MLB Picks, Odds Saturday | Bets for White Sox vs Pirates, More
Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew McCutchen.
- MLB's Saturday slate was loaded with intriguing matchups and betting opportunities.
- Our team of experts looked over the games and came up with a trio of best bets for the night slate.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of their best MLB bets and analysis.
The Saturday MLB slate is loaded as all 30 teams are in action. We’ve already covered our best bets for the afternoon games – now we have some picks for the evening.
Our baseball experts have surveyed the scene and have locked onto three games – A’s vs. Rays, White Sox vs. Pirates and Blue Jays vs. Angels.
There’s one plus-moneyline play, a player prop and F5 pick. Continue reading for those picks and analysis on them.
TODAY MLB Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Athletics vs. Rays
By Nick Shlain
Athletics starting pitcher Shintaro Fujinami only has one regular season Major League start under his belt, but the 28-year-old has a reputation that precedes himself.
A 10-year veteran in Japan, Fujinami had a 10% walk percentage in his career overseas — that appears to have followed him to the Majors. Fujinami issued multiple walks in all five of his spring training starts this year. In his big league debut, he walked three batters in 2 1/3 innings against the Angels.
One of my favorite bets on Saturday is Fujinami to go over 1.5 walks (-143 at Caesars Sportsbook). The Athletics are facing the Rays on the road and Tampa Bay has quite a few patient hitters. Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe each had at least 12% walk percentages against right-handed pitching last season; Wander Franco and Luke Raley were each over 8%. Even if the Rays didn’t have a patient lineup, Fujinami simply hasn’t displayed anything resembling command just yet.
I have him projected for two walks and I think this could be a relatively easy bet to cash.
Pick: Shintaro Fujinami Over 1.5 Walks (-143)
White Sox vs. Pirates
By Sean Zerillo
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 (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 them.
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 has dealt with many injuries over the past few seasons.
His velocity in that start against Houston (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 good outing.
Bet on the Pittsburgh moneyline to +105.
Pick: Pirates ML (+105 or better)
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Blue Jays vs. Angels
Jose Berrios is cooked.
After posting the worst season of his career in 2022, Berrios shot out of a cannon in 2023 by allowing eight runs on nine hits and two walks to the Royals. A bit of luck was involved, but the Royals still posted a 61% hard-hit rate and 95 mph average Exit Velocity against Berrios over 5 2/3 frames.
The Stuff+ on his fastball has been consistently dropping for a few years, reaching a new low of 93 in 2022.
Jose Berrios threw his 4-seam fastball 758 times last year.
He allowed a .349 average, .618 slug, and gave up 65 hits (27 extra-base hits) on it.
Curious how much he throws it this year/how effective it will be
— Josh Goldberg (@JGoldberg12) April 3, 2023
Berrios threw his fastball 23 times against the Royals and allowed a .895 xSLG. He still has other offerings, but you can’t perform at an elite level in the Majors without a half-decent fastball. Overall, he’s among the bottom 15% of qualified pitchers in Hard-Hit Rate, Barrel Rate and average Exit Velocity allowed.
You can argue about the overall effectiveness of the Angels lineup, but they do have a 100 wRC+ on the year.
I’m willing to lay money with Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and a league-average lineup against Berrios every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Besides, Berrios has a lifetime 6.81 ERA in seven starts against the Halos. So, even the bad Angels have Berrios’ number.
I don’t have a great read on new Angel Tyler Anderson — almost every pitcher has a career year when coached by the Dodgers. He tossed six scoreless in his first start with the Halos, but that was against the A’s. The Blue Jays are the polar opposite of Oakland on offense.
That said, I’m willing to buy Anderson if it means I get to fade Berrios.
I’m slightly worried about the bullpen matchup, but I’m pretty confident in Anderson and the Angels out-dueling Berrios and the Blue Jays in the first half. So, I’ll grab the Angels F5 ML at -150 or better.
Pick: Angels F5 ML (-150 or better)
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