MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for April 2, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 03: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets celebrates with Francisco Lindor #12 after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 03, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

It was another below-average day, but it’s been better then the last few days. I’m back to the well with two picks I like a lot today.

We are so due for a sweep!

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500.

2024 Record: 7-12 (-5.49 U)

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins @ 4:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Louie Varland vs. Jakob Junis

On the surface, this pitching matchup will only catch a few eyes. Louie Varland doesn’t have much experience, and Junis has bounced around between teams as a reliever and a starter. I’m genuinely intrigued by both of them and with the off-day, both bullpens are rested. Factor in these offenses being below average to start us off; I don’t see nine runs being scored in this one.

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This Brewers pitching lab looks great out of the gate. Freddy Peralta was dominant, DL Hall limited damage, and Colin Rea was very effective. I expect Junis to follow suit, after the Brewer’s felt he was a good get for their rotation. I trust the Brewers thoughts on him, and I especially love what he did last year.

Junis put up a 3.74 xERA and 3.36 SIERA, both well above average marks last year. He’s not a pitcher we should expect more than five innings from, but he has been great in spurts. He posted the highest strikeout rate of his career last year at 26.2%, putting him in the 73rd percentile in the league. He’s a solid pitcher, and with a full offseason in Milwaukee, I like his chances for five innings and two runs.

Varland lines up for the Twins. He’s a pitcher that fantasy baseball players have been enamored with due to his high Stuff+ numbers. Varland definitely has great stuff, he’s just had a problem keeping the ball in the yard. If he was facing a team with a lot of power hitters, I’d be a bit more nervous.

The Brewers have the 22nd-ranked ISO against righties so far, and that’s been the case ever since last year when they ranked 28th in SLG as well. It’s not an offense that I’m scared will burn us in the home run department. We would be in a great spot if Varland could keep the ball in the yard.

This is also an excellent game for bullpens. With yesterday’s off-day, not only are the bullpens fully rested, but they are both fantastic. Even without their closers, I have these bullpens in the top ten. With the closers, they are both in the top five. So far, the Twins have a 1.46 bullpen ERA compared to the Brewers at 3.00.

While Milwaukee is a better park for hitters, Brewers home games are on a strong under streak. In the Brewers’ last 14 home games, the under is 11-3.

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Without Lewis and Kepler, the Twins offense is around league average. The Brewers’ offense is solid, but they don’t match up well against Varland. The total should be at 8, so I see solid value in this. Take this to -115 at 8.5.

Projection: 8 Runs (-115)

The Pick: Twins vs Brewers Under 8.5 (-105) Risk 1.05 Units

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Mets @ 6:35 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Casey Mize vs Adrian Houser

The Mets are 0-4. What a disaster start for them. The Tigers on the other hand are 4-0; an incredible start. They played yesterday and after multiple errors by the Mets, the Tigers came out with a 5-0 win in extra innings. I think the Mets finally get their first win.

I’ve always liked Adrian Houser. He’s consistently well above average at keeping the ball on the ground, limiting the walks, and striking out enough hitters to get out of jams. He pitched in Milwaukee last season to a 4.21 xERA and 4.55 SIERA, which isn’t great, but David Stearns sees something he likes in him. He left Milwaukee to be the GM of the Mets and took Adrian Houser with him. I hold Stearns in very high regard, which means something to me.

The edge isn’t in the starting pitching matchup, as I view Mize and Houser on the same level overall. The edge is in the bullpens, the offense, and the home-field advantage.

The Mets shouldn’t see Jason Foley today, who has thrown back-to-back games. Tyler Holton and Shelby Miller, two of the Tigers’ other solid arms, threw twice in the last three days. The Tigers have a solid bullpen, I view the Mets as the better unit. Fangraphs feels the same way, and sees a bigger gap between them than I do.

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The Mets’ offense has been awful, with runners in scoring position. They are 3-17 with RISP compared to the Tigers, who are 9-24. The Mets have a .214 BABIP, the third-worst in the league. Both offenses are due for regression to the mean in both categories and with the Mets having the better bullpen lined up, they will take it today.

The Mets have the lowest wRC+ in the majors right now against righties, but they were a top-ten unit against them last year. They are facing a pitcher in Casey Mize, who showed excellent flashes during the spring, but it is his first start since 2022, where he put up a 5.97 xERA.

The Mets also face Skubal tomorrow, so they know how important this game will be. I expect that we will get everything the Mets have in this one. Many people got burned on the Mets yesterday, and I see nobody wanting to buy back in. I’ll be the idiot to do it!

The starting pitching matchup slightly leans towards the Mets, with the Mets owning every other advantage as well. I think they get the money off their back and win the season’s first game. Take them to -135.

Projection: Mets ML (-160)

The Pick: Mets ML (-130) Risk 1.3 Units