MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Tonight

MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Tonight article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Jorge Polanco, Isaac Paredes, Starling Marte

Welcome to Opening Pitch, our daily column that you'll find throughout the 2024 MLB season.

The goal for Opening Pitch is to highlight top daily projection edges for MLB moneylines and totals, share favorite bets and provide some betting notes and analysis.

As a reminder, you can find all of my bets in the Action Network App and get live alerts every time I log a new bet.

You can also find expert projections for every MLB game in the Action App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub.

You can also shop for the best lines on our MLB Odds page.

Here are my favorite bets and MLB predictions for Monday, April 15.

MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Tonight

Angels vs. Rays

Monday, April 15
6:50 p.m. ET
Angels Odds
-115o / -105u
Rays Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Patrick Sandoval vs. Zach Eflin

While Zach Eflin has allowed 12 runs in 17 innings this season — including five in his last outing against the Angels — his underlying indicators align with his 2023 results.

In his brief 2024 sample, Eflin has posted a 6.35 ERA compared to a 4.07 xERA (expected ERA) and a 3.79 xFIP (expected FIP). Pitch modeling metrics put Eflin at 110 Pitching+ thus far (106 last season); he retains elite command over a six-pitch arsenal and he should continue to carry one of the lowest walk rates in baseball.

He's generated a .318 xwOBA (expected weighted on-base average) while permitting an actual mark of .382.

Preseason projections strongly prefer Eflin (projected FIP range of 3.44 to 3.81) to Patrick Sandoval (projected FIP range of 4.04 to 4.29), whose own pitch modeling metrics mirror his indicators from last year.

Eflin optimized his pitch mix after signing with the Rays (3.02 xERA, 3.12 xFIP in 2023) and he could out-pitch his optimistic projections, which factor in the results he generated with lesser command and a different arsenal earlier in his career.

Conversely, Sandoval (4.73 xERA, 4.61 xFIP in 2023; 4.07 and 4.39 this season) remains essentially the same pitcher, and the projections are a more accurate assessment of his true talent.

Additionally, the Rays offense projects better against lefties (120 wRC+ in 2023) than righties (117 wRC+ in 2023). Yandy Diaz (158 wRC+ vs. lefties since 2022), Harold Ramirez (148), Randy Arozarena (150), Isaac Paredes (128), Amed Rosario (123) and Jose Caballero (126) hit better against lefties than righties.

Conversely, the Angels are stuck in their lesser split and project substantially better against southpaw pitching than against right-handers. Los Angeles posted a 104 wRC+ against lefties last season — they rank first against southpaw pitching in 2024 (142 wRC+) — compared to a 100 wRC+ against righties last season and a 94 wRC+ in 2024.

Lastly, the Rays have a bullpen advantage and are the better team defensively.

I project Tampa Bay at -190 in the first five innings (F5) and -178 for the full game — bet those moneylines up to -175 and -165, respectively.

Bets: Rays F5 Moneyline (-175 or better) | Rays Moneyline (-165 or better)

Check out the new-user FanDuel promo code offer before placing your MLB bets!

Pirates vs. Mets

Monday, April 15
7:10 p.m. ET
Pirates Odds
-110o / -110u
Mets Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Martin Perez vs. Adrian Houser

The betting market may be overrating the Pirates and underrating the Mets after their respective hot and cold starts to the season.

New York was projected to win between 77.2 and 80.9 games this season, compared to Pittsburgh's range of 71.3 to 77.5. The Mets also play in a more difficult division.

On paper, the Mets have the superior position player group and a slightly better bullpen, and the starting pitchers on Monday are a relative wash, so why is this game lined so closely with the Mets at home?

Martin Perez (projected FIP range of 4.10 to 4.74; career 4.40 ERA, 4.39 FIP, 4.49 xFIP) and Adrian Houser (projected FIP range of 4.62 to 4.82; career 4.03 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.28 xFIP) are known commodities.

Perez has a 72 Stuff+ and 105 Location+, compared to marks of 74 and 104, respectively, last season. Houser has shown improved Stuff, up from 83 last year to 99 this season, and he remains the higher-upside arm.

I project the Mets offense for a 107 wRC+ against lefties and the Pirates for a 104 wRC+ against righties. Aside from Edwin Diaz, I believe these bullpens relatively equal.

