MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Monday, May 20, 2024

Craig Kimbrel #46 and Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrate a win with teammates after the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 10: Craig Kimbrel #46 and Adley Rutschman #35 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrate a win with teammates after the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

We lost on the Tigers as our underdog of the day. They almost had it in the end, but it wasn’t enough.

Today, I have two picks: one player prop and one money line. Let’s get hot.

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

2024 Record: 51-61 (-11.76 U)

Baltimore Orioles vs. St. Louis Cardinals @ 7:45 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Dean Kremer vs. Sonny Gray

This game resembles when we faded Sonny Gray against the Brewers. The Cardinals are a respected team by the books, and Sonny Gray is one of the best pitchers alive. Due to that, the Cardinals tend to be overvalued in their starts. If we remember, that line also moved against us, and the Brewers blew them out 7-1.

I have a few trends backing the Orioles today. When the total is at 7.5 or greater, and it’s the first game of the series, the Orioles are 61-28 on the ML (68.54%) for a staggering 35.78% ROI.

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Since the start of 2021, when their opponent lost their previous game, and it’s the first game of the series, and neither team had a rest day, the Orioles are 51-29 (63.75%) for a 31.81% ROI.

Since the start of last season, fading the Cardinals as favorites in the first game of a series has been profitable. Teams in the Orioles spot are 27-12 (69.23%).

Can Dean Kremer lead us to victory? I think he has a great shot at limiting damage here. He’s been a road warrior over his career, posting a 4.13 FIP on the road compared to a 4.90 FIP at home. Last season, it was the same story, posting a 3.97 FIP on the road versus a 4.88 FIP at home. This year, it’s even more stark (2.78 FIP at home vs 6.65 FIP on the road).

His xERA is 5.24, which is definitely concerning. However, in his last three seasons, he has continually outperformed his expected metrics. His xERA has been a full run higher since 2022 and hasn’t mattered much.

The Cardinals rank 18th in xwOBA this year against all variations of fastballs. Kremer relies heavily on his four-seamer, sinker, and cutter, which is not the best matchup for the St. Louis offense.

Sonny Gray lines up on the other side. He’s been struggling lately, allowing 11 earned runs in his past two starts over 11 innings against the Angels and Brewers. The Orioles haven’t been as good as the Brewers this year against righties, but they are better than the Angels.

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You have to stack lefties against Gray to have a chance. He’s so good against right-handers (.205 BA, .278 wOBA) but can be beaten against lefties (.263 AVG, .301 wOBA). The Orioles will send Gunnar, O’Hearn, Cowser, Mullins, and Adley. Hopefully, Anthony Santander is back in the lineup, and I’d also like to see Kyle Stowers in there. Regardless, more of the lineup he’ll face will be left-handed.

Gray relies on his curveball and cutter as his second and third most used pitches outside his four-seamer. The Orioles have the sixth-best xwOBA against curveballs and are the best in baseball and cutters.

The Orioles gain an edge in the later innings. The only relievers in the Cardinals bullpen that have yet to throw at least 30 pitches in the last three days are John King (3.00 ERA) and Kyle Leahy (5.59 ERA). King is a lefty, putting the Orioles in their preferred split. The Orioles can hit Leahy. The rest of them will not be in a good rest spot. Helsley is fully rested, but he only pitches in the ninth when it’s tied or they have a lead. If they have a lead, it’s probably over anyway.

Every pitcher will be available in the Orioles bullpen today except Cionel Perez (7.11 ERA). It’s an elite bullpen, so I doubt we see much scoring from the Cardinals after Kremer exits.

I would take the Orioles to -110.

The Pick: Orioles ML (+100) Risk 0.5 Units

Player Props

Ben Lively Under 17.5 Pitching Outs (+105) Risk 0.5 Units

Regression is beginning to hit for Guardians starter Ben Lively. He’s allowed three runs in each of his last two starts, where he failed to go over 17.5 pitching outs. That was against the White Sox and Rangers, which are not exactly great offenses right now.

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In May, the Mets are a top-ten offense against righties, rocking a 108 wRC+. The Rangers rank 15th, and the White Sox rank 27th. The only times he’s been over this line are against the Red Sox and Angels, two offenses that aren’t as good as the Mets are against righties.

The Mets match up well against his pitch mix. Lively relies primarily on his sinker, four-seamers, and sweeper. The Mets are in the top ten in xwOBA against sinkers and sweepers. They are 18th against four-seamers, but that’s the lone pitch opponents are hitting over .300 against Lively.

Beyond the matchup, Lively has yet to be an innings eater. Ben Lively has failed to exceed 17.5 outs in ten of his last 13 games (15.5 outs/game average). This season, he’s been under this line in four of his six starts.

The Guardians’ bullpen is the best in baseball, and they are in a fantastic rest spot. While Clase may be unavailable, the Guardians have six relievers who have yet to throw more than 15 pitches in the last three days.

I know it’s forecasting later in the week, but the Guardians have an off day on Thursday. If Stephen Vogt feels that his starters aren’t performing well, they should deploy the bullpen sooner rather than later. If it’s close, he goes to the bullpen.

Lively is below average in every metric outside of extension off the mound. His 4.21 xERA and 4.33 SIERA tell me that negative regression is coming, and with a rested bullpen, I don’t think Lively will go six innings. Take this down to -125. Keep the risk at 0.5 units.

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