
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

While the Mets have seen regression for their position players and faced injuries throughout their elderly rotation, their overworked bullpen (4.15 ERA, 20th; 4.52 xFIP, 25th; 14.7% K-BB%, 17th) has continually let them down late in games too.

Justin Verlander (3.88 xERA, 106 Stuff+, 102 Pitching+) has experienced apparent regression this season. Whether due to age, the pitch clock or both, Verlander's K-BB% is down nine percent year over year and has more than halved compared to pre-pandemic levels:

Last season, Verlander posted 118 Stuff+ and 109 Pitching+ en route to the AL Cy Young. Among 235 qualified starters (min. 20 innings pitched), Verlander ranked 11th and 6th by those metrics, respectively. Among 190 qualified starters this season, Verlander ranks 37th in Stuff+ and 50th in Pitching+. He has dropped from the top five percent of starting pitchers to the top 20%.

He can still be an adequate arm, but Verlander is probably closer to a No. 2 or a No. 3 starter right now rather than the peak form we saw glimpses of last season.

I'm not partial to Collin Rea (4.28 xERA, 88 Stuff+, 99 Pitching+), but I do find myself betting on him regularly. He throws five pitches and has a couple of above-average breaking balls he should throw more than 20% of the time combined, but Rea is merely serviceable.

Citi Field should see strong hitting weather on Monday night — 76 degrees at first pitch with 12-mph winds blowing out to left field.

I projected the total at 8.7; bet the Over to 8 (-120) or 8.5 (+100) and play the Brewers at +150 or better (projected +140).

Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels

Dylan Cease vs. Reid Detmers
First Pitch: 9:38 p.m. ET

Dylan Cease had a noticeable dip in strikeouts throughout much of this season. Still, he's posted three of the four highest whiff rates that he's had all season in his past four starts — with a 35.2% strikeout rate over that span — and it appears that Cease (4.40 xERA) might be re-finding the form that led to a stellar 2.20 ERA and 2.70 xERA across 32 starts last season (184 innings, 227 strikeouts).

His fastball velocity (95.4 mph over the past month) remains down compared to the past couple of seasons (96.8 mph in 2022, 96.7 mph in 2021), and his Stuff+ (114) remains down too (124 in 2022). The command has never surpassed average — and perhaps the recent strikeout surge is a blip — but the opponents were legitimate (39.5% K% vs. the Dodgers and Rangers).

Like Cease, Reid Detmers (4.08 xERA) walks too many hitters, but he's found his footing this season (career-best 19.1% K-BB%). On paper, pitching models (104 Stuff+, 101 Pitching+) prefer him to Cease due to his slightly better command.

Offensively, the White Sox do perform better against lefties (97 wRC+, 21st) than righties (83 wRC+, 29th), but the Angels (114 wRC+ vs. righties) still have the better results this season.

Chicago has the better bullpen, with better results on the season and an ERA projection more than half a run better in my model.

Back the White Sox in both halves; to +120 for the first five innings and +114 for the full game.

Zerillo's Bets for Monday, June 26 

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  • Chicago White Sox F5 (+122, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +120)
  • Chicago White Sox (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +114)
  • Cincinnati Reds F5 (+122, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +115)
  • Cincinnati Reds (+130, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +125)
  • Cincinnati Reds / Baltimore Orioles, Over 9.5 (-105, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -110)
  • Detroit Tigers / Texas Rangers, Under 9.5 (-122, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to 9, -115)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (+165, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +150)
  • Milwaukee Brewers / New York Mets, Over 8 (-118, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -120 or 8.5, +100)
  • WashingtonNationals / Seattle Mariners, Over 7.5 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -115)

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