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MLB Picks Today | Odds, Expert Projections for Tuesday, May 16

MLB Picks Today | Odds, Expert Projections for Tuesday, May 16 article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Domingo German, Masataka Yoshida, Brandon Crawford.

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 Tuesday, May 16

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Domingo German vs. Kevin Gausman
First Pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET

As I highlighted before his last start against the Rays, German is using his two best pitches — his curveball and changeup — more than ever before, while slowly reducing the deployment for his pair of below-average fastballs.

I only view German as about a half run worse (on xERA) and a tier below Kevin Gausman, who is a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate because of his consistency and durability. I would have said that gap was closer to an entire run headed into the season.

And once these teams enter the bullpens, the game should narrow; the overall calculus of these two teams’ offensive, defensive, baserunning and reliever prowess is similar beyond the starting pitchers.

I expect the Yankees to win this game around 40% of the time; bet their moneyline down to +163 (38% implied).

Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox

Luis Castillo vs. Nick Pivetta
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: We have strong run-scoring conditions at Fenway Park, and I like the Over in this matchup.

I set the total at 10.1, bet Over 9.5 to -112, and hope the Red Sox can continue their run as the best “Over” team in baseball (27-13-2), despite an offensive brownout in recent days (five runs in their past three games).

The Red Sox have a top-three offense against right-handed pitching, providing a stiff test for a career-best Luis Castillo. And Nick Pivetta (6.67 xERA) has blowup potential in every start. Seattle also ranks around average against righties (16th) but near the bottom of the league against lefties (26th).

I also set Boston as +120 underdogs in what projects as a potentially chaotic game at Fenway; bet the Red Sox down to +135 in the first five innings (F5) and +131 for the full game.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Mets

Jalen Beeks vs. Justin Verlander
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

After drawing relatively easy matchups — which he dominated — against the Reds and Tigers in his first two starts off the IL, Justin Verlander will make his first home start at Citi Field on Tuesday against the best team and best offense in baseball.

7 strikeouts in 7 innings tonight for Justin Verlander!

— SNY (@SNYtv) May 11, 2023

The Rays have smashed righties and lefties equally well, ranking as the top offense against either split. However, the gap between the Rays and the second-place team against righties (18 points) is as wide as between the third-best team and the league average.

And they are in a decent spot on Tuesday following an off day where they stayed in the same city (after a series against the Yankees) with closer Pete Fairbanks coming off the IL. I’d expect the Rays to piggyback Jalen Beeks and Yonny Chirinos, but they have plenty of options with a fully rested bullpen.

Conversely, the Mets are finally returning from a lengthy road trip — including a pseudo-doubleheader on Sunday — and should arrive back in Queens far less rested than their opponents from South Florida.

I set the Rays as +130 underdogs (43.5%); bet their moneyline down to +140 (41.5 % implied) at a two percent edge compared to my number.

Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros

Justin Steele vs. Cristian Javier
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

I’m a fan of both starters, and their respective arms helped guide us several profitable wagers last season. Unfortunately, we have to fade both on Tuesday; I set the total at 8.1 and bet Over 7.5 to -112.

The Cubs rank better against lefties than righties but remain a top-10 offense against right-handed pitching. The Astros, however, are much closer to league average against lefties than they are against righties, where they have struggled offensively (83 wRC+ vs. righties, 24th).

An Over-leaning umpire in David Rackley certainly helps our cause, but I like the total either way.

And if the Cubs move past +150 again, you can add a moneyline wager.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies

Brandon Williamson vs. Chase Anderson
First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. ET

The FIP projections for Brandon Williamson (range of 5.65 to 6.12) aren’t pretty. A former second-round pick, Williamson comes with a ton of pedigree (and former top-100 prospect hype), but the 25-year-old southpaw posted alarming command numbers in the high minors.

