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MLB Odds, Picks Today | Expert Projections for Saturday, April 8

MLB Odds, Picks Today | Expert Projections for Saturday, April 8 article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Brady Singer and Mike Trout.

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, April 8

Houston Astros vs. Minnesota Twins

Luis Garcia vs. Joe Ryan
First Pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET

While the northeast and midwest weather isn’t nearly as pitcher-friendly as it was on Friday — leading to a 5-3 day on our Under wagers — I have four more full-game Unders prepared for Saturday.

That includes the first game of the day, an afternoon tilt between the Astros and Twins, who went to extra-innings on Friday.

We cashed Twins’ moneyline (bet -115, closed -131) and the Under 8 (at -115, closed 7.5 (-112) in that extra-innings affair; and are 1-0 in extra-innings roulette for the season.

I projected Saturday’s total at 7.01 and would bet Under 7.5 to -110.

In the F5 market, bet Under 4.5 to -140 or Under 4 to -105 (projected 3.75).

Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Nick Lodolo vs. Bailey Falter
First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

After cashing a relatively sweaty Under 7.5 at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, we’re running back an Under 8 for Friday (to -111), compared to my projected total of 7.44.

I am incredibly high on Nick Lodolo’s present and long-term upside. The Reds‘ lefty has ace potential and currently projects as a solid, mid-rotation arm (3.55 Model Weighted ERA), a tier or two above his opponent, Bailey Falter (4.3 Model Weighted ERA), who is something between a No. 4 and No. 5 starter.

In the absence of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and now Darick Hall, the Phillies have upgraded their roster from a defensive perspective to a substantial degree, moving Bohm to first base and sticking Edmundo Sosa at the opposite corner – while putting Cristian Pache in the middle of their outfield — makes the Phillies a far more formidable defense team than they have known in recent history.

Moreover, the Phillies upgraded their bullpen rather substantially in the offseason.

With a diminished offense, improved defense and a potentially underrated bullpen, the Phillies may rip off a streak of Unders at some point soon.

Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants

Brady Singer vs. Sean Manaea
First Pitch: 4:05 p.m. ET

Although Team USA sent their “D” squad of pitchers to the World Baseball Classic this spring, I expected Brady Singer to be their best starting pitcher. He was shelled in relief against Mexico and was never used again. Moreover, that threw Singer off his regular preparation schedule heading into the season; he only logged 12 2/3 innings in spring training beyond the single WBC outing.

Singer wasn’t entirely in command during his first start against the Blue Jays (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K), but he did have an opportunity to shake off the rest — and will see some class relief here against a lesser offense than what Toronto can throw out there.

I view Singer as the superior pitcher compared to Sean Manaea (by roughly a third of a run on an ERA) and give the Giants the advantage virtually everywhere else. Still, that’s enough to get me to +110 on the Royals F5 (first five innings) moneyline and +113 for the full game. Play the Royals in either half, down to +120 and +123, respectively.

Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers

Tanner Houck vs. Joey Wentz
First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

As I have mentioned repeatedly throughout the opening week, the Tigers‘ offense projects significantly better against lefties than righties, and they posted a historically lousy season against right-handed pitching last year, ranking 625th out of 630 in wRC+ against righties out of all team offensive seasons over the past 21 years.

Boston will start a righty on Saturday in Tanner Houck, who has the No. 2 starter upside (3.4 Model Weighted ERA), while Joey Wentz (4.82) is closer to a replacement-level pitcher. Boston has an advantage everywhere in this matchup (starting pitcher, bullpen, offense, defense, baserunning, and splits), but the edge is more pronounced over the first five innings. Bet Boston’s F5 moneyline up to -150 (60% implied), at a two percent edge compared to my number (-163, 62% implied).

Additionally, you can bet the Under down to 8 (-108), compared to my projected total of 7.54.

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Seattle Mariners vs. Cleveland Guardians

Marco Gonzales vs. Cal Quantrill
First Pitch: 6:10 p.m. ET

It doesn’t mean anything, but Cal Quantrill is the most profitable F5 starter in our database over the past two seasons: 30-15-11 (+$1,316, 23.5% ROI for a consistent $100 bettor).

And I project a slight edge on Cleveland’s F5 moneyline for Saturday, up to -145.

We bet the Guardians F5 line at -110 for the same matchup on the road in Seattle on Sunday; the line closed at -112.

Assuming the same lineups, one would have to flip that line closer to -146 for the same matchup in Cleveland, based on the park switch alone — so the odds adjustment appears correct. And I set my price target at -110 for the initial matchup, so my projection hasn’t changed beyond expectation.

