MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Sunday, June 2, 2024

Charlie Morton
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 26: Charlie Morton #50 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning during Game 1 of the 2021 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

We went 0-1 on our MLB picks, as Tobias Myers fell one strikeout short of going over 4.5 strikeouts (+105). I seriously loved that prop; it almost made it a two-unit play. I was shocked to see the White Sox have that much success against him, but that’s baseball for you. No regrets there.

We lost a half unit on our college baseball pick. I took the over in the Tennessee game, and Tennessee’s AJ Causey destroyed the NKU bats. The Volunteers did their job, putting up nine runs, but Northern Kentucky’s three runs were not enough to surpass the 14.5 total.

Yesterday, I took an off day because I moved to a different apartment. Hopefully the change in scenery can put us on the right path in June.

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

2024 Record: 55-65 (-12.52 U)

Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs @ 2:20 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Nick Lodolo vs. Ben Brown

I love this pitching matchup. Ben Brown is one of my favorite young arms, and Nick Lodolo has a fantastic matchup. Factor in bullpens on solid rest schedules and wind blowing in, and we should see a lower-scoring game.

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The first two games have been relatively high-scoring, with game one ending 5-4 and game two ending 7-5. In game one, Ashcraft got hit up by the Cubs, which makes sense, considering he’s always needed a better start against them. The Reds scored three of their five runs against the Cubs bullpen. Both teams made plenty of errors in game two, and the Cubs only gave up one earned run. The Cubs only had six hits but scored seven runs.

I’m bringing this up because these two offenses are not hot. We get a stinker today, as these offenses don’t get as lucky for three straight games.

The Reds face off against Ben Brown today. Brown is coming off an incredible outing, allowing no hits in seven innings. Usually, I’d be apprehensive to back a pitcher coming off that good performance, but the man has been dealing for a month now. He’s allowed just 11 hits and three earned runs in 23.1 innings in May for a 1.16 ERA. He’s striking out batters at a 30% clip. His curveball is fantastic, and he’s locating 96-98 MPH at the zone’s top.

He faces off against a lackluster Reds offense. Over the last two weeks, this Reds offense has a 79 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, which is the fourth worst in baseball. They have a .630 OPS in that span, the fifth-worst in the game. This month, that wRC+ drops to 75, the second worst in the league. They have the second-highest strikeout rate and fourth-worst ISO. No power, lots of strikeouts, and minimal contact. Happy to fade them.

Nick Lodolo faces off against the Cubs. There was no worse offense against lefties in May than the Chicago Cubs. Since May 1, they have a 64 wRC+. They posted the worst OPS and second-lowest ISO. In the last two weeks, they have had 23 wRC+, the worst in the league. They are hitting .170 against lefties in their previous 150 AB.

The Reds will have five relievers that are all on good rest schedules. Alex Young returning to this bullpen gives them an excellent lift, as he’s been back over three appearances without allowing a run. Moll, Farmer, and Suter are all ready to go, and we have Alexis Diaz for the ninth with a day of rest.

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The Cubs bullpen will also have everyone available outside of Hector Neris. While Neris is a good reliever, he’s already allowed a run in this series, so I don’t mind him not being available. I’m not in love with this Cubs bullpen, but knowing they are in a good spot and facing a lousy offense makes me confident in backing them.

We also have 7-10 MPH wind blowing straight in today, dampening power throughout the game. In this series, these two teams have manufactured runs by the home run ball, and it will be the hardest of any game to do so. Take the under down to 7 (+100).

The Pick: Under 7.5 (-105) Risk 0.525 Units to win 0.5 Units

Oakland A’s vs. Atlanta Braves @ 1:35 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Luis Medina vs. Charlie Morton

The Athletics just struck out eight times against Reynaldo Lopez, a pitcher with similar stuff to that of Charlie Morton. The A’s have been killing lefties, so I’m not shocked to see them hit up Chris Sale. After an 11 run performance by Oakland yesterday, I think they come back down to earth.

Morton is -200 to go over 17.5 pitching outs, so we should get plenty of length from him today. If we do, the strikeouts should be there. The A’s have the third-highest strikeout rate against righties over the past two weeks at 27.5%, just below the Reds. In May, they posted the fourth-highest strikeout rate against righties.

A part of the reason the A’s strike out so much is they stink against right-handed breaking balls. They have one of the highest whiff rates in the league against sliders and curveballs, which is Morton’s bread and butter.

Morton could have been better lately, putting up a 5.06 ERA in May. However, the strikeouts have been there, as he’s sat down 31 hitters in 26.2 IP. He’s gone over this in two straight starts, even though he’s allowed ten runs in the last 10.2 innings. That’s why I like this play; regardless of how he performs, the strikeout opportunities should be there all game.

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In the past few games, righties have consistently exceeded this number. Lopez had eight, Pepiot had seven, and Littell had nine. Blanco only had six, but he’s not a strikeout pitcher. Arrighetti had seven after that, and Verlander had nine. Ryan Feltner even had six strikeouts against them, a mark he’s only reached three times in ten starts.

It’s consistent against the A’s. Facing a righty who relies on breaking balls is a recipe for strikeouts. Morton’s curveball is graded as the fourth-best curveball in the sport by run value. It’s his most used pitch at 40%, and it should give Oakland massive issues. Take this to -140.

The Pick: Charlie Morton Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-120) Risk 0.6 U to win 0.5 U