Monday, April 3 MLB Picks, Odds, Predictions for Twins vs Marlins, Guardians vs Athletics, More
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez.
- It's a busy Monday night in MLB with 13 more games on the slate after two afternoon affairs.
- Our analysts are all over it, including a pair of picks on Twins-Marlins and picks on Diamondbacks-Padres, Cardinals-Braves and Guardians-Athletics.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of our best bets from the MLB slate on Monday, April 3rd.
The first full week of the MLB season begins on Monday with all 30 teams in action and 15 games spread out across the board.
After a pair of games get going this afternoon, there are 13 games under the lights and our analysts have their eyes on several of them. We have picks on Twins-Marlins, Braves-Cardinals and Diamondbacks-Padres to recommend.
There are our best MLB bets for Monday, April 3.
Monday’s 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.|
Twins vs. Marlins
I’ve already written about how I’m high on the Minnesota Twins this season, and now they draw a perfect matchup with a player I’m looking to fade throughout: 37-year-old Johnny Cueto.
Cueto’s strikeout numbers took a drastic hit last season and he doesn’t generate any swings and misses. He ranks in the bottom 16% of all pitchers in xBA and has dealt with barrel issues throughout.
After a dominant first half — 2.80 ERA across 12 appearances — Cueto’s ERA took a huge bump up. He was a bit fortunate altogether, with his xFIP (4.38) and xERA (4.02) much higher than his actual ERA (3.35).
He does enter a pitcher-friendly park, but a bigger field could be an issue for Cueto, who pitches to contact. It’s a perfect opportunity at a cheap price to fade the worse pitcher and offense.
Tyler Mahle takes the mound for Minnesota and I am extremely high on the right-hander. He had a 4.40 ERA, but is a positive regression candidate in 2023. His xERA (3.49) and FIP (3.87) both sat under 4 and he finished inside the top 25 percent of all pitchers in xBA.
Mahle’s LOB% also dipped below 70% for the first time since 2019 and should revert back to his career averages. While control and barrel rate has been an issue from time to time, he draws a favorable matchup against a Marlins offense that finished last season 25th in wRC+, isolated power and 27th in walk rate.
This number is too short on the Twins. They not only have the better offense but Mahle projects to be a much better pitcher than the veteran Cueto. I’ll continue to fade Cueto this season and it starts on Monday night in Miami.
Pick: Twins -124
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Twins vs. Marlins
By Nick Shlain
Tyler Mahle was acquired by the Minnesota Twins via trade last August, but made just four starts for them before succumbing to injury.
After a slow start to his spring due to a shoulder injury, Mahle is healthy now and set to make his first start of the 2023 season Monday against the Marlins in Miami.
One of my favorite bets of the day Monday is Mahle to go over 4.5 strikeouts at -108 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Mahle showed himself to be healthy in spring training, recording 15 strikeouts in 15 spring innings. Last year, Mahle was a solid strikeout pitcher as he had a 23% K% against right-handed batters and 26% K% against left-handed batters.
The Marlins are also a solid matchup in terms of strikeout upside. Miami’s projected lineup for Monday has six hitters who had at least a 23% K% against right-handed pitchers last season. The Marlins have already faced three right-handed starting pitchers so far in 2023 and struck out six, seven and eight times.
Mahle was a slightly better strikeout pitcher on the road last season as he had a 26% K-rate on the road compared to 24% at home.
While Mahle has battled a shoulder injury going back to last year, if he can hold up for five innings in this game he should be able to cover this prop as my projections have him for five strikeouts against the Marlins.
Pick: Tyler Mahle Over 4.5 Strikeouts
Braves vs. Cardinals
By D.J. James
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves sported two of the best offenses against right-handed pitching last season. Jake Woodford held a 2.23 ERA in 2022, but his xERA was over 4.00. He had a 3.97 ERA in 67 2/3 innings (26 games) in 2021 but had a 4.73 xERA.
Meanwhile, Charlie Morton has definitely fallen off. He ranked in the 28th percentile in Average Exit Velocity in 2022 and the 17th percentile in Hard Hit Rate. He had a 4.34 ERA against a 4.11 xERA.
Atlanta added Sean Murphy to replace William Contreras at catcher, so Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud provide an unusual offensive boost behind the plate. The rest of this Atlanta offense is phenomenal. Orlando Arcia is really the only weak link.
Willson Contreras and Jordan Walker joined the Cardinals roster and definitely will add to the offensive output.
Atlanta had a decent bullpen by xFIP last season, but closer Raisel Iglesias is on the injured list. The Cardinals’ bullpen is relatively weak with the exceptions of Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley, so the middle relievers could yield some runs before handing the game to those two.
Take the over to 8.5 and-120.
Pick: Over 8.5 (+100)
Diamondbacks vs. Padres
Ryan Weathers pitched just 3 2/3 innings in the big leagues last season as he spent a majority of the year in Triple-A after a poor 2021 season. In 18 starts in 2021, he had a 5.38 xERA, a 1.9 HR/9 rate and a 43.2% hard hit rate allowed.
Then in Triple-A last season his numbers were somehow even worse: 6.54 xFIP, 4.17 BB/9 rate, a 2.27 HR/9 rate, and opposing hitters had a .325 average against him over a 123-inning sample size.
The Diamondbacks were bad overall against lefties last season, but against left-handed fastballs, sliders and changeups – which are Weathers’ three pitches – they had a .249 xBA and .332 xwOBA, which are around the MLB average.
Ryne Nelson was really good in his three starts in the big leagues toward the end of last season. He went a total of 18 innings and had a 2.24 xERA and a .234 xwOBA allowed. He’s a heavy fastball pitcher, but that isn’t a big worry against the Padres lineup that had a -21.9 run value, .239 xBA and .328 xwOBA against right-handed fastballs.
I am not sure Weathers sees the lineup more than one time in this game, but given how bad his numbers were in Triple-A and given the fact that Nelson ERA projects to be a half run lower by almost every projection model, there is definitely value on the Diamondbacks as dogs for the First Five Innings.
Pick: Diamondbacks F5 ML
Guardians vs. Athletics
By Kenny Ducey
Can we please respect the Cleveland Guardians offense? I know these guys aren’t hitting bombs, but they’re having some great at-bats. To this point the Guardians are just outside the top 10 in walk rate, getting on via the free pass over 10% of the time, and as expected they’re bottom five in strikeout rate.
The sample is comically small, but nothing has changed with Cleveland. This team is going to put the ball in play and it’s going to get on base.
Runs should be a bit easier to come by against James Kaprielian, who is a tall and handsome former Yankees first-round pick, but has little else going for him. His career ERA sits at 4.20 and last season he struck out just 17% of the batters he faced while walking an alarming 10.2%.
I think the margins by which the Guardians have been able to dominate in walking and putting the ball in play will widen here. While they’re not barreling balls, I think the sheer number of baserunners here will be a nightmare for Kaprielian.
On the other side of this one, I don’t have to waste too much time telling you why Zach Plesac is an automatic fade. He was arguably one of the five worst starting pitchers in the game last season, allowing hard-hit balls in troves and striking out just 17% of batters.
The A’s may not have very attractive names in this offense, and have scored just three runs as a result, but I truly think there’s no offense above the Double-A level that Plesac could be expected to hold to under three runs in a start.
I’ll be expecting plenty of runs.
Pick: Over 8 (+100)
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