I hope you are all religious people because baseball may need your collective thoughts and prayers. On a day where 20% of the MLB slate was postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks, commissioner Rob Manfred warned the Players Association that the season was at risk. Nevertheless, since there’s still action going on, we will still put in the research to guide you to daily winners.
Here are my top MLB betting plays for Saturday (Odds courtesy FanDuel Sportsbook).
YTD: 17-10-1 (+6.34 units)
Cleveland ML (+102)
Through two games of a critical early-season series. The Indians have limited the red-hot Twins offense to just four runs. However, they have just a split to show for it thus far, as their offense has scored only three combined runs themselves. Cleveland’s bats will look to break out against Twins starter Kenta Maeda who is making his Target Field debut. Maeda has never faced the Indians in his career, but Cleveland’s disciplined lineup should make things tougher on him than the free-swinging White Sox did in his first start.
Meanwhile, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was sensational in his debut, striking out 10 Royals and cruising through six innings. As hot as Minnesota’s offense has been, they have shown that they are vulnerable to power pitchers. Thus, I’m betting that Cleveland’s offense can give Carrasco enough run support before turning it over to their sixth-ranked bullpen late.
Atlanta ML (-126)
In theory, baseball teams should be able to turn the page easily after a bad loss. Many teams take the approach with just getting a series win on their minds, and a good starting pitcher’s performance can erase all the misfortune from a previous day. However, the way the Mets lost yesterday’s game should sting so badly that there is some carry-over into today’s meeting.
New York squandered an 8-2 fifth-inning lead against the team they figure to be chasing at the end of the season for the NL East title. Their bullpen has played a significant role in four of their five losses, and their 7.09 ERA is the third-worst in the majors. Meanwhile, Braves relievers have pitched to a 3.78 ERA and should certainly come in handy, as the team plans to limit starter Touki Toussaint to 70-75 pitches. As long as Toussaint can avoid a crooked inning early, look for Atlanta’s bats to shred the Mets relievers late and build off yesterday’s thrilling win.
Los Angeles Angels ML (+130)
The Los Angeles Angels are 0-2 since Mike Trout was placed on paternity leave. They have lost five of their last six games, including a 9-6 loss in the series opener against the Astros. They face a former Cy Young award winner and one of Houston’s best pitchers on Saturday in Zack Greinke. And they are only a meager +130 underdogs?
This line smells like the oddsmakers in Vegas know something and are purposely making it enticing to wager on Houston’s relatively small moneyline given the circumstances. However, the early betting trends show that sharps are on our side as well. Just 30% of bets and 38% of the money thus far has been wagered on the Angels, yet their line has dropped from +143 to +130. We will prefer to be on that side of the reverse line movement each and every day.
Tampa Bay Rays to Score First and Win (-132)
If you agree that the Rays are the right side against the Orioles on Saturday but don’t want to lay -210 on the moneyline, this is a great way to get creative and not break the bank. Tampa’s odds to score first are -265. They are -295 in the “Race to two runs” line. All things considered, odds of -132 is not a steep price to pay for a team that is heavily projected to go on to victory.
As the visiting team, Tampa will get the first crack on offense, and they will look to pound Orioles starter Wade LeBlanc early. He let up an early home run to Boston’s Christian Vazquez in his first start, and then he labored through 5 2/3 total innings. LeBlanc isn’t a big strikeout pitcher, so look for the Rays to make contact early and often to create havoc on the basepaths. In addition, Rays starter Tyler Glasnow recorded nine strikeouts in four innings in his debut, and he should only be stronger in his second start.
Padres-Rockies OVER 12.5 runs (-118)
There don’t need to be fans in the stands for the altitude of Coors Field to have an effect. Granted, 6 of the 15 runs in yesterday’s opener came in the ninth inning. However, this is a play that Padres starter Joey Lucchesi will struggle mightily once again in this environment, as he allowed a career-high eight earned runs in his last start at Colorado.
Meanwhile, Rockies starter Kyle Freeland has pitched to a 4.34 ERA in his career at home. In addition, there is a chance that Padres slugger Eric Hosmer returns to the lineup after battling a stomach illness over the last three days.
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