MLB Picks Today | Odds, Expert Projections for Thursday, June 1
Joe Sargent/Getty Images, Mike Stobe/Getty Images and Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured (left to right): Kris Bryant of the Colorado Rockies, Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians and Brandon Nimmo of the New York Mets.
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 also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Expert Picks for Thursday, June 1
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Anderson vs. Zach Davies
First Pitch: 3:40 p.m. ET
The Diamondbacks will search for a four-game sweep over the Rockies on Thursday afternoon behind Zach Davies (5.88 xERA in three starts), who has generally outperformed his underlying metrics (4.12 ERA, 4.55 xFIP) throughout his career.
Since 2017, Davies has an expected ERA north of 4.5 in each season, but he outperformed his expected mark by a half run or more in all but one of those full seasons.
Pitch models view him as a below-average arm; amongst 145 starting pitchers who have tossed 10 innings or more this season, Davies is tied for 121st in Pitching+ (94), while his opponent, Chase Anderson, ranks 143rd (89).
Anderson has just 10 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched, so his 5.11 xFIP is misleading; he's generated a lot of weak contact, leading to a 3.91 xERA in 20 2/3 innings after posting a 3.78 xERA in 24 innings last season.
Perhaps Anderson has just gotten extremely lucky in a small sample, and batters are making weak contact on good pitches to hit. Still, I could have shown a more significant edge on the Rockies here. I eliminated Anderson's batted ball data from my sample and still show an edge on Colorado using a somewhat pessimistic projection for Anderson.
I'm extremely low on Davies, too, and you can bet the Rockies to +139 for the first five innings (F5) and +149 for the full game, compared to my overnight projections of +128 and +137, respectively.
Cleveland Guardians vs. Minnesota Twins
Tanner Bibee vs. Pablo Lopez
First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET
Pitching projections thought Tanner Bibbe would be a league-average arm, but he's deserved every bit of his 2.88 ERA thus far (2.85 xERA).
Pitching models aren't sure he can sustain those results; Bibee has an above-average fastball and slider but a below-average cutter and changeup, and subpar Location+ numbers make him an average arm per Pitching+.
Tanner Bibee spins his third straight quality start for the @CleGuardians:
9 K 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9cwvxvJ8PE
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 28, 2023
Bibee's opponent, Pablo Lopez, has made significant strides in pitch modeling data since arriving in Minnesota (Stuff+ increased from 95 to 116), and he ranks ninth overall in Pitching+ (109) amongst all starting pitchers this year.
Still, his results (3.54 xERA, 22.6% K-BB%) are comparable to some previous seasons (3.52 xERA, 21.3% K-BB% in 2021). Perhaps Lopez is due for a peak run at some point soon.
The Twins are in their superior offensive split — ranking 10th against righties, compared to 27th against lefties — while the Guardians have a bottom-three offense against both righties and lefties.
Cleveland's offense might be clicking at the moment, scoring 22 runs in their series win over Baltimore. Both teams had to travel to Minnesota for this matchup after playing road games on Wednesday, as the Twins nailed down a road series win of their own in Houston.
Cleveland has won two of its three matchups thus far this season, and if it wants to climb back into the AL Central race (currently 3.5 games behind Minnesota), winning these head-to-head games is crucial, especially with a more limited divisional schedule for this year and beyond.
The Guardians have the better defensive results (14th vs. 22nd in Defensive Runs Saved or DRS), and I still rate Cleveland as a top-three defensive team in the league after finishing third in DRS last season. I rank the Twins around a league-average defensive club; they finished 12th in 2022.
The Guardians are also the better baserunning club, ranking 6th in baserunning value compared to 14th for the Twins. The teams finished fourth and 29th, respectively, in baserunning value last season; I think this season's gap will continue to regress toward last season's differential.
Bet the Guardians to +110 in the first half (F5) and +120 for the full game with their hidden baserunning and defensive advantages.
You can also bet an F5 Under 4.5 to -120; I projected the first-half total closer to 3.9.
Zerillo's Bets for Thursday, June 1
For additional bet notifications, follow me in the Action Network App.
- Cleveland Guardians F5 (+112, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +110)
- Cleveland Guardians (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +120)
- Cleveland Guardians / Minnesota Twins, F5 Under 4.5 (-114, 0.5u) at Fanduel (bet to -120)
- Colorado Rockies F5 (+146, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +139)
- Colorado Rockies (+155, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +149)
- Los Angeles Angels F5 (+150, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to +147)
- Los Angeles Angels (+155, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +153)
- Los Angeles Angels / Houston Astros, Oer 8.5 (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -115)
- Philadelphia Phillies / New York Mets, Under 8.5 (+110, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to +103 or 9, -115)
- Toronto Blue Jays F5 (-185, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -190)