Mondays are a light day in Major League Baseball, right? Wrong. While a few teams are off for travel, we’ve got a nice 13-game slate to pick from today, and our analysts have found angles on nearly half of them — six, to be exact.
From Tigers-Royals to Phillies-Dodgers and everything in between, we have betting angles on the first five innings, full-game moneylines, a Coors Field total, and a few live underdogs.
Here are our staff’s six best bets from Monday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals
Sean Zerillo: It’s essential to use several data points to analyze pitchers, as Matthew Boyd (3.94 xERA, 3.81 FIP, 4.91 xFIP, 4.62 SIERA) and Brad Keller (6.54 xERA, 4.63 FIP, 4.33 xFIP, 4.69 SIERA) are comparable by some measurements of expected performance, but not others.
Publicly available projections like ZIPS, Steamer, and THE BAT put Keller’s FIP between 4.43 and 4.56 the rest of the season and have Boyd’s projected range between 4.15 to 4.75 – so Detroit’s lefty seems the more complicated pitcher to pin down moving forward.
In 2021, Boyd has primarily avoided a plague of homers which have haunted him in the past (career 1.62 HR/9, 13.7% HR/FB rate vs. 0.79 and 6.8% this season), but his strikeout minus walk rate (12.2%) has also dipped to a four-year low.
Boyd is pounding the zone (career-high 71.4% first-pitch strikes; 46.3% zone rate, highest since 2015) and getting fewer whiffs, but more called strikes (17%, highest rate since 2015) and while the Royals have some players who hit lefties well, they have struggled against southpaws as a team (91 wRC+, 23rd) this season.
The homers will catch up with Boyd at some point, but I projected the Tigers as a slight F5 favorite (51.3%) on Tuesday, and I have their full game odds set at 46.25%). I would bet those lines to +105 and +130, respectively, and I would also take a share of their F5 spread, +0.5 runs, up to -125.
Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Tanner McGrath: Adam Wainwright’s stats don’t pop off the page at you, but I love watching Ole’ Reliable pitch.
He’s become reliant on his curveball, and it’s easily been his most-effective pitch this season. Opponents are hitting just .204 with a .367 SLG and a .254 wOBA on the pitch, and he’s produced a -3 run value on 379 curveballs.
Meanwhile, the Marlins don’t like hitting the curveball, as they’re 21st in MLB this season in weighted curveball runs created at -4.9. I love betting Miami, but I think this may be a letdown spot for them after winning their last series against the Braves.
Meanwhile, Miami has its southpaw prospect Braxton Garrett on the mound tonight. He’s a soft-throwing four-seam pitcher who has been good at keeping his exit velocity down, but outside of that, he hasn’t been awesome in his professional career.
He’s pitched seven innings in the majors this season and has allowed five earned runs on eight hits and four walks. Garrett’s also made five Triple-A starts this season, and if you exclude his most-recent start (5 IP, 0 ER), Garrett posted a 4.12 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP over 19 2/3 Triple-A innings.
Now the Marlins expect Garrett to be effective against Nolan Arenado and a Cardinals offense that ranks fourth in OPS against left-handed pitching this season (.787). Moreover, the Cardinals have posted an OPS above .800 and wOBA over .350 against southpaws over the past two weeks.
If that’s not enough to convince you, the Cardinals have posted a .303 BA, an .806 OPS and a .350 wOBA against LHPs at home this season.
Tonight, I’m looking for the Cardinals’ offense to knock the young Garrett around early while Wainwright throws curveballs deep into this game. I’m backing the Cardinals to lead after the first five innings at anything better than -130.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Brad Cunningham: Tyler Glasnow is in the middle of the best season of his career. He has a 2.78 xERA and 2.73 xFIP, and the biggest reason for his improvement from last season is he’s utilizing his offspeed pitches more often.
Last season, Glasnow went to his fastball more than 60% of the time, which made him predictable even though he has a fastball that can top out at 100 mph. This season, he’s added a slider and gone to his fastball less often, which in turn has improved the effectiveness of his top three pitches.
Lance Lynn is about as straight forward of a pitcher as they come. His top three pitches that he utilizes are fastball, cutter and sinker, and he goes to them more than 90% of the time.
