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Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Saturday, April 3rd (2021)

by April 3, 2021

Major League Baseball already has its first COVID-19 outbreak of the 2021 season, and the Mets-Nationals series was officially canceled on Friday. So far, at least, those have been the only two teams affected. The Mets are currently scheduled to sit out the weekend and then make their debut on Monday against the Phillies. The Nationals, the team dealing with the outbreak here, has an uncertain short-term future because of contact tracing.

Other than that unfortunate situation, though, baseball is back, and it has been glorious for the first couple of days. The balls are still flying out of the ballparks, although perhaps not quite at the rate we saw in 2019 and 2020. Starting pitchers, though, had a rough couple of days. Even some of the best starters in the game (Clayton Kershaw, Jack Flaherty, Luis Castillo) got lit up on Opening Day.

Every team except the Mets and Nationals played on Opening Day, but Friday was a lighter slate. On Saturday, we have another full slate (except for the Mets and Nationals). Major League Baseball is even giving us several afternoon games on Saturday, so we can adjust our evening bets based on how the afternoon goes.

Here are my top betting plays for Saturday, April 3.

Houston Astros over Oakland Athletics: -1.5 (+130)

-1.5
+130
o9
-105
-125
JOIN NOW
+1.5
-150
u9
-115
+115

A common theme you will see in this space during the season is taking advantage of pitching matchups. This is exactly that. The Oakland Athletics are sending Cole Irvin to the mound, and, well, Cole Irvin isn’t very good. He won the fifth starter job in spring training but is unlikely to stick in the A’s rotation for very long. Irvin had a strong Spring but has a 6.75 career ERA across 45 1/3 innings in the big leagues over the last two seasons. Maybe Irvin surprises and carries his strong Spring into the season in this opening start against the Astros, but I’m happy to bet against him here.

On the other side, the Astros are sending Lance McCullers Jr. to the hill. McCullers recently signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension and has a 3.70 ERA with 10.00 K/9 over 508 2/3 MLB innings over the last five seasons. A’s first baseman Matt Olson is 0-for-10 with four strikeouts against McCullers in his career, while outfielder Mark Canha is 1-for-9 (.167 AVG). The A’s have started off the season 0-2 and desperately need a win to avoid starting 0-3 against a division rival, but this pitching matchup doesn’t bode well for their chances.

Bet: Houston Astros over Oakland Athletics -1.5 (+130)

Chicago White Sox over Los Angeles Angels -1.5 (+125)

-1.5
+125
o8.5
-120
-125
JOIN NOW
+1.5
-145
u8.5
100
+115

This is another early lopsided pitching matchup. The Chicago White Sox send Lance Lynn to the mound, while the Los Angeles Angels are countering with Alex Cobb. Five White Sox regulars have faced Cobb three more times in their career, and each has a batting average of .400 or higher. None of those hitters have faced him more than five times, but all five have had early success against him and clearly see the ball well coming out of his hand. Billy Hamilton is the only White Sox hitter to face him more than five times and is 0-for-7 for his career against Cobb, but he is unlikely to start and is therefore irrelevant for this discussion.

As for Lynn, he has had success against the Angels’ top hitters. The incomparable is batting just .231 against Lynn in 28 career plate appearances. Albert Pujols: .091 in 12 plate appearances. Justin Upton: .077 in 18 plate appearances. David Fletcher: .200 in 10 plate appearances. The White Sox are without young superstar outfielder Eloy Jimenez for the next few months, but that hasn’t stopped them from scoring 15 runs over their first two games against two pitchers in Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney who are better than Alex Cobb.

Bet: Chicago White Sox over Los Angeles Angels -1.5 (+125)

Los Angeles Dodgers – Colorado Rockies OVER 11.5 runs (-105)

-1.5
-150
o11.5
-105
-219
JOIN NOW
+1.5
+130
u11.5
-115
+199

Trevor Bauer cruised through six no-hit innings on Friday night. The Dodgers got out to a 10-0 lead and appeared to be headed towards the tough decision of allowing Bauer to continue pursuing a no-hitter in a game that was clearly over on April 2. And then the 7th inning happened. Bauer allowed two two-run home runs and was chased from the game, and David Price promptly entered the game and allowed another pair of home runs. Just like that, we had a 10-6 ballgame on our hands. The final scored ended up being 11-6.

Major League Baseball reportedly “deadened” the baseballs a bit this offseason, but the early results have been rather inconclusive. And, of course, we have to take the Coors Field effect into account here. The Dodgers send young ace-in-waiting Walker Buehler to the mound, but the Rockies are countering with Jon Gray. Gray pitched to a 6.69 ERA last season and has been prone to the long ball throughout his career, while the Dodgers have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball. This one could get ugly.

But the Rockies have a few players who see Buehler well, too. In 40 career plate appearances, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is batting .389 with a 1.119 OPS and two home runs against Buehler. Though it is a smaller sample size at just 10 at-bats, Raimel Tapia is batting .556 with a 1.267 OPS vs. Buehler for his career. Garret Hampson has had some success, as well. The bet here is more about the Dodgers to crush Gray than anything else, but the Coors factor and early offense in this series point to them rolling right by the 11.5 total runs number in this one.

Bet: Los Angeles Dodgers – Colorado Rockies OVER 11.5 runs (-105)

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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaherand visit his Philadelphia Eagles blogThe Birds Blitz.

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