MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for April 3, 2024

Three MLB Picks for Wednesday, April 3, 2024!

Nathan Eovaldi
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 23: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 23, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

How about a winning day yesterday? Felt good. Felt right.

We had two picks yesterday, and one of them was postponed. We cashed our under in Milwaukee for the 1-0 day. Today, I’m back with three picks. Two picks are in the same games we bet on yesterday. I also added a player prop that’s +115 and showing excellent value.

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

2024 Record: 8-12 (-4.49 U)

Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers @ 1:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Chris Paddack vs. Joe Ross

This starting pitching matchup is priced incorrectly. Joe Ross has a great story, but Chris Paddack is a whole tier above him, and it is priced as a pick-em. I thought the run line should be -105, so I had to jump when I saw the first five ML at -110.

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Chris Paddack bounced around after multiple injuries but found a spot with the Minnesota Twins in 2022. He didn’t pitch much last season due to injuries, but when he returned, the Twins found a spot for him in the rotation and bullpen.

His stuff looked a lot better than it did in 2022. His fastball increased to an average of almost 96 MPH from the previous 93 MPH mark. He threw three shutout innings to end his season in September, then 3.2 IP in the playoffs with one hit and six strikeouts. I thought he looked great, and now that he’s healthy, Paddack has plenty of upside.

He’s facing a Brewers offense that has started well against righties, putting up a 112 wRC+, good for 11th in the league. I do see some regression coming for the offense, as they’ve way overperformed compared to the quality of the contact they are putting up. They rank in the bottom ten in ISO, xwOBA, and hard hit rates. It’s a good offense, but the early numbers inflate what the market thinks of them.

Joe Ross toes the rubber for the Brewers. Similarly to Mize, Ross last threw in Major League Baseball a while ago. Mize’s last outing was in 2022, and Ross’s previous outing was in 2021 with the Washington Nationals.

He was decent in 2021, putting up a 4.24 xERA in 108 innings with an average strikeout and walk rate. Overall, he has been fine, but he has one issue the Twins can exploit; facing left-handed hitters.

In his career, lefties are hitting .291/.371/474 with a .361 wOBA. Righties drop to .235/.279/.374 with a .281 wOBA. Ross is rocking a 4.99 FIP and 4.91 xFIP vs lefties with a 3.49 FIP and 3.57 xFIP against righties. He should see a left-handed dominant lineup today: Julien, Kirloff, Kepler, Wallner, Santana, and Castro. The other two righties are Buxton and Correa. I love the matchup today against Ross, who is making his first start in years.

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When Ross gets removed, it’s a crapshoot. I still think the Twins win, but once relievers come in, the Twins pinch-hit for some of these lefties. Once the game moves past the five-inning mark, the Brewers’ edge gets better. I’m taking the most significant edge in this game, Paddack vs. Ross. Take the Twins’ first five innings ML to -120.

Projection: Twins First ML (-140)

The Pick: Twins First 5 ML (-110) Risk 1.1 Units

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Mets @ 7:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Casey Mize vs. Adrian Houser

I’m in New York right now. It’s supposed to rain all day. I hope they get this game in, but it’s still very much up in the air. I am betting it if they play because I still think the Mets are the right side. If you missed yesterday’s writeup, here it is with a few changes.

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.

At the end of the season, I don’t think we’ll see much of a gap between Houser and Mize. However, in Mize’s first start since 2022, and with Houser being a veteran with a fresh arm, I see an edge in today’s game. The Mets also have the edge in the bullpen, offense, and home field.

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The Tigers are the better defensive team, playing better baseball. That’s not enough to get me off the Mets. Fangraphs feels the same way about the bullpen and sees a more significant gap between them than I do. That’s the only edge people may disagree with.

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 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)

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The Pick: Mets ML (-125) Risk 1.25 Units

Player Props

Nathan Eovaldi Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+115) Risk 0.5 Units

When looking at overs on strikeout props, looking at who is pitching at Tropicana Field is a good place to start. As you can see, it’s the number one ballpark for strikeouts according to baseball savant’s park factor.

Nathan Eovaldi’s fastball velocity averaged 95.8 MPH in his first start, a slight increase from the 95.1 mark he averaged in 2023. As long as the stuff looks the same, I still have confidence he can rack up strikeouts today. Luckily, he’s a pitcher who tends to give the Rangers lengthy starts, so we should get a lot of opportunities.

The Rays are striking out a lot in their last few games. The last three pitchers they’ve faced, Kevin Gausman, Dane Dunning, and Andrew Heaney, have all been over six strikeouts. Heaney and Dunning recorded seven strikeouts in this series.

Eovaldi has faced the Rays plenty of times. In 112 PA, he’s racked up a 29.5% strikeout rate with a .167 opponent batting average. We have him projected for 6.1 strikeouts, so I like this at a plus price. I would bet this down to +100.

Projection: 6.1 Strikeouts – Over 5.5 (-110)