However, if Henry Davis catches for the Pirates, the Mets have an enormous defensive advantage behind the plate. Henry rates as a below-average defender and pitch framer.

At the same time, Francisco Alvarez has generated 94 extra strike calls for his pitchers in 118 games behind the dish over the last two seasons.

Francisco Álvarez's biggest question marks was his defense. Those concerns have been more than silenced:

Strike Rate: 52% (6th in MLB)

Savant Framing Runs: 2 (T-3rd)

Catcher Defensive Adjustment: 1.9 (8th)

CSAA: 0.013 (6th)

Pop Time: 1.94 seconds (73rd Percentile)

— Rohan Patel (@rpat_57) May 10, 2023

Statcast rated Alvarez as the fourth-best pitch-framer last season (+9), behind Jonah Heim (33 extra strikes in 124 games), Austin Hedges (92 extra strikes in 80 games) and Patrick Bailey (88 extra strikes in 94 games).

I projected the Mets at -135 in both halves — bet their moneyline in either half to -126.

Bet: Mets F5 ML (-126 or better) | Mets ML (-126 or better)

Reds vs. Mariners

Monday, April 15
9:42 p.m. ET
Reds Odds
-102o / -120u
Mariners Odds
-102o / -120u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Frankie Montas vs. George Kirby

We bet on Frankie Montas on Opening Day following a strong spring, and he's continued to look sharp following shoulder surgery that cost him the vast majority of last season.

Montas generated a 105 Stuff+ rating (alongside plus command) compared to below-average marks (99 Stuff+, 97 Location+) during his last full season in 2022. He's not quite back to his 2021 form (110 Stuff+, 3.98 xERA, 3.64 xFIP), but Montas should comfortably out-pitch his 2024 preseason forecast (projected FIP range of 4.20 to 4.60) if he can limit homers at Great American Ball Park.

George Kirby has permitted 13 runs in his last two starts — the worst two-start stretch of his MLB career —but Statcast data says that he's been highly unlucky (3.66 xERA; .347 wOBA vs. .303 xwOBA). Pitch modeling metrics (108 Stuff+ in his last start) confirm that Kirby is the same pitcher he's been for his whole career (3.57 ERA, 3.54 xFIP across 59 starts). Projections put him in a similar range (projected FIP of 3.48 to 3.78).

Excellent command (43 walks in 335 career innings) provides Kirby with an extremely high floor; the Guardians and Blue Jays ran hot against him at the plate (.380 BABIP for Kirby; .311 career).

I project an edge on Kirby and Seattle in the first half and bet the Mariners F5 moneyline to -155 (projected -168).

Additionally, the weather in Seattle should benefit the pitchers on Monday: 50 degrees at first pitch, with seven mph winds blowing in from left field. Even though T-Mobile Park has a convertible roof, it doesn't offer any climate control — the sides are open, and the field of play is still exposed to external elements.

I projected the total at 7.18 — bet Under 7.5 to -103.

Bet: Mariners F5 ML (-155 or better) | Under 7.5 (-103 or better)

Zerillo's Bets for Monday, April 15

For additional bet notifications, follow me in the Action Network App.

  • Baltimore Orioles F5 (-116, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -130)
  • Baltimore Orioles (-125, 0.5u) at Superbook (bet to -135)
  • Chicago Cubs / Arizona Diamondbacks, Under 9 (-118, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -118 or 8.5, +100)
  • Kansas City Royals, Team Total Over 4.5 (+100, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -105)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers F5 (-320, 0.25u) at FanDuel (bet to -360)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (+118, 0.5u) at Superbook (bet to +110)
  • New York Mets F5 (-120, Risk 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to -126)
  • New York Mets (-115, 0.5u) at Superbook (bet to -126)
  • Parlay (+118, 0.25u) at WynnBet: Guardians/Red Sox, F5 Over 4.5 (-155) & Los Angeles Dodgers F5 (-312)
  • San Francisco Giants / Miami Marlins, Under 8.5 (-110, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -111)
  • Seattle Mariners F5 (-140, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -155)
  • Seattle Mariners / Cincinnati Reds, Under 7.5 (+100, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -103)
  • Tampa Bay Rays F5 (-160, Risk 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to -175)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (-150, 0.5u) at Superbook (bet to -165)
Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for MLB bettors
The best MLB betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.