Although he’s having success with those three pitches, this is a bad matchup for him because the Rays are top-six against both fastballs and cutters. Oh, and they also have four guys in their lineup with a wOBA over .400 against sinkers.
I think Glasnow is a little undervalued in this game, so I’m going to take the Rays first five inning line at -108.
San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies
Mike Ianniello: Taking an under at Coors Field? What a lunatic. While that may be true, I think this number is adjusted a little too much for the home ballpark. Obviously the thin air in Denver makes this the most hitter-friendly park in baseball, but enough to overcome these two offenses?
The Colorado offense is one of the worst in the league, even with the inflated home numbers. Over the last month, the Rockies rank 28th in the league in wOBA and last in wRC+ at 64 (100 is average). Even with half their games in the high altitude, they have hit the fewest home runs in the league over the last month and rank 29th for the whole season.
The Rockies will have Austin Gomber on the mound and he has been their best pitcher this season and particularly solid lately. Gomber has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last six starts and has a 1.57 ERA over that stretch. He has also pitched surprisingly well at Coors Field and is 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA and has allowed just three earned runs in four starts at home.
One of those home starts was against these Padres when he allowed no earned runs and just four hits over 5 1/3 innings. In two starts against San Diego this year, Gomber has allowed just one earned run over 11 1/3 innings while striking out 13.
The Padres continue to be overvalued, especially on offense, because of the big names in the lineup. However, their bats are just ice cold right now. Over the last two weeks, San Diego ranks dead last in the league in batting average (.197), wOBA (.265) and wRC+ (69). They are averaging just 2.6 runs per game over the last two weeks, also the worst in the league.
And their big names just haven’t been hitting well. In the last two weeks Manny Machado is batting .279, Fernando Tatis Jr. is hitting .222, Wil Myers is at .214, Jake Cronenworth is hitting .196 and Eric Hosmer has been a brutal .136.
I know the thin air is great for offense, but I don’t know if even Coors Field is enough to help these two offenses right now.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Oakland Athletics
Kenny Ducey: It’s hard to choose between which offense is more appealing here. The A’s have been red-hot with a 124 wRC+ over the past two weeks, have won nine of 11 games and come in with a combined 17 runs in their last two games. The Angels, meanwhile, have the second-best wRC+ in the league over the last two weeks at 133, and have a top-10 wOBA against left-handed pitching this year.
That’s why this line is so puzzling to me. Is Sean Manaea that much better than Dylan Bundy? Is he better than Dylan Bundy at all? I’d argue he’s not — he’s overpriced here thanks to two bounce-back outings against the Diamondbacks and Mariners, two of the worst lineups in baseball.
Before that, he was hardly convincing in two outings against the Angels, where he walked five and gave up 10 hits, but managed to survive with just two earned runs. He’s got a .252 expected batting average against him according to Baseball Savant, backing up the fact that he’s been extremely fortunate to post the 3.09 ERA he has.
The Angels are better than they were the last time Manaea saw them, and Bundy on the whole is far better than his 6.16 ERA, considering his hard-hit rate has been relatively OK, his strikeout and walk numbers are stable, and he’s got a 4.19 xERA. I think this is a great time to hop on L.A. as a ‘dog.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Kevin Davis: The LA Dodgers have a 39-26 record and are the defending World Series champion. Even though they are in second place in the highly competitive NL West, they are on track to win 97 games.
IF you had blindly bet on every Dodgers money line this season, then you would be down 4.97 units for a -7.6% return of investment (ROI). Of winning MLB teams, only the Yankees have a worse ROI.
On Monday night, the Dodgers host a resurgent Philadelphia Phillies team. Philly is coming off a three-game sweep of the Yankees this weekend and is only three games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East. With their lineup at full strength after missing several games because of injuries, the Phillies need to be taken more seriously going forward.
Combined, both Philly and LA’s starting pitchers for Monday’s game have only pitched 15 1/3 innings this season. With an unpredictable pitching situation and a strong Phillies lineup, the underdogs are worth a shot at +145 and I would bet them up to +135.