MLB Picks, Odds, Predictions for Giants vs Astros, Cubs vs Nationals on Monday, May 1
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Garcia.
- The MLB slate on Monday, May 1, is light with just nine games.
- Our baseball experts have four best bets, notably on Cubs vs. Nationals and Giants vs. Astros.
- Continue reading for their expert MLB picks and analysis below.
Major League Baseball has a small slate on Monday with just eight games, including this afternoon’s doubleheader between the Braves and Mets.
That hasn’t stopped our MLB experts from finding value. Among the eight games, we have bets on three of them, including a pair on Giants vs. Astros, to go along with a pick each on Cubs vs. Nationals and Guardians vs. Yankees.
Here are our best bets from the MLB slate on Monday, May 1st.
Monday 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.|
Cubs vs. Nationals
By Jim Turvey
A pair of southpaws toe the rubber on Monday night in Washington, as the Cubs take on the Nationals.
Both Drew Smyly and Mackenzie Gore have gotten off to strong starts this season, Smyly with a 3.21 ERA and Gore with an even lower 3.00 ERA.
So why am I targeting Smyly and the Cubs?
Smyly has achieved his success this season by genuinely limiting good contact. His 2.38 xERA is in the top eight percent in the league, and his 84.1 percent exit velocity allowed is in the top four percent. When combined with his highest strikeout rate since 2020 and the lowest walk rate of his career, it’s a great recipe for success.
Gore has the pedigree to make me a believer, I just have a few worries still. His 5.33 BB/9 rate is the fourth-highest of the 76 qualified pitchers this season. He’s been dancing around it thanks to an 80.7 percent left on base rate this season, but against a Cubs team that is the second-best offense against lefties this season, I see it coming back to haunt him on Monday.
I like the first five inning moneyline but also the full game because the Cubs have a better pen and neither bullpen is at a rest advantage.
I’d play the Cubs to -150.
Pick: Cubs -135
Guardians vs. Yankees
By Kenny Ducey
Hope you have some cash handy, because it’s time yet again to fade an uninspiring Guardians pitcher. This time, Cal Quantrill has the honors of losing a game Cleveland really should win.
Yes, Aaron Judge remains out with a hip injury. Yes, the Yankees have been terrible at the plate. Yes, Domingo Germán’s ERA sits above five runs. That won’t matter with Quantrill on the hill.
The right-hander’s strikeout rate continues to fall, going from a respectable 23% a few seasons ago all the way to 12.8% this season – one of the worst in the league. His sinker continues to get knocked around to the tune of a .296 batting average and a .544 expected slugging percentage, and I think a Yankees side which does still rank sixth in hard-hit rate over the last week will be able to convert plenty of batted balls into hits.
On the other side of things, while Germán’s 5.23 xERA may not immediately offer any hope I’m not ready to pull the plug on him after just five starts. He was tremendous last season and his numbers have been spectacular outside of his fastball – which carries with it an insane 1.058 xSLG. Cleveland is the third-worst fastball hitting team in the league and may also see a decline in the contact it so desperately leans on considering Germán’s stellar 30.8% strikeout rate.
I expect New York to get back in a groove here at home against a pitcher who has consistently disappointed over the years.
Pick: Yankees -134
Giants vs. Astros
I’ve never been to Mexico City, but I have had too much tequila the night before a big event. And let me tell you, my performance on a quick turnaround was not up to normal standards. The Giants don’t even have a day off to recover from their two-game series in Mexico and head to Houston for a Monday night bout.
While they probably weren’t clubbing with their button downs in Mexico City, a bottle of 1942 in one hand and a baseball in the other, they were playing a pair of games at an altitude of 7,320 feet.
If you don’t think that’s high, it’s 41% higher than Coors Field!
The Giants have a better offense than Colorado, but I think it’s worth pointing out the home/road splits for the Rockies. Their offense hits near-.290 with a .438 slugging in Coors, a number that drops to .220 and .332, respectively, on the road.
The series opener was more of a Home Run Derby than an actual game and after a two-day, hard-fought sweep at the hands of the Padres, the Giants sluggishly return to face Luis Garcia.
I’m buying low on Garcia, who ranks in the top 20% of all pitchers in hard-hit% and both chase and whiff rate. He’s shored up on barrel rate and has seen his strikeout numbers increase across the board.
Relying on his cutter more — .213 xBA, his best pitch — Garcia generates a whiff% of 42.6 on that pitch. That, paired with his changeup, have been his best two put-away pitches, despite the low usage on the latter.
San Francisco already has the highest strikeout rate in the majors, and now has an awful travel schedule, even if it’s a short flight from Mexico City to Houston. Strikeouts are often rally-killers, and the Giants’ offense has not shown much for me to trust them.
Tack on the fact that Houston’s bullpen is second in xFIP, and even if Garcia runs into trouble, the Astros’ relief corp has the depth and talent to shut the door without any issues.
Rather than trusting Ross Stripling in a full-game position, I think the Giants TT under 3.5 is the way to attack this game. Look to fade the Giants in their first game back on U.S. soil in an altitude not close to 7,000 feet.
Pick: Giants Team Total Under 3.5 (-108)
Giants vs. Astros
By Nick Shlain
One of my favorite bets on the slate for Monday is Astros pitcher Luis Garcia to go over 6.5 strikeouts.
Garcia has gone over this number in each of his last three games with seven, nine and seven strikeouts in those outings. He is a big strikeout pitcher with a 25% strikeout percentage since the beginning of last year and a 27% strikeout percentage this year, and he’s struck out 31 batters in 27 innings so far this year.
Garcia also gets a good matchup here going up against the San Francisco Giants. The Giants’ projected lineup has a combined 24% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching this year and a 26% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching since the beginning of last year.
With strikeout upside coming from both the pitcher and his opponent, I like this bet a great deal. It’s become a popular bet today as the odds have moved at other sportsbooks.
Make sure you get the best odds you can find here.
Pick: Luis Garcia Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-119)
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