MLB Picks, Odds, Predictions for Braves vs Mets, Mariners vs Blue Jays (Friday, April 28)
Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Friday in MLB means a loaded slate with plenty of marquee matchups.
- Action Network’s MLB staff has best bets on the following games: Braves vs. Mets, Orioles vs. Tigers and Mariners vs. Blue Jays.
- Continue reading for analysis and picks below for Friday, April 28.
Friday’s MLB schedule is jam-packed, and there’s plenty of value to be found.
Our analysts have four bets to recommend across three games, including Orioles vs. Tigers, Mariners vs. Blue Jays and Braves vs. Mets.
Here are our best bets for the MLB slate on Friday, April 28, 2023.
Editor’s Note: Orioles vs. Tigers has been postponed.
Friday’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.|
Orioles vs. Tigers
By Nick Shlain
Baltimore Orioles rookie starter Grayson Rodriguez has struck out at least five batters in all four of his starts this year, the only four he’s ever made in the major leagues.
Rodriguez has a 28% strikeout percentage and struck out six in his last start at home against the Detroit Tigers. One of my favorite bets on the slate for Friday is Rodriguez to go over 5.5 strikeouts at -137.
Rodriguez is facing the Tigers again, this time on the road. Detroit is one of the worst offenses in the league because they strike out so much. The Tigers’ projected lineup today has a combined strikeout percentage of 25% against right-handed pitching this season. Tigers shortstop Javier Baez may or may not be in the lineup today after getting hit by a pitch on the wrist recently and missing yesterday’s game. Baez has just a 15% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching this year, though he had a 26% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching last year.
Either way, Rodriguez has shown early in his career that he’s a big time strikeout pitcher and he should once again be able to cover this number in this matchup.
Pick: Grayson Rodriguez Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-137)
Mariners vs. Blue Jays
Very simple handicap here: I’m betting on Luis Castillo against Alek Manoah.
Castillo has been masterful in the early going, sitting with a 1.52 ERA and 2.72 xERA through five starts (averaging almost six innings per start). His 25 K-BB% is top-10 in baseball, and it fuels a 1.67 FIP.
Castillo is surprisingly throwing his fastball more than ever, generating an absurd 40% Whiff rate. His secondary pitches (sinker, slider, change) are all still nasty, but I am surprised by the fastball development (especially when you consider his velocity is actually down).
Manoah was a regression candidate before the season, but I’m not sure we expected this fall from grace. His xERA is approaching 7.00, and he’s walking over 13% of batters (up from 6.5% last season).
Specifically, Manoah’s slider is getting crushed. Opponents are slugging .684 on the pitch, and his slider whiff rate has been cut in half. He’s lost about an inch of slider break, and his slider Stuff+ number is down from 111 to 93 year-over-year.
Toronto is crushing the ball, which is expected, but Castillo should hang with the Jays better than Manoah hangs with the Mariners. Seattle is also in its preferred split (100 wRC+ against righties, 79 against lefties).
I’d rate the bullpen and defense matchup as a wash, so I’m pretty content catching the Mariners as slight road dogs with a huge starting pitching advantage. The best price is plus-money at BetRivers, but I’m happy playing the M’s at -110 or better.
Pick: Mariners +102
Mariners vs. Blue Jays
Alek Manoah has gotten a lot more attention for his poor start to the 2023 season, but Luis Castillo’s decrease in velocity makes him more vulnerable early in the season too. He ranks in the top 10 among MLB starters in lost velocity on his fastball this season, and the resulting drop in Stuff+ makes his projected ERA considerably higher than it was in the preseason.
His fastball sits at just an 87 stuff+, per Eno Sarris’ model from the Athletic, and his overall Stuff+ is well below average at 89. It hasn’t translated on the field at this point in the season because Castillo has a career best early season K-BB%, but he could run into trouble against the Blue Jays offense that is elite against fastballs. Toronto was a top three offense against the heater last year.
An early season velocity dip is nothing new for Castillo, as he often takes time to build up to peak velocity as his arm and the weather warms up throughout the season. He’s a notorious slow starter in the past and a few excellent starts to begin the year doesn’t change that, especially when his velocity just isn’t there.
Manoah’s problems are much more widely discussed because of his mediocre underlying peripherals. The Blue Jays righty doesn’t have a single pitch that registers as above average by Stuff+. Given that he used to rely heavily on his elite slider to get outs and whiffs, and that slider has seen a drop off this year, Manoah is a significantly more compromised pitcher. He’s still capable of shoving — like he did in the Bronx on Saturday — but the Blue Jays righty is more prone to blow ups too given his middling command grades.
Both starting pitchers come into this game overvalued, and thus I’m going to bet the overs. I’d bet the over 4.5 in the first five innings at -115 or better and the full game over 8.5 runs up to -115. Both offenses may be in their worse offensive platoon split, but both pitchers project for a 4.00+ ERA in their rest of season numbers. Castillo will likely be a bet on pitcher later once his velocity returns, but he’s not right now.
I’d bet over 8.5 at -115 or better
Pick: Over 8.5 (-115)
Braves vs. Mets
By Jim Turvey
David Peterson and Max Fried square off on Friday in a pitching matchup that skews heavily to the latter.
Fried and the Braves are on the road and are doing so after a lengthy rain delay Thursday, but the play here is simply on the delta between the two starters.
Fried has a 0.60 ERA this season; Peterson has a 7.36 ERA this season. Now, we are less than a month into this season, and obviously the true talent gap between these two isn’t that big in actuality, but the gap is real.
Fried is once again proving that he is truly able to be one of the game’s most elite pitchers without massive strikeout rates. In fact, he is sporting a career-low strikeout rate, but he also has a career-low xERA thanks to his incredible ability to limit hard contact. His exit velocity allowed this season is 81.7 mph — in the top two percent of the league. His hard hit rate allowed of 19.5 percent is also is that elite top two percent. This is not a small fluke — he’s been in the top 10 percent in the league in terms of low exit velocity allowed each of the last four seasons.
Peterson, on the other hand, has a massive home run problem. It is at the root of his lofty ERA, and while a bit of that has been bad luck, he’s got a terrible matchup to try to flip that luck around. Atlanta owns the second-hardest hit rate against lefties this season, and its 14 home runs vs southpaws is tied for the most in baseball.
I like the first five inning moneyline to -145, but I also like the run line (-0.5 is +105 at PointsBet), and because of Peterson’s home run potential, I’ll even sprinkle the highest alt spread you can find (Atlanta -3.5 +520 at FanDuel).
Pick: Braves F5 (-145)
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