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Top MLB Betting Picks for Today's Slate (5/17/19)

Welcome back RotoBallers! Friday May 17th sees a full 15 game evening MLB slate. There are some fascinating games on this slate, with the highlight being a potential ALCS preview between the Red Sox and Astros at Fenway Park.

In this article, we will slice through the numbers and pick out our top recommended betting picks for today's slate. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @benrolfe15 if you have any questions.

So without any further delay, below are my picks for Friday March 17th. Good luck!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!


Los Angeles Dodgers @ Cincinnati Reds (+1.5)

O/U: 9.5

This game should really be a slam dunk if you look at the records. The Dodgers are flying high at 29-16 and the Reds are sub .500 at 20-24. However, the Dodgers have done their damage at home this season and are actually just .500 on the road (10-10). In addition, the Dodgers cover the spread on the road just 30% of the time, while the Reds cover the spread 60% of the time as underdogs. Therefore, in this game, I am going to take the Reds to keep this one close.

In terms of the total, I am expecting a low scoring affair. On the road Dodgers games are 0-3 when the total is set at 9 or 9.5. Similarly, the under is 6-2-1 in all Reds game with this line, and 5-2-0 in games in Cincinnati. I worry a little that Anthony DeSclefani has struggled in his last two starts against the Giants, but prior to that, he had allowed just one earned run in his previous 17 1/3 innings.

Recommended Picks: Reds +1.5 & Total Under 9.5

Houston Astros @ Boston Red Sox (+1.5)

O/U: 9.5

This game is a massive pitching mismatch. Gerrit Cole has not been great this year and yet has a 3.88 ERA. In comparison, Rick Porcello has a 5.15 ERA, despite not facing the scariest of schedules. The fact Cole is pitching for the Astros makes the over hard to go for on the overall total, but Porcello on the mound for the Red Sox puts the Astros team total in play at 4.5. That is especially the case when you consider the Astros rank first in the league in home runs and runs scored this season.

Despite the pitching mismatch, the numbers are in the Red Sox favor in terms of the spread. The Red Sox have covered the spread on 4-of-5 occasions as underdogs, and the Astros cover the spread just less than half the time on the road. Additionally, with the Red Sox offense heating up in May and JD Martinez already having five home runs this month I expect them to be at least competitive. However, the pitching mismatch makes this just a lean on the spread and the Cole factor makes it just a lean on the overall total.

Recommended Picks: Astros Over 4.5, Lean Red Sox +1.5 & Lean Total Over 9.5


Toronto Blue Jays @ Chicago White Sox (-1.5)

O/U: 9

This is an interesting game because the best pitcher faces the best lineup and vice versa. In terms of the spread and the money line, I am staying well away, because it is impossible to trust either team. The White Sox cover the spread less than a third of the time at home, but the Blue Jays could easily be competent and fail to cover the spread as they did Thursday (Sox won 4-2).

The total is what really interests me because the numbers suggest the under is the bet here. The Sox are 6-3 hitting the over at home when the line is set in the 9-to-9.5 region, and they got to Aaron Sanchez in their last meeting. However, to get over nine it would likely require the Blue Jays to score three or more runs as well and they rank near the bottom of the league in every hitting category. Additionally, Blue Jays games have hit the under on 10-of-15 occasions when the line has been set in this region.

Recommended Picks: Under 9


Pittsburgh Pirates @ San Diego Padres (-1.5)

O/U: 7

This game comes with an extremely low total but there is a reason for that. Both of these offenses rank in the bottom third in batting average, OBP and runs scored. The Padres have a good record with home runs, but they generally struggle to turn those home runs into a lot of runs. In fact, Padres home games have hit the under 11-of-16 times when the line has been set between 6.5 and 7.5 this season.

Additionally, I like the underdog in this one to at least cover the spread. One run separated these two on Thursday and I expect that to be a common theme in this series. The Pirates cover the spread 62.5% of the time on the road and 65% of the time as underdog. Conversely, the Padres cover the spread 45% of the time at home and less than 33% of the time when they are favorites. Finally, the Pirates are using Jordan Lyles, who has allowed just four earned runs in his last 16 2/3 innings, and has a 2.09 ERA on the season. Conversely, Joey Lucchesi has a 4.57 ERA and has allowed eight earned runs in his last 14 1/3 innings.

Recommended Picks: Pirates +1.5 & Total Under 7


Minnesota Twins @ Seattle Mariners (+1.5)

O/U: 8.5

This is a matchup between two teams who are hitting the crap out of the ball right now. Thursday's game between them yielded 17 runs. Most of the damage was done off Erik Swanson and Michael Pineda, who allowed a combined 11 earned runs. However, a further six runs came off the bullpens as well. Therefore, there is a good chance this game goes over, even if Martin Perez and Marco Gonzales continue to pitch well this season.

On average this season the Twins are scoring 5.95 runs per game on the road, and the Mariners are allowing an average of six runs per game at home. The Mariners are also averaging 4.71 runs per game at home, and the Twins are allowing 4.67. Weirdly, Twins games with spreads in this region have a tendency to go under (4-of-5), especially given that overall the over has hit in 13-of-21 Twins road games. However, in 6-of-9 games with a spread of 8-to-8.5 have gone over in Seattle.

Recommended Picks: Total Over 8.5


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