MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Friday (3/31)

Mar 31, 2023 - 10:10 AM

The Houston Astros failed to set a record yesterday, as their ten-game winning streak on Opening Day was tied for the longest in MLB history. However, plenty of history was made by others, as Logan Webb and Gerrit Cole made Giants and Yankees history, respectively, by setting their franchise records for most strikeouts on Opening Day.

What is in store for the second day of the MLB regular season?

YTD: 3-0 (+3.8 units)

Also, take a look at our other best bets for Friday:

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Today’s Best MLB Bets

(Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook)

New York Mets (-118vs. Miami Marlins (+100) | O/U 8 (-110/-100)

Marlins starter Jesus Luzardo had a tale of two halves last year. At the end of May, Luzardo had a 4.03 ERA and 3.73 FIP. However, from August on, Luzardo pitched to a 3.17 ERA over his final 12 starts, which lowered his ERA to 3.32 at the season’s end. The problem is that one of those end-of-the-year starts was against the Mets and was his worst outing of the year, as he allowed five earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. In addition, in two starts against New York, he allowed 20 fly balls to just nine ground balls. That is troubling for a pitcher whose career first-half ERA is 5.64 compared to 4.29 in the second half and whose HR/9 rate is nearly a full home run higher early in the season.

Meanwhile, per Michael Simione on Twitter, Mets lefty David Peterson had a higher whiff rate than pitchers like Kevin Gausman, Charlie Morton, and Nick Lodolo last season while posting a better xFIP than George Kirby, Joe Musgrove, Cristian Javier, and Dylan Cease (two of whom were All-Stars last year). In addition, Miami batted an MLB-worst .208 against left-handed pitching last year, which gives the Mets the edge in this early-season tilt.

Pick: Mets ML (-118)

Chicago White Sox (+136vs. Houston Astros (-162) | O/U 8 (-105/-115)

With Justin Verlander’s departure to the New York Mets, Cristian Javier is not only thrust into a full-time role as a starter (he was used as a reliever for five of 30 appearances last year) but is expected to be dominant at the top of the Astros rotation. Javier is ready to make the jump after posting career highs in nearly every statistical category.

Javier’s 11.74 K/9 rate was third behind Shohei Ohtani and Carlos Rodon last year, and his 19% hard contact rate allowed was fourth in the league. The 26-year-old has never thrown more than 148.2 innings in his short three-year career, but we are not concerned about fatigue or an innings limit this early in the season.

While the White Sox had the seventh-lowest strikeout rate last year (20.7%) and ranked fourth in BABIP (.304), they were 26th in ISO and hit the sixth-fewest home runs in the American League. Meanwhile, Chicago starter Lance Lynn is coming off a season with his worst ERA, WHIP, hits per nine innings, and strikeout per nine innings rate of the last three seasons. In addition, his 4.30 ERA through spring training does not inspire confidence when facing the current Astros he has allowed a .338/.410/.610 slash line to in 68 career at-bats.

Pick: Astros RL (+132)

Arizona Diamondbacks (+158vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-188) | O/U 8 (-110/-110)

In many ways, 2022 was Merrill Kelly’s best season yet, as his winning percentage (.619), FIP (3.65), and HR/9 rate (0.9) were all career bests despite leading the league with 33 starts and throwing over 200 innings for the first time. However, the Dodgers have always been a thorn in his side, as he is 0-9 with a 5.97 ERA in 12 career starts against them. That includes an 0-5 record and an 8.25 ERA in five starts last year (his best statistical year) with an eye-popping 1.958 WHIP. In addition, Kelly’s 6.97 ERA at Dodger Stadium is his worst at any visiting stadium where he has made more than one start.

The following is the list of Dodgers who have hit better than .300 against Kelly with a minimum of 16 at-bats against him: Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, and Will Smith. In addition, the first three players on that list all have an OPS of 1.124 or better against Kelly in their careers. Thus, history suggests the Dodgers are in for an offensive explosion today.

Pick: Dodgers Team Total Over 4.5 (-110)


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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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