MLB Odds & Best Bets: 4 Picks for Monday, Including Guardians vs. Royals & Diamondbacks vs. Braves
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Zac Gallen.
- With 13 games on Monday, our MLB staff has found four best bets.
- It's Zac Gallen day, so two of our best bets involve ways to back him and Arizona.
- Check out their analysis and picks below.
Memorial Day is a great day to watch some baseball, and our MLB analysts have four best bets for you today. They are eying three sides and one prop bet, including two plays on Braves vs. Diamondbacks. Check out their analysis and picks below.
MLB Odds & Picks
Miami Marlins vs. Colorado Rockies
Sean Zerillo: Pablo Lopez will make his first career start at Coors Field on Monday. Generally speaking, I’m less concerned with a changeup-oriented pitcher (37.6% usage) going to Coors – as opposed to a breaking-ball heavy pitcher – whose stuff may flatten out in the thin air in Denver.
Lopez has been underrated for a while now. Still, he’s reached new heights this season (2.86 xFIP, 3.06 SIERA) and shaved an additional half run off of his expected indicators by improving his command and inducing more whiffs (14.4% Swinging Strike Rate; +2.9% over career average).
Rockies starter Ryan Feltner will make his second career appearance at Coors after getting shelled in his September 2021 debut against Atlanta. Feltner is a flyball pitcher who uses his curveball and slider nearly 40% of the time, so his stuff may not translate as well at home compared to other ballparks.
Independent projection systems make Feltner’s FIP (ranging from 4.8 to 5.03) significantly worse than Lopez’s (3.41 to 3.79), but based on Lopez’s 2022 performance, the gap in my Model Weighted ERA is even more expansive (3.19 for Lopez, 4.98 for Feltner).
As a result, I show a significant edge on the Marlins F5 moneyline (projected 65.7% or -192 implied), and I would bet that line up to -175 at a two percent edge. I made a large bet last night at odds of -145 but would decrease my wager at current odds (-160) and a more minor edge.
Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Guardians
Jules Posner: The Kansas City Royals pull into Cleveland to take on the Guardians, and surprisingly, the Royals offense has been incredibly productive over the past couple of weeks. They lead MLB in team wRC++ against RHP on the road since May 15th.
Whit Merrifield is currently on an eight-game hit streak. 1.5 Total Bases seems to be an obtainable mark for Merrifield as he’s eclipsed 1.5 Total Bases in six of those eight games. He’s also posted a .333 BA, .212 ISO, and recorded five XBH over that time span.
He’ll get his first opportunities against Guardians’ starter Zach Pleasac. Plesac is allowing a .295 BA .455 SLG and .364 BABIP at home vs RHH, which bodes well for Merrifield. Additionally, since the rest of the Royals offense seems to be clicking right now, Merrifield may be in line to get five at-bats in Monday night’s match up.
The more opportunities the hot Merrifield gets to extend his hitting streak, the more chances he gets to surpass 1.5 Total Bases.
Right now, this prop is in plus territory, and if you can get it in plus money, even better. However, it could be played into minus territory down to -150. Hopefully he can get his total bases in early as the Guardians’ bullpen is only allowing a .159 BA against over the past two weeks, but when Whit is hot, he is always a threat to get hits.
Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
William Boor: Simply put, Zac Gallen at plus money is hard to pass up. The 26-year-old right-hander has taken a huge step forward under new pitching coach Brent Strom, and the D-backs are 6-2 in his eight starts this season.
Gallen is coming off his worst start of the year — he gave up six runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Royals — but I’m banking on that being an aberration. Despite that rough outing, Gallen’s ERA is a measly 2.22, and his xERA sits at 2.30. He doesn’t generate a ton of whiffs (26th percentile), but he’s tough to square up. Gallen ranks in the 88th percentile in average exit velocity (88.3 mph) and is in the top 10% of the league in xBA, xSLG, wOBA and xWOBA.
There’s been nothing fluky about his early dominance, and for whatever it’s worth (not much), Gallen has pitched against the Braves once in his career (2021) and surrendered just one hit over seven scoreless frames.
Spencer Strider will get the start for the Braves, though it’s unclear how long he’ll be able to pitch. Strider has thrown well this season (2.22 ERA over 24 1/3 innings) but hasn’t started a game. He’s made 11 appearances out of the bullpen, the longest of which was four innings. Once Strider exits, the Braves will turn to a bullpen that ranks 10th in MLB in ERA (3.35 ERA). It’s certainly not a bad unit, but there will be opportunities for the D-backs to score runs.
The Braves’ offense (4.61 runs per game, .704 OPS) has been a bit better than the D-backs’ (3.87 runs per game, .677 OPS) and has the star power of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, but Gallen should negate that.
A couple books have the D-backs listed at plus money. If you can grab that, great. Otherwise, I’d play it down to -110.
Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Mike Ianniello: It might surprise you that as we close out May, the defending World Series Champion Braves and defending basement dwelling Diamondbacks are tied with 23 wins a piece.
Six of those wins for Arizona have come in Zac Gallen’s eight starts. He ranks top 15 in the league among all starters with at least 40 innings with a 2.22 ERA. His xERA is right there at 2.30 as well.
Gallen is coming off his worst start of the season, a blow up outing giving up six runs to Kansas City. It was the only time he has allowed more than two runs in a start. I like Gallen to bounce back Monday against Atlanta. He has a terrific mix of pitches, using a fastball, changeup, curveball and cutter, all of which have produced a negative Run Differential.
Despite the talent in the lineup, Atlanta is just 15th in wOBA and 17th in wRC+. Ronald Acuna has just two home runs this season and has yet to really heat up since his return from injury.
Opposing Gallen will be 23-year-old Spencer Strider who is making his first career start and just 14th big league appearance. During the month of May, Arizona has ranked seventh in wOBA and 10th in wRC+. Ketel Marte is red hot at the plate, and Christian Walker has pounded six home runs in the last two weeks.
The Diamondbacks have one of the worst bullpens in the league, so I want no part in dealing with them. Instead, I’ll play Arizona First Five at +100 or better and back Gallen to have a bounce back game.
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