MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for May 1, 2023
Being transparent is key; my picks have stunk up the joint the last three days. It’s a long process, and we still ended the late March-April season up 4.19 units. Just a reminder, we ended the month of May up 6.5 units in 2022. We ended that season with 44 units in our pocket. Historically, I really heat up during the summer time; April and May tend to have some variance. I’m still happy with where we sit today, let’s start the May off with some bnagers.
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 “JBFANS” if you’re betting on MLB. Wager $10 on any MLB moneyline and receive $100 once the bet is settled.
All prop entries will be on PrizePicks: Here’s a link to get a 100% deposit match.
2023 Straight Plays Record: 43-36 (+4.19 U)
2023 PrizePicks Entries: 4-12 (-1.4 U)
I will track both records separately so you can track how I’m doing on game picks and PrizePick entries!
San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros @ 8:10 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Ross Stripling vs. Luis Garcia
The scheduling really hurts the Giants here. We love to fade teams coming off a series at Coors Field or the Rockies themselves after a long homestand. The reason behind it stems from the Visual Memory Index. Basically, after a team plays at high altitude, then plays at sea level without an off-day to adjust, they often struggle offensively because their eyes pick up the ball differently. It’s a real phenomenon in baseball that has helped us profit over the last two seasons.
This is an even larger example, as the Giants just played a two-game series in Mexico City. Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú is 7,503 feet above sea level, while Coors Field is 5,200 feet above sea level. We don’t have any data on teams returning after playing at this specific stadium, but based on past data of teams leaving Coors, I’m expecting the Giants’ offense not to show up.
They also don’t have an easy matchup today. Luis Garcia has been on a roll, tossing 13 straight scoreless innings against the Blue Jays and the Rays. He didn’t just luck into this, he’s made tangible changes from his previous rough starts to begin the year. Garcia’s cutter is phenomenal and he’s throwing it much more than he has been. Right now, it’s at 42.9% usage rate, but it’s been north of 50% in his last two starts and his fastball usage has decreased. The fastball has been his main issue, as it’s the only pitch with an xwOBA against over .270. With a steady diet of cutters and offspeed pitches, Garcia can be a very solid number two in a rotation.
Following Garcia will be an elite Astros bullpen. They are fourth in bullpen ERA and second in SIERA.
Ross Striping is having a really rough start to the season. He’s allowing a lot of hard contact; his Hard-Hit rate is at 46.2%, the highest of his career. It’s led to his 6.89 ERA and 8.39 xERA, ranking in the fourth percentile in Major League Baseball. Stripling faced the Astros once last season, allowing five hits and three earned runs in four innings of work.
The Giants offense should be extremely slow coming off the series in Mexico City and the Astros should have no problems with Ross Stripling. I’m fading the Giants offense while also taking a stand on the Astros through five innings
The Picks: Giants Team Total Under 3.5 (-125) 0.62 U to win 0.5 U, Astros First 5 Innings -0.5 (-120) 0.6 U to win 0.5 U
Cincinatti Reds vs. San Diego Padres @ 9:40 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Luke Weaver vs. Blake Snell
The scheduling really hurts the Padres here as well. As stated earlier, we love fading teams coming off a series at Coors Field or the Rockies themselves after a long homestand. The reason behind it stems from the Visual Memory Index. Basically, after a team plays at high altitude, then plays at sea level without an off-day to adjust, they often struggle offensively because their eyes pick up the ball differently. It’s a real phenomenon in baseball that has helped us profit over the last two seasons.
This is an even larger example, as the Padres just played a two-game series in Mexico City. Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú is 7,503 feet above sea level, while Coors Field is 5,200 feet above sea level. This one is a bit different than the Giants, due to the fact that Petco is a more difficult part to hit in than Minute Maid. Not only that, but it’s currently raining in San Diego, and the weather at first pitch appears to be in the high 50s with the marine layer making it more difficult for balls to fly out of the park.
I think the Reds are a decent play today on the ML, but I’d rather fade the Padres offense at such a high total. Considering they are the home team and it’s more likely they win, there is a solid chance we only see eight innings of hitting from them. They don’t have a particularly tough matchup, but it still should be challenging for them to put across runs.
Luke Weaver isn’t great, but he is facing a Padres offense that ranks 18th in wRC+ against righties, and that’s factoring in the 10 runs they scored in two games off right-handed pitching. Weaver’s 7.71 ERA is definitely concerning, but his 31.4% strikeout rate is fantastic, and his 5.73 xERA points to modest positive regression. Home runs have been his major problem, allowing five in two starts. Not only will it be challenging to hit home runs at Petco today for everyone, but it’ll be much more difficult after playing at a stadium at sea level compared to 7,500 feet the day before.
The Reds bullpen has been much more effective than a lot of people realize. They rank eighth in SIERA, 12th in ERA, and 11th in both FIP and xFIP. There aren’t a lot of flashy names, but they do have a solid group out there capable of slowing runs. The ballpark will also be in their favor, as it’s going to be challenging to hit at all.
The full game under and a sprinkle of the Reds through the first five are good plays, but easily my favorite is this team total. Laying the juice, it’s worth it.
The Pick: Padres Team Total Under 5.5 (-140) 1.4 U to win 1 U
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers @ 10:10 PM EST
Pitching Matchup: Taijuan Walker vs. Tony Gonsolin
We fade the road team who has to travel off Sunday Night Baseball. As you all know, I rarely like to take the Dodgers as they are normally one of the most publicly backed teams. No matter, we follow the system.
The system hit at a 63% rate last season if you took the ML straight up. For me, I always prefer to play it early, taking the team through the first five innings as I figured the bats would be slow out of the gate. We switch around depending on price, and this system alone netted me 13.6 units last season.
Normally, I’d just take the Dodgers through the first five innings and be done with it, but ballparkpal is calling for a 13% decrease in overall run scoring, only second to Petco Park today at -17%. It’s supposed to be in the high 50s, and at night in Los Angeles, the park turns from a league average park to a bottom ten park to hit in by park factor. The air is more dense and it’s harder to put the ball in the air.
The Phillies will face Tony Gonsolin, who hates when hitters put the ball in the air. In his first start, he kept 50% of balls on the ground, and 43.2% the season before. He was removed from the game early in his last start as he was only allowed 65 pitches. He threw 3.1 innings and allowed two hits and three walks. The command was not where it needed to be, but we can give him a pass considering it was his first start back.
The Phillies have been a very solid team this year against righties, but we’ve had tougher opponents in this spot before. They sit with a 109 wRC+ against righties altogether and a 108 wRC+ against right-handers on the road. Gonsolin faced the Phillies last season, tossing six quality innings while only allowing three hits and one earned run. That was also in Philadelphia during the summer months, where the hitting environment is much easier.
Taijuan Walker will face the Dodgers after a up-and-down start to the season. He’s allowing a ton of walks but is keeping the ball on the ground and forcing double plays to get out of it. That can only work for so long, and against this Dodgers team, it will be tough. They rank fourth in baseball against righties in wRC+ at 117, but turn it up a notch at home, rocking a 123 wRC+.
The one worry for this bet is the Dodgers bullpen. They have not been up to par to start the season, ranking 25th in bullpen ERA. However, we should expect positive regression, as they rank 15th in SIERA and FIP. Everyone should be available today, maybe outside of Evan Phillips, who has thrown the past few days, but only threw 8 pitches last night.
Considering the Phillies team total was plus money, I had to jump. I will also be taking the Dodgers to win through five innings as that’s the system we always play.