Monday MLB Odds & Betting Predictions: A Pair of First 5 Inning Picks For Twins vs. Indians & Mariners vs. Astros
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Twins pitcher Bailey Ober.
- Our analysts are excited about the first five innings of both of these matchups, and not just because they're looking to escape their TVs in time for cookouts tonight.
- Bailey Ober should make quick work of Cleveland, which struggles against fastballs (he's been fastball-heavy of late) and right-handers.
- Reliable starting pitchers should keep scoring to a minimum for the Mariners and Astros.
It’s Labor Day but that doesn’t mean there aren’t baseball games to bet on! For Monday’s Major League Baseball slate, our analysts zeroed-in on the first five innings of Twins vs. Indians and Mariners vs. Astros — meaning you should be set to focus on any evening cookouts.
MLB Odds & Picks
Twins vs. Indians
Brad Cunningham: Bailey Ober has been incredibly solid in the Twins rotation, putting up a 4.01 xFIP and a 9.28 K/9 rate. He’s a fastball-heavy pitcher, going to it 59% of the time — and he’s been pretty effective as opposing hitters only have a .224 expected batting average and .296 wOBA against it this season. Ober will have a great matchup against the Indians as Cleveland doesn’t hit right handed pitching well at all (.307 wOBA, 91 wRC+) and struggles versus fastballs hitting (-0.6 run value).
Logan Allen has been dreadful this season. In nine starts he has a 6.53 xERA, 44% Hard Hit percentage allowed and a 2.55 HR/9 rate. He’s mainly a fastball/slider pitcher. While his slider has been pretty effective (.168 xBA allowed), his fastball has been one of the worst in baseball this season, allowing a .367 xBA and .466 xwOBA. In fact, he’s allowed more home runs on his fastball (six) than strikeouts with it (five) — and he’s thrown his fastball 280 times this season. The Twins are one of the best fastball-hitting teams in baseball (+42.7 run value), so they should have no problem getting to Allen.
Mariners vs. Astros
Matt Trebby: This will be the third time in Yusei Kikuchi’s last four starts that he will face the Houston Astros. More than two weeks ago on Aug. 20, he was rocked in Houston for seven runs over just 2 and 2/3 innings. Last week, he tossed seven shutout frames in Seattle.
Kikuchi’s numbers indicate he’s somewhere in the middle, but closer to the good outing. Kikuchi has had his best MLB season in his third campaign, registering a 4.12 ERA and 3.73 xFIP that indicates he could be even better. He also has a 3.86 ERA on the road this season compared to a 4.38 mark at home. Kikuchi held the Rays and Yankees to two runs (one earned) over 11 combined innings in his first two road starts in August before the blowup in Houston.
On the other side, Lance McCullers Jr. appears to be back after arm issues derailed his career a few years ago. The right-hander has a 3.20 ERA, 3.42 xERA and 3.70 xFIP this season. His walk rate is up compared to past years at 4.28 per nine innings, although he is striking out more per nine than usual at 10.47. A little more control could make McCullers the reliable starter that it appears the Astros will need in October.
Like Kikuchi, McCullers is very familiar with his Labor Day opponent, as well as starting against the Japanese southpaw. This will be the third time that the two oppose each other since Aug. 20. McCullers has had more overall success against the other team, though, allowing just two earned runs over 11 total innings in his two starts.
If it wasn’t for the Astros offense, this total would likely be around 7.5. Houston has scored three or fewer runs in four of its last five games, though, and is struggling at the moment having lost those four.
The total for the first five innings is 4.5. I’ll back the two reliable starters here in a matchup of postseason hopefuls and take the under at -110 at BetMGM.