4 best bets from Friday’s slate including Astros vs Guardians, Blue Jays vs Twins (August 5)

A weekend full of baseball starts this afternoon with the Marlins vs. Cubs at Wrigley Field, but there’s plenty more after that.

Friday’s card features 13 night games, and our analysts have played on four of them. We’re on three underdogs and a favorite in Pirates vs. Orioles, Astros vs. Guardians, Blue Jays vs. Twins, and Rockies vs. Diamondbacks.

Here are our top four bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.

MLB odds and picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Pirates vs. Orioles
7:05 p.m. ET
Astros vs. Guardians
7:10 p.m. ET
Blue Jays vs. Twins
8:10 p.m. ET
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks
9:40 p.m. ET

Pirates vs. Orioles

Take
F5 and ML Pirates
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Mitch Keller vs. Dean Kremer
First throw
7:05 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: Dean Kremer shouldn’t be that big favorite, really ever.

Kremer currently sits with a 5.41 xERA, 4.69 xFIP and is in the bottom 10% of starting pitchers in xwOBA cleared, xBA cleared, and xSLG cleared. In his 10 starts this season, only twice has his xFIP been below four.

Mitch Keller has improved from the past two seasons, bringing his xFIP down to 4.01. The main reason for this is that he improved his fastball speed by nearly 2 mph from 93.8 to 95.7. With this improved speed, the allowed xwOBA has dropped from 0.363 in 2021 to 0.299 this season.

The Orioles are one of the worst fastpitch teams in baseball with a run value of -20.3 on the season and they just traded their top fastpitch hitter, Trey Mancini, who led the team with a run value of +8.8 against them.

I only have the Orioles projected as -102 favorites for the full game and the Pirates as -117 favorites for the first five innings. So I like the value of doubling down on the Pirates +136 (FanDuel) for the full game and +128 (BetRivers) for the first five innings.


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Astros vs. Guardians

Take
Guardians +184
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Framber Valdez vs. Gaddis Hunter
First throw
7:10 p.m. ET

Collin Whitchurch: Who the hell is Hunter Gaddis, anyway?

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound right-hander is set to make his major league debut tonight against the famed Houston Astros. The 24-year-old was a fifth-round pick from George State in 2019 and is Cleveland’s 19th-top prospect according to Baseball America. He is not listed as one of Cleveland’s top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline.

So why should we bet on Gaddis tonight?

The number is simply too high. I don’t know how much we should trust our Hefty Righty – his advanced stats in the minors (majority in Double-A with two starts in Triple-A) – are not encouraging, but he has 114 strikeouts against only 31 steps in 86 1/3 sleeves.

He’s also a product of a Cleveland agricultural system that has a history of helping seemingly low-ceilinged college arms reach another level. (see: Bieber, Shane).

That’s unlikely for Gaddis, who is definitely just getting started here until Aaron Civale returns, but he should give Houston’s roster a dose of the unknown early on before the game is handed over to the relievers – where Cleveland has the advantage.

Framber Valdez throws in contact and the Guardians make a ton of contact. If he induces grounders and soft contact like he is capable of, it will be a tough bet.

But I’m betting Cleveland’s contact approach, Gaddis’ unknown and Cleveland’s elite bullpen as huge underdogs.

There is simply too much value to that number.


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Blue Jays vs. Twins

Take
Twins +112
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Jose Berrios vs. Tyler Mahle
First throw
8:10 p.m. ET

Charlie DiSturco: In front of the Minnesota faithful on Friday night, Tyler Mahle makes his Twins debut against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Recently acquired Mahle has been one of the less fortunate pitchers in baseball thus far. His 4.40 ERA at first glance might be a slight concern, but advanced metrics prove otherwise.

Mahle has a 3.20 xERA and his opponents have a 0.206 xBA and a 0.332 xSLG against the right-hander – both ranking in the top 20% of pitchers. It limits barrels and generates a lot of swings and misses.

Despite that low xBA, Mahle’s BABIP is actually .289, and he’s only blocked 68.6 percent of runners on base, down 5 percent from his career average. These are two areas where I see positive regression coming for Mahle with his new team.

Against him, Jose Berrios, whom I eliminated in 2022.

Walking rate aside, Berrios’ metrics are cause for concern. He has an ERA of 4.96 – even with a strong July – and an even worse xERA of 5.17. Opponents have a .274 xBA and .484 xSLG against the right-hander who is bombed more than 11% of the time.

To put it simply, Berrios has been hit hard and he’s far from the same pitcher of the past few years.

It’s the perfect place to support the Twins and Mahle in his early days. He finally has a capable offense around him and, to me, is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball.

At more money, I love the Twins here.


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Rockies vs. Diamondbacks

Take
Diamonds -130
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
German Marquez vs. Madison Bumgarner
First throw
9:40 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: The Diamondbacks at least seem to have some direction and have leaned into a youth movement while the Colorado Rockies…well, I’m not sure what they’re doing. However, the Rockies are 6-4 against the D’Backs and have won four in seven road games against the D’Backs.

On the other hand, the D’Backs hold a .500 record at home this season, while the Rockies are 17-34 on the road.

Madison Bumgarner gets the start for the Diamondbacks and in addition to being relatively solid at home this season, he also threw seven strong runs en route to a win over the Rockies at home in his last appearance against them. Additionally, he is tackling Team wRC+’s 29th place on the road against LHP over the past month.

His opponent, German Marquez, also pitched seven solid innings against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, while picking up a win. However, the D’backs have the 10th best wRC+ against RHP at home over the past two weeks. They also have plenty of left-handed bats that are both patient and can do damage.

Additionally, the Diamondbacks have a huge bullpen advantage as they have been on fire for the past two weeks. All around, the D’backs have the advantage and their moneyline is around -130.

Depending on where you look, the money also seems to be trending towards the D’Backs. Their moneyline should be -150 game or better.


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