MLB Predictions Thursday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (May 30)

MLB Predictions Thursday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (May 30) article feature image
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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 for Thursday, May 30.

MLB Predictions Thursday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (May 30)

Royals vs. Twins

Thursday, May 30
1:10 p.m. ET
BSN
Royals Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-194
8
-100o / -122u
+110
Twins Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+160
8
-100o / -122u
-130
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Brady Singer (KC) vs. Chris Paddack (MIN)

Pitching models significantly prefer Chris Paddack (92 Stuff+, 108 Location+, 106 Pitching+) to Brady Singer (87 Stuff+, 102 Location+, 95 Pitching+).

Singer has an above-average slider (101 Stuff+). In comparison, Paddack owns a plus changeup (113 Stuff+) and curveball (107) and has introduced a slider this season (75 Stuff+), which has been more effective (.214 xBA or expected batting average) than the models suggest.

Earlier in his career, Paddack relied on his fastball and changeup more than 85% of the time combined. That combined usage rate now sits at 70%, with the slider (16.5%) selected ahead of his curveball (13.5%) because he prefers to throw it against righties (23% usage rate) than lefties (11%).

The reduction in fastball usage in Paddack's career aligns with the trend across MLB over the same span. That puts greater emphasis on his elite command — among 153 starters who have tossed at least 30 innings this season, Paddack ranks ninth in walk rate (4.1%) and third in Location+ (108), behind only Joe Ryan (109) and Zach Eflin (110).

More importantly, Minnesota's bullpen has a sizable edge over Kansas City. Twins relievers rank ninth in xFIP, second in K-BB%, sixth in Stuff+ and 12th in Pitching+, compared to bottom-two rankings (30th, 29th, 30th and 29th) for the Royals across the same four categories. I'd project the Twins about a half-run better on season-long ERA, and feel they have underperformed (3.85 ERA, 14th) while the Royals have overperformed (3.98 ERA, 18th) compared to those underlying indicators.

Bets: Twins Full-Game Moneyline (-131 or better)

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Cubs vs. Brewers

Thursday, May 30
1:10 p.m. ET
BSWI
Cubs Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+152
8.5
-104o / -118u
+100
Brewers Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-184
8.5
-104o / -118u
-118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Jameson Taillon (CHC) vs. Colin Rea (MIL)

Surprisingly, Milwaukee has the second-best offense against right-handed pitching (119 wRC+) this season. The Crew rank 21st against lefties (92 wRC+). I only project their offense for a 106 wRC+ against righties.

Chicago's offense has been below average against all types of pitching (96 wRC+, 22nd vs. righties; 94 wRC+, 18th vs. lefties). I expect them to perform better, projecting Chicago for a 104 wRC+ against righties.

Jameson Taillon's indicators (8.5% K-BB% vs. 15.1% in 2023 and 15.4% career) and velocity level (92.5 mph fastball vs. 93.8 in 2023 and 94.5 career) are trending in the wrong direction. His fastball is down nearly two full ticks in two years, and his strikeout rate, which stabilizes more quickly than other data points, has plummeted.

There's similar slippage in Colin Rea's profile (7.1% K-BB% vs. 13.9% in 2023 and 10.7% career). His fastball is down about a tick, and his strikeout rate has dipped by nearly 5% compared to last season.

Still, I give Milwaukee a fairly significant bullpen advantage in this matchup. Both teams rested key relievers on Monday after deploying 14 pitchers combined on Tuesday. The bullpens have comparable results on the season, but Brewers relievers rank fifth in Pitching+ (102) while the Cubs are 28th (98), and I project as much as a half-run differential between these bullpens on season-long ERA.

Bets: Brewers Full-Game Moneyline (-115 or better)

Astros vs. Mariners

Thursday, May 30
4:10 p.m. ET
SCHN
Astros Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-172
7.5
-112o / -108u
+114
Mariners Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+142
7.5
-112o / -108u
-134
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Spencer Arrighetti (HOU) vs. Logan Gilbert (HOU)

Spencer Arrighetti (6.93 ERA in eight starts) has significantly more blowup potential than the other starters we have bet on to suppress runs (George Kirby, Luis Castillo, Bryce Miller, Justin Verlander, Hunter Brown, Framber Valdez) in recent days in Seattle.

