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Free MLB Betting Picks - Today's Best Bets, Expert Predictions, Odds (4/1/23)

patrick sandoval fantasy baseball rankings mlb player news

Welcome to the 2023 baseball season! We’ve got a long summer ahead, and I intend to hit the ground running. I’m excited to work alongside the RotoBaller team, delivering free MLB betting content. I bring a background in betting on MLB in various capacities, most notably competing in the DraftKings live final last year. I'm looking to build off that momentum and capitalize again this baseball season, and I'm cluing you in on my process.

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Here I’ll update you on my favorite MLB bets throughout the season. Follow along for advice, and we’ll track how my picks are doing. Now let’s dig into my April Fool’s Day bets – these are no joke!

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Today's MLB Betting Picks - Tigers @ Rays

O/U: 7.5 | Moneyline: TBR -175

DET: Spencer Turnbull | TBR: Zach Eflin

One of Saturday’s lowest totals also includes one of the slate’s more pedestrian pitching matchups. Neither the Rays nor Tigers bring juggernaut offenses to the table, but the vulnerability and unproven nature of the pitching is undervalued here.

As the most expensive free agent signing in Rays’ franchise history, the expectations are understandably high for Zach Eflin this season. His advanced stats point to a pitcher capable of better. That said, the on-field results have been middling since he arrived in 2016. Over seven seasons, Eflin has posted an ERA below 4.00 just once in his career – 3.97 in 2020, which includes the fewest innings he’s pitched in any season. Eflin surrendered six earned runs in 8 2/3 innings during spring, further shedding doubt on his readiness to step up as an ace.

Speaking of question marks, Spencer Turnbull hasn’t pitched in a regular season game since his July-2021 Tommy John Surgery. The 30-year-old has shown encouraging signs of a bounce-back season during spring, but a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings pitched isn’t enough to put doubts to rest. Turnbull also wasn’t exceptional before the injury, owning a 4.25 ERA in 271 1/3 career innings.

Turnbull built up to 67 pitches in his final spring start, so he should be expected to pitch around five innings if things are going well. This opens the door for significant bullpen usage. Detroit had one of the stronger bullpens in the majors during 2022, but they lost several key pieces this offseason, and the outlook is significantly murkier. Between Arozarena, Franco, and more, the Rays have enough weapons to take advantage and hold up their end of the run total.

All things considered, I like the over on 7.5 combined runs scored. As a bonus, this game will be played indoors, avoiding cold April weather notorious for killing offense.

Pick: Over 7.5 Runs (-120) DraftKings Sportsbook, 1 unit


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Today's MLB Betting Picks - Angels @ Athletics

O/U: 7.5 | Moneyline: LAA -170

LAA: Patrick Sandoval | OAK: Shintaro Fujinami

Let’s set aside that the Angels looked like the same underwhelming Angels on Opening Day, squandering a late lead and losing 2-1. Objectively, they are capable of being one of the most explosive offenses in the league between Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Taylor Ward, Hunter Renfroe, and a refreshingly well-rounded supporting cast. Even Anthony Rendon looks ready to go, coming off the best spring training of his career -- .500/.561/.806 through 15 games. Yes, they stumbled out of the gate, but there’s no denying that their lineup towers over Oakland’s.

I know we aren’t meant to put much stock in preseason, but on April 1st, that’s some of the best evidence we have available. The Angels finished first in the Grapefruit League this spring with an 18-11 record and a +32 run differential. They were also without Trout, Ohtani, and Patrick Sandoval for most of the spring due to their respective deep runs in the World Baseball Classic. Now the whole cast is together.

Speaking of Sandoval, he has emerged as one of the more popular sleeper picks in fantasy baseball for 2023. The hype has been growing for him following a 3.62-ERA campaign in 2021, then a 2.91-ERA output in 2022, and he cemented his status with a dominant performance in the World Baseball Classic. Between his success in the WBC and at spring training, Sandoval totaled 2 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings pitched this preseason. He’s built up to 79 pitches in his most recent outing, so Sandoval should approach a normal workload on Saturday.

On the flip side, 28-year-old pitcher Shintaro Fujinami makes his MLB debut for Oakland. The Japanese signing has flashed an upside, but his outlook is shaky. Fujinami demonstrated serious pitch control issues throughout spring, walking 17 and hitting another batter across 18 2/3 innings. This issue has plagued him during his ten-year NPB career, where he owns a lifetime 4.1 walks per nine innings. Fujinami may pan out in the long run, but I’m looking at the Angels to capitalize on his unresolved strike-throwing problem today.

Both teams feature weak bullpens, so handing out an edge there is hard. However, thanks to a noted advantage at starting pitcher and a night-and-day superior batting lineup, I’m very comfortable taking the Angels to win here at -1.5 runs. A lineup headlined by Aledmys Diaz, Seth Brown, and Jesus Aguilar simply does not stack up well against Patrick Sandoval and an opposition featuring Trout, Ohtani, Ward, and more firepower.

Pick: Angels Run Line (-105) DraftKings Sportsbook, 1 unit


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