MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Odds, Predictions for Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Reynaldo López of the Atlanta Braves poses for a photo during the Atlanta Braves Photo Day at CoolToday Park.
NORTH PORT, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Reynaldo López #40 of the Atlanta Braves poses for a photo during the Atlanta Braves Photo Day at CoolToday Park on Friday, February 23, 2024 in North Port, Florida. (Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

We are officially at the low point of my betting career. It’s depressing as I continue to work hard without seeing any results. Many people read and tail these picks, and it stinks to let you all down.

However, with a new slate comes new angles and edges. I will keep firing away on plays I like, and we’ll see where the chips fall. I’m returning to laying juice on this card; I think it’ll work in our favor.

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

2024 Record: 40-50 (-11.39 U)

Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Guardians @ 6:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Kenta Maeda vs. Logan Allen

We have a few systems pointing us toward this over. We should see runs today if you combine that with two below-average pitchers and the wind blowing out.

This is a system I’ve used in the past, but it hasn’t shown up much this season until now.

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This MLB trend has hit at a 71% rate over 103 games. The team’s winning percentage is greater than their opponent’s. The O/U total is set at > 6.5. The team’s money line is >= -260. At the time of the game, the team’s percentage of going over the point total is >= 48% for the season. The team is at home. The game number of the series is = 2. The game number of the season is <= 70. The previous game went under the run total.

There are a lot of variables, but I think about it logically. Two solid offenses went under in game one, and now the bats are due to kick it in gear. This system has been tracked since 2020, so it doesn’t come up often.

While I have this system, I would have taken the over in both halves without it. I have written about my issues with Kenta Maeda, and Logan Allen has impressed me, too.

Let’s start with Kenta Maeda. On the prop sheet I drop daily on X, Maeda has the third-worst matchup on the board by xwOBA against (.353). Over 62 PA, Guardians hitters have posted a .278 batting average with a .465 SLG. He’s only striking out 11% of batters in his time versus the Guardians. The last time he faced them, he allowed six runs in four innings.

Logan Allen lines up on the other side. Detroit has been a sneaky above-average offense against lefties lately, putting up a 104 wRC+ in the last three weeks. I usually look at two weeks, but the Tigers needed more ABs against lefties in that span to qualify that. As you can see in the chart below, the Tigers bats are getting better against left-handed pitching.

He also hasn’t done a great job pitching at home. His earned runs line at 2.5, juiced to -150, is warranted. Logan Allen has exceeded 2.5 earned runs in four of his last five games at home (3.6 earned runs/game average). His most used pitch, the fastball, is getting hit hard. He will have issues if he can’t locate his breaking balls today.

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I’m taking a leap of faith, betting against these bullpens. Both have been awesome this year but aren’t on great rest schedules. Each team has seen these bullpen arms plenty of times, so they know what they are against. The starters should do the heavy lifting in the runs department, but I want the bullpens involved in case of some random home runs late.

I say “random home runs” because there is wind involved. At Progressive Field, we have 10 MPH wind blowing out to right, hitting the Cleveland wind tunnel. The ball carries hard when it’s blowing in that direction, leading to some balls that shouldn’t go out, but they do.

I’m taking the over in both halves.

The Pick: First 5 Innings Over 4.5 (-110) Risk 0.55 Units, Full Game Over 8.5 (+100) Risk 0.5 Units. Total bets to win one unit.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Pittsburgh Pirates @ 6:40 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Patrick Sandoval vs. Quinn Priester

The Angels are in a tailspin. They are 1-7 in their last eight road games. Since Mike Trout went down with a knee injury, the Angels have arguably been the worst team in Major League Baseball. I wanted to take the Pirates yesterday, but it got steamed hard as I looked into it. Today, I grabbed it earlier.

We’ve spoken about the Pirates against lefties. Right now, that’s their only shot of scoring runs. After facing a better lefty yesterday, they continue that trend today.

The Pirates rank eighth in baseball in wRC+ (114) against left-handed pitching over the last two weeks. Over the entire season, they rank 11th in wRC+ (111). They cannot hit a right-hander, posting a 76 wRC+ this season. The Pirates can only be played if they face a left-hander right now.

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Sandoval’s high walk rate is a problem and the main reason he gets in trouble. The Pirates are a very patient bunch, ranking well within the top ten in walk rate against both sides of the plate. They rarely fish for offspeed, so we should get free base runners.

On the other hand, Quinn Priester will get the ball for Pittsburgh. His xERA is a bit high due to a very high hard-hit rate. I can stomach that when I know he’s keeping the ball on the ground at an average of 68%. That’s the highest mark for any starting pitcher with at least 15 innings thrown and the fifth highest in baseball when we include relievers. Since Trout went out, the Angels have the fifth-highest ground-ball rate in baseball.

Overall, Quinn Priester and Patrick Sandoval are similarly graded pitchers, but the Pirates have the better matchup.

The Pirates got nine innings from Mitch Keller yesterday, so the bullpen is fully prepped for this one. They rank 13th in bullpen ERA and are rested. The Angels bullpen is also rested, but they’ve been the second-worst bullpen in the game, ranking 29th in ERA.

The Pirates are in their better split, with the bullpen and home-field advantage. Take the Pirates to -130.

The Pick: Pirates ML (-120) Risk 1.2 Units

Boston Red Sox vs. Atlanta Braves @ 7:20 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Kutter Crawford vs. Reynaldo Lopez

This total is too high. The Braves offense isn’t hitting right now, and they face off against one of the American League’s best pitchers. The Red Sox have a solid offense, but they get Reynaldo Lopez and a rested Braves bullpen. I don’t see more than nine runs scored today at Truist Park.

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This felt like a square play, given the low ERAs of both pitchers, but this is a marquee matchup between two very popular teams, and I don’t think people fully understand how bad the Braves’ offense has been lately.

Dating back three weeks ago, the Braves offense has a 74 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, good for 26th in the league. Over the past two weeks, that wRC+ has fallen to 56, the third lowest in the league. Maybe they snap out of it today. It is the Braves, but I don’t see that happening against Crawford.

Crawford’s earned run line is 3.5, but it’s majorly juiced towards the under. Kutter Crawford has yet to exceed 3.5 earned runs in 11 straight games (1.2 earned runs/game average). He’s also been better on the road since he entered the rotation. He put up a 2.49 ERA on the road last year compared to a 6.00 ERA at home, and this season, that road ERA is 1.08, better than his 1.90 ERA at home.

Reynaldo Lopez lines up for the Braves. He’s been phenomenal, and nothing in his underlying metrics tells me that regression is looming. His Hard-Hit rate is the only area that needs improvement, but his ability to keep the ball on the ground alleviates some of that concern.

None of the key arms in either bullpen have thrown since Saturday, and both units sit in the top ten in bullpen ERA. So why was this total at nine?

The only thing I can think of is the Braves and Red Sox. There is wind, but it’s blowing sideways. It’s supposed to be warm at first pitch, so there are decent hitting conditions today. Maybe the Braves are due, and if they are, the opposing starter doesn’t matter. I’ll pay to find out.

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The Pick: Under 9 Runs (-110) Risk 1.1 Units