However, Arrighetti has also been victimized by a .394 BABIP and a 62.5% strand rate, which should regress toward the MLB averages of .286 and 71.8%. Arrighetti's K-BB% (13%), FIP (3.90), xFIP (4.09) and pitch modeling metrics (98 Stuff+) all suggest that he should be a slightly below-average MLB pitcher — grouped with the No. 4 starters — rather than a replacement level arm.

Arrighetti has a bad fastball (72 Stuff+), and none of his offspeed pitches crack the 100 Stuff+ barrier (99 curve, 93 slider, 86 changeup, 50 cutter). However, he's managed a respectable strikeout rate, which he carried through the Minor Leagues, yet he has struggled with command (11.3% walk rate, 98 Location+), which scouts view as a potential league-average skill.

We've cashed three consecutive under wagers in this Astros-Mariners series and will go for four straight on Thursday. I set this total closer to 7.1 runs.

Bets: Under 7.5 (-105 or better)

Tigers vs. Red Sox

Thursday, May 30
7:10 p.m. ET
NESN
Tigers Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+158
8
-112o / -108u
+100
Red Sox Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-192
8
-112o / -108u
-118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Jack Flaherty (DET) vs. Nick Pivetta (BOS)

Jack Flaherty looked like a Cy Young candidate early in his career (2.75 ERA, 22.8% K-BB% in 2019), but injuries have limited his effectiveness and availability over the past five years.

However, he looks healthy in 2024. Flaherty has the best K-BB% (29.6%) and second-best strikeout rate among qualified starters. His fastball (93.8 mph) is at its highest velocity level since that 2019 season, and he is throwing his slider harder (85.1 mph) and more often (31.8%) than ever before:

Still, pitching models aren't as high on Flaherty — they think he has below-average stuff (98 Stuff+, including 102 on his fastball, 96 on his slider, and 98 on both his changeup and curve) with good command.

The same model loves Nick Pivetta, who has the highest Stuff+ rating (138, including 149 on his slider, 138 on his fastball, 123 on his cutter and 113 on his curve) and third-highest Pitching+ rating (behind Jared Jones and Corbin Burnes) among all starting pitchers. Pivetta found his current pitch mix in July of last season.

Among 135 pitchers who have tossed at least 80 innings since July of 2023, Pivetta ranks third in strikeout rate (33.6%), third in K-BB% (27.5%) and fourth in xFIP (2.91). For all of Flaherty's gains this season, I still rank Pivetta as the superior starting pitcher.

Bets: Red Sox Full-Game Moneyline (-118 or better)

Yankees vs. Angels

Thursday, May 30
9:38 p.m. ET
YES
Yankees Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
-118
8.5
-114o / -106u
-180
Angels Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-102
8.5
-114o / -106u
+152
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Carlos Rodon (NYY) vs. Patrick Sandoval (LAA)

Carlos Rodon has ranked highly on the pitch modeling leaderboards all season, and he has continued to move up while showing improved command (123 Stuff+, 101 Location+, 106 Pitching+ in May vs. 115, 95 and 99 in March and April) and moving away from a new cutter (13.5% in March and April, 2.3% in May).

Patrick Sandoval (13.4% K-BB%, 3.89 xFIP) has had a bounce-back campaign under the hood despite a 5.60 ERA (due to a high .348 BABIP and a low 62.3% strand rate). However, his effectiveness has waned in his past three starts (6.8% K-BB%), and pitching models (99 Stuff+, 98 Location+) see a below-average arm. His Pitching+ rating sits at 97, with a 93 Stuff+ figure over the past four seasons.

The Yankees bullpen has been a potential weak spot (19th in xFIP, 19th in K-BB%, second in Stuff+, 19th in Pitching+), and they used their closer, Clay Holmes, for a second consecutive day on Wednesday. I see a more considerable pitching advantage for the Yankees over the first five innings (F5) than the entire game on Thursday.

Bets: Yankees F5 Moneyline (-160 or better)

Zerillo's Bets for Thursday, May 30

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

  • Boston Red Sox (-112, 0.5u) at FanDuel (be to -118)
  • Houston Astros / Seattle Mariners, Under 7.5 (+100, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -105)
  • Minnesota Twins (-120, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -131)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (-112, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -115)
  • New York Yankees F5 (-150, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -160)

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