MLB Best Bets, April 21st 2023

Three different games stick out on Friday's MLB slate. It's a new day with a new set of winners. Let’s rock.

Jose Ramirez
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 16: Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) is congratulated by Cleveland Guardians second baseman Andres Gimenez (0) after hitting his second home run of the game during the second inning of the the Major League Baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Guardians on July 16, 2022, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For those of you who have been watching the Not Gambling Advice stream, I’ve been appearing and giving my picks. Throughout the season, I will continue to make my picks on the show, which streams on YouTube and Twitch every day from 4:00 to 6:30 ET.

If you tuned into the stream yesterday, then you know Krabs Bets and I had ourselves a showdown. He was on the Giants while I was on the Mets. It was always the Mets! New York cashed our two-unit play yesterday, and we are beginning to heat up again. We lost yesterday on the Twins, going 1-1 overall, but if you watched the game once Kenta Maeda got hurt in the third inning, it all went downhill. Injuries and plays like that happen, but the Mets came in clutch for us last night! New day, new set of winners. Let’s rock.

Just so we all know, I’m using BetMGM lines only this year. Here’s a link to get started with a risk-free $1000 bet. You can also use code “JB200” if you’re betting on MLB. Wager $10 on any MLB game and receive $200 instantly. All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.

2023 Overall Record: 56-32-1 (+30.23 U)

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Miami Marlins vs. Cleveland Guardians @ 7:10 PM ET

Pitching Matchup: Braxton Garrett vs. Zach Plesac

The Guardians opened this game as a -115 home favorite and have been steamed up to -135. The line has really moved in their favor, and they match one of our systems we have used all season. Interleague favorites continue to be profitable; they are 48-22 this season and hitting at 69%. Both of these teams had a day off yesterday, and in these spots, the favorite continues to win. When both teams are coming off an off day, the favorite is 21-7!

This is also a fishy line move for me. Think about it: the Marlins just won two out of three while the Guardians are coming off a series loss yet they are the favorite. From a numbers standpoint, Zach Plesac is the worse pitcher in this matchup, with a 6.92 ERA compared to Braxton Garrett’s 3.38 ERA. The line is moving in Plesac’s favor when it shouldn’t, but with a twenty-cent line move in their favor, we are going to pull the trigger on Cleveland.

The Play: Guardians ML (-135) 1.35 U to win 1 U

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers @ 8:10 PM ET

Pitching Matchup: JP Sears vs. Jon Gray

This might turn into a system play. Fade the Oakland A’s. The Athletics have lost their last five series openers in a row, the only time they won one was on Opening Day against the Angels. They have been outscored in series openers 54-26 and are currently on a seven-game losing streak. In this matchup, I’m not going to overthink it, and we are going to back the Texas Rangers.

Jon Gray has pitched pretty well for the Rangers to start the season. He’s 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA. When looking at Statcast, Gray ranks in the 89th percentile in chase rate. This Oakland lineup has struck out 163 times this year, and with Gray’s high chase rate, I don’t see the A’s hitters having much of a chance. On the flip side, this Rangers offense has been producing. They have put up double-digit runs in back-to-back games, and Sears isn’t a pitcher this lineup fears.

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It’s worth noting that the Rangers opened up as a -180 favorite and have been steamed up to -205 already. I don’t plan on paying that type of juice, but for a team that has won four straight games and has a 6-3 record at home, I see Texas handling business tonight. All they have to do is win by more than one.

The Play: Texas Rangers -1.5 (-105) 1.05 U to win 1 U & Rangers TT O4.5 (-120) 1.2 U to win 1 U

Boston Red Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers @ 8:10 PM ET

Pitching Matchup: Nick Pivetta vs. Freddy Peralta

In this game, we are primarily looking at the starting pitchers. Nick Pivetta comes in with a 4.50 ERA and is coming off of a performance in which he gave up six earned runs in four innings pitched. Freddy Peralta is the better pitcher in this matchup, with a 3.18 ERA, and he’s looking to bounce back after his last start, in which he gave up five runs in a loss to the Padres.

Now it’s time to crunch the numbers. Pivetta ranks in the bottom one percent of the league in hard-hit percentage and has a 6.08 xERA according to Statcast. He also ranks toward the bottom in xERA/xwOBA, barrel percentage, and xSLG. Going into this matchup, he has to face the Brewers, who just swept Seattle on the road and are looking for their fifth straight win.

Freddy Peralta has been lights out, his last start notwithstanding. He ranks in the upper percentiles in K%, xBA, xERA/xwOBA, and fastball velo according to Statcast. We have tailed Peralta a couple of times this season, and he has a career 20-10 record at American Family Field. This is a great bounce-back spot for Peralta, and I have him outdueling Pivetta tonight. Let’s go Brew Crew.

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The Play: Brewers F5 -1/2 (-115) 1.15 U to win 1 U