Over the past two seasons — and 35 starts between Double-A and Triple-A — Williamson has tossed 156 2/3 innings with a 140:97 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scouts and minor league pitch data love Williamson’s arm talent, but if he cannot throw those pitches for strikes, none of it matters. And Coors Field is a hell of a place to make your major league debut.

I set Tuesday’s total at 12.94; bet Over 12.5 to -107.

Kansas City Royals vs. San Diego Padres

Brady Singer vs. Seth Lugo
First Pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET

We tried and failed to back the Royals behind the erratic Brad Keller on Monday. Thankfully, despite his eight walks, two wild pitches, and a hit batsman, we cashed the Under because of their listless offense.

I set this total at 7.9, and this game has my one Under wager for Tuesday. Bet Under 9 to -135, or 8.5 (-114).

However, we’ll take another stab with the Royals behind Singer, who struggled for Team USA in the WBC, and over eight starts this season (6.71 xERA), after a breakout 2022 campaign (3.97 xERA). Heading into the WBC, I thought Singer might be the best pitcher on the Team USA roster, but his velocity and results are trending in the wrong direction.

Singer is primarily a sinker/slider pitcher (combined 93% usage) who never developed a reliable third offering. Throughout his career, he has performed much better against righties (3.44 xFIP) than lefties (4.15), but his command — which improved to a career-best 18.5% K-BB% last season — has dipped to a career-low this year (12.8%).

Even after downgrading my priors on Singer, I still see value on the Royals for Tuesday; bet their moneyline down to +182.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants 

Zack Wheeler vs. Alex Cobb
First Pitch: 9:45 p.m. ET

I have probably bet against the Giants as much as any team this season — and I have rarely backed them — so I readily grabbed a slight edge on the Giants after running the model, but I would need +110 or better to back San Francisco.

We have bet a number of Overs at Oracle Park this season, and even though I like both starters for Tuesday, both offenses are far better against righties (Giants 3rd, Phillies 8th) than lefties (24th and 23rd, respectively.)

As I mentioned before Monday’s matchup, pairing two of the worst defensive teams in the league creates extra opportunities for those offenses to score. I set the totals at 4.3 (F5) and 8.44; bet an F5 Over 3.5 to -138, or 4 (-102), and play the full game Over 7.5 to -125, or 8 (-107).

Zerillo’s Bets for Tuesday, May 16

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  • Arizona Diamondbacks / Oakland Athletics, Under 9.5 (-112, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -115)
  • Boston Red Sox F5 (+136), 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to +135)
  • Boston Red Sox (+145), 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +131)
  • Boston Red Sox / Seattle Mariners, Over 9.5 (-105, 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to -112)
  • Cincinnati Reds / ColoradoRockies, Over 12 (-110, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to 12.5, -107)
  • Chicago Cubs (+150, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +150)
  • Chicago Cubs / Houston Astors, Over 7.5 (-105, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -112)
  • Chicago White Sox / Cleveland Guardians, Under 8 (+105, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -104 or 8.5, -123)
  • Kansas City Royals (+190, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +182)
  • Kansas City Royals / San Diego Padres, Under 9 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -134 or 8.5, -114)
  • Los Angeles Angels / Baltimore Orioles, F5 Over 5 (-115, 0.5u) at Draftkings (Bet to -120 or 9.5, -102)
  • Los Angeles Angels / Baltimore Orioles, Over 9 (-120, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -120 or 9.5, -102)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (+160, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +154)
  • New York Yankees (+170, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +163)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (+110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +106)
  • San Franciso Giants (+110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +110)
  • San Francisco Giants / Philadelphia Phillies, F5 Over 3.5 (-130, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -138 or 4, -102)
  • San Francisco Giants / Philadelphia Phillies, Over 7.5 (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -125 or 8, -107)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (+145, 0.5u) at WynnBt (bet to +140)
  • Tampa Bay Rays / New York Mets, Under 8.5 (+105, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -102 or 9, -120)
  • Texas Rangers F5 (-105, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -110)

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