MLB Picks Today | Odds, Expert Projections for Saturday, August 5

MLB Picks Today | Odds, Expert Projections for Saturday, August 5 article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Ryne Nelson, Dansby Swanson, Jordan Diaz.

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 Saturday, August 5

San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics

Ross Stripling vs. Paul Blackburn
First Pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET

I set Saturday's total in Oakland at 8.53 runs; bet the Over to 8 (-110).

Offensively, the Giants rate much better against righties (100 wRC+, 17th) than lefties (86 wRC+, 27th). While Paul Blackburn (4.05 xERA, 15.4% K-BB%) has seen his strikeout rate trend in a positive direction this season, both his expected ERA and pitch modeling metrics (87 Stuff+, 101 Location+) say that he is the same pitcher as last season (86 Stuff+, 102 Location+).

Ross Stripling is the opposite case for the Giants, with a 5.17 xERA — significantly higher than last season's 3.57 mark in Toronto. His Stuff+ has dropped by 10 points from 98 to 88, but Stripling retains excellent command (4.2% walk rate, 5.6% career), with a 107 Location+ rating in both seasons.

Still, Oakland has been the second-best "Over" team this season (57-46-7) because they give opposing teams extra outs and base advancements (-67 Defensive Runs Saved, 30th), and they have the worst bullpen in baseball (5.21 xFIP, 8.4% K-BB%).

You can dabble with Oakland's moneyline, to +137 in the first five innings (F5) and +142 for the full game.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Minnesota Twins

Ryne Nelson vs. Kenta Maeda
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Kenta Maeda (3.72 xERA, 22.1% K-BB%, 102 Pitching+) has split the difference between his impressive 2020 campaign (2.75 xERA, 28.2% K-BB%, 106 Pitching+) against a Central divison-only schedule, and his injury-riddled 2021 campaign (3.73 xERA, 17.9% K-BB%, 100 Pitching+) before Tommy John surgery.

Maeda's fastball velocity (90.7 mph) remains in line with his 2021 level (90.8 mph) as opposed to his 2020 form (91.8 mph) or career average (91.6 mph); still, his Stuff+ has increased back toward prior levels. Additionally, Maeda has been highly unlucky over his past 32 starts since 2021, pitching to a 4.61 ERA and 3.73 xERA thanks in part to a .320 BABIP and a 69% stand rate (career .283 BABIP, 72.4% stand rate).

Ryne Nelson (5.04 xERA, 7.7% K-BB%) continues to underperform compared to his above-average pitch modeling metrics (102 Stuff+, 103 Location+, 103 Pitching+). Every time I look at Nelson's pitch modeling data, I have to double-check it; there is a massive disconnect between the models — which would call for a mid-threes ERA — and Nelson's on-field performance.

Even in Triple-A last season, Nelson posted a lackluster 13.7% K-BB% and a 5.51 xFIP.

I projected Saturday;'s total at 7.65, with ten mph winds blowing in from right field. Bet Under 8.5 to -122, or Under 8 to -104.

Zerillo's Bets for Saturday, August 5

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  • Arizona Diamondbacks / Minnesota Twins, Under 8.5 (-110, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -122 or 8, -104)
  • Boston Red Sox F5 (-110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -117)
  • Boston Red Sox (-105, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -112)
  • Chicago Cubs (+130, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +117)
  • Chicago Cubs / Atlanta Braves, Under 10.5 (-118, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to 10, -112)
  • Chicago White Sox / Cleveland Guardians, Over 8.5 (-120, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to 9, -107)
  • Detroit Tigers (+130, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +122)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers F5 (+150, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +145)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (+140, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +127)
  • Minnesota Twins F5 (-145, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -155)
  • New York Mets (+154, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +143)
  • New York Yankees (+120, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +102)
  • New York Yankees / Houston Astros, Under 8.5 (-115, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -115)
  • Oakland Athletics (+155, 0.25u) at WynnBet (small to +143)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (+215, 0.25u) at Caesars (small to +210)
  • San Francisco Giants / Oakland Athletics, Over 7.5 (-105, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to 8, -110)
  • St. Louis Cardinals F5 (-198, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -205)

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