While the Guardians were abysmal — and virtually unbettable against lefties last season, adding a couple of above-average veterans vs. lefties in Mike Zunino and Josh Bell to their lineup — and assuming regression for their other players — has brought Cleveland’s offense out of the dumpster against southpaws.

Chicago White Sox vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Mike Clevinger vs. Vince Velasquez
First Pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET

What if I told you that Vince Velasquez — by some systems — projects as a better pitcher than Mike Clevinger? I know, it’s shocking to me, too.

Both pitchers posted an identical 4.65 xERA, or expected ERA, last season. Four different projection systems have Clevinger’s 2023 FIP between 4.5 and 5.01; for Velasquez the range is between 4.68 and 5.23. There isn’t a substantial difference between the pair.

After a troubling spring, Clevinger posted an excellent first outing against the Astros (6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K). He seemed like a Cy Young candidate as recently as 2019 but dealt with many injuries over the past few seasons.

His velocity in that Houston start (94.7 mph) was up a tick from last season (93.5 mph), and if Clevinger can remain healthy, he should be more effective than last season based on increasing velocity alone. Past studies have shown that a one mph average difference in fastball velocity is worth about a third of a run on a pitcher’s end-of-season ERA. Still, I’m not ready to fully buy into Clevinger after one nice outing.

Bet the Pirate’s F5 moneyline down to +101, and play their full game line to +105.

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles

Jhony Brito vs. Cole Irvin
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

I fired on the Orioles and the Under 9 in Baltimore on Saturday; you can place those bets down to +108 and -115, respectively.

I project Johny Brito as the superior pitcher to Cole Irvin; however, I also project the Orioles as a far superior offense against righties than lefties which helps to neutralize some of that matchup advantage. I also see advantages for the Orioles in terms of their speed and defense (particularly, Adley Rutschman’s ability to limit the Yankees‘ running game).

Friday’s game flew over the total — and defeated our weather-backed under. While the conditions aren’t as severe on Saturday, I expect the deep left field wall in Baltimore to have a say at some point during the early part of each season. I projected Saturday’s total at 8.34; you can bet Under 9 to -115.

Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies

Trevor Williams vs. Austin Gomber
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

I view Trevor Williams as an underrated arm – and a superior pitcher to Austin Gomber. Williams carried a 3.56 xERA with the Mets last season and was always surprisingly more effective as a starting pitcher than you anticipated.

You can play the Nationals‘ moneyline down to +124 (projected +115), and we’ll wager on Washington for the third day in a row (TBD if we bet them again on Sunday too).

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels

Jose Berrios vs. Tyler Anderson
First Pitch: 9:07 p.m. ET

I’m uncertain about what is going on with Jose Berrios.

I have always been low on him relative to the betting market; however, Berrios posted a 5.23 ERA and a 5.11 xERA in 2022 and has gotten shelled in back-to-back starts in the WBC against Venezuela (1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and on April 3 against the Royals (5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 7 K).

Conversely, Anderson found a career-best form with the Dodgers last season (3.1 xERA) and signed a three-year, $39m contract with the Angels this offseason. He carried over that dominant 2022 form to his first start against the A’s (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K) and will hope to neutralize an offense that projects better against righties than lefties.

Angels’ F5 moneyline (to -117) is my favorite bet for Saturday; I have yet to adjust Berrios’ projection — or, for that matter Andersons’s — but I could easily justify downgrading Berrios and upgrading Anderson. And yet, I still project an edge for the Angels, assuming that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are in the lineup.

Zerillo’s Bets for Saturday, April 8

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  • Baltimore Orioles F5 (+110, 0.25u) at DraftKings (bet small to +109)
  • Baltimore Orioles (+115, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +108)
  • Boston Red Sox F5 (-140, 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to -150)
  • Boston Red Sox / Detroit Tigers, Under 8.5 (-115, 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to 8 -108)
  • Cincinnati Reds / Philadelphia Phillies Under 8 (-105, 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to -111)
  • Cleveland Guardians F5 (-144, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -145)
  • Houston Astros / Minnesota Twins, Under 7.5 (-105, 0.5u) at MGM (bet to -110)
  • Kansas City Royals (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +123)
  • Los Angeles Angels F5 (-108, 0.75u) at BetRivers (bet to -117)
  • Miami Marlins (+150, 0.25u) at WynnBet (bet small to +148)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (+145, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +132)
  • New York Yankees / Baltimore Orioles, Under 9 (-110, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -115)
  • Parlay (+208, 0.25u) at WynnBet: Boston Red Sox (-130) / Cleveland Guardians (-130) (parlay both lines to -140)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates F5 (+112, 0.75u) at FanDuel (bet to +101, reduce the risk below +110)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (+115, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +105)
  • San Diego Padres / Atlanta Braves, Under 9 (-105, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -105)
  • Washington Nationals (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +124)

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