MLB Predictions Today | Odds, Picks for Padres vs Diamondbacks, Mets vs Giants, More for Thursday, April 20
Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
It’s a relatively quiet Thursday in Major League Baseball, with just seven games on the slate, including two this afternoon.
Our MLB analysts have found action on more than half of them. We have bets to recommend on those two afternoon affairs — Twins vs. Red Sox and Angels vs. Yankees — as well as Padres vs. Diamondbacks and Mets vs. Giants this evening.
Here are our best bets for the MLB slate on Thursday, April 20th.
Today’s MLB Best Bets for Thursday, April 20
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.|
Twins vs. Red Sox
By D.J. James
The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins have both been below average against right-handed pitching, and they will face one another Thursday with righties starting the game.
On the season, the Red Sox only hold an 8.3% walk rate and 94 wRC+ with a right-hander on the bump, while the Twins are even worse with a 7.5% walk rate and 86 wRC+.
Building off of that, ERA does not tell the entire story of this matchup. Houck has a 4.50 ERA against a 2.90 xERA. He is permitting some hard hit balls, but he holds an above average strikeout rate and .303 xSLG. Essentially, the Twins will not be getting many extra base hits with him in the game. He will walk batters (12.1%), but this number has been higher than in past seasons and should come down a bit.
Maeda has a similar story with a 4.09 ERA against a 2.71 xERA. He allows some hard hit contact but literally walks no one this year in two appearances. He will eventually walk a batter, but his career mark is only 6.9%, so do not expect many free passes for Boston. His Average Exit Velocity is 90.7 mph this season but is 86.5 mph over the course of his career, so he should see some positive regression.
Boston’s bullpen xFIP has been below average, but has a few quality arms to go to after Houck leaves.
Minnesota has the fourth-best bullpen xFIP at 3.51, while walking less than 8% of hitters.
With solid pitching and weaker-than-average hitting in this game. Take the under to 8.5 (-110).
Pick: Under 9 (+100)
Angels vs. Yankees
By Nick Shlain
Nestor Cortes is out to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. Cortes made his first All-Star team in 2022, posting a 2.44 ERA over 158 1/3 innings and winning 12 games with the Yankees.
After three starts this year, Cortes has a 2.60 ERA and has completed at least five innings in all of his starts. In his last start, though, Cortes completed seven innings and despite allowing two home runs he also struck out seven batters. One of my favorite bets on the slate Thursday is for Cortes to go over 5.5 strikeouts.
Cortes has a 22% strikeout percentage this year after posting a 26% strikeout percentage last year. His career strikeout percentage is 25%. The Angels aren’t exactly a strikeout-heavy team, but Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Hunter Renfroe, Anthony Rendon and Brandon Drury all struck out at least 20% of the time against left-handed pitching last season.
Cortes is a strikeout pitcher, though. If he’s effective in this game and can go at least six innings, he should be able to cover this number easily making it a value at these odds.
Pick: Nestor Cortes Over 5.5 Strikeouts (-115)
Padres vs. Diamondbacks
Let’s go back to the well with Action Network’s favorite baseball team – the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Snakes have been a cash cow in April, largely because their speed, athleticism and defense have thrived underneath the rule changes. Arizona is seventh in stolen bases, third in Defensive Runs Saved and first in Outs Above Average.
Arizona also has a plethora of young pitching talent, including today’s starter, Ryne Nelson.
It’s been a fine start for Nelson, and the peripherals suggest it could get better (3.71 ERA, 3.20 xERA). He gets by almost entirely on his fastball, which sits only around 94 mph, but he can really spin it, so it rises more than the average fastball (about two inches more).
Ryne Nelson ⛽️
6Ks thru 5 pic.twitter.com/jaxqm6QiSS
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 13, 2022
That bodes well against the Padres, who finished 23rd in weighted fastball runs created last season and rank 26th in that stat through early 2023.
And who wants to back the Padres right now anyway?
Xander Bogaerts is producing, but the rest of the lineup looks excruciatingly mediocre, with the whole team hitting to a 91 wRC+.
Sure, Fernando Tatis Jr. returns Thursday, but what can we expect from him after nearly two years off the field?
If anything, the hype only makes the 9-11 Padres overvalued.
And who wants to back starting pitcher Michael Wacha?
The 31-year-old boasts an ERA and xERA north of 6.00. And I’m betting his soft-tossing, changeup-heavy approach flails in front of the league’s 18th-ranked Defensive Runs Saved team (advantage Snakes), especially because the Diamondbacks rank top-15 in weighted changeup runs created.
The Diamondbacks also boast a bullpen advantage. San Diego used its top two relievers (Josh Hader, Luis Garcia) on Wednesday, while Arizona rested four of its top five guys.
Our Snakes are again undervalued, and I’ll keep buying them until I can’t anymore.
Pick: Diamondbacks +126
Mets vs. Giants
By Kenny Ducey
Kodai Senga hasn’t really been tested to this point in his major-league career, facing the Marlins and Athletics in his first three starts of the season. That’s why it’s troubling to me that his numbers aren’t better. The Japanese import has held his ERA to a respectable 3.38, but he’s now walked 10 batters in 16 innings and registered a tough .416 xwOBA on contact.
Senga is up against a Giants team ranked 10th in barrels per plate appearance and 11th in hard-hit rate. To this point, they’ve been the 11th-best offense in baseball and rank fifth in Isolated Power. This is a significant step up in competition for Senga, who hasn’t exactly made it through his first three starts without issue. I expect him to struggle.
On the other side, Sean Manaea should really struggle. The lefty is once again giving up barrels and hard-hit balls like they’re going out of style and has posted a dismal .540 xwOBA on contact. He’s coupling some worsening walk numbers with awful quality-of-contact results, which should be troublesome against a Mets team with a 10% walk rate and respectable .156 ISO against lefties.
I like the Over.
Pick: Over 8.5 (+100)
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