MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions, Odds for March 29, 2024

Two MLB Picks For Friday, March 29th!

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 07: Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout during Game One of the NL Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 6-3. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

It felt like a bad day yesterday even though we finished up a half unit. The player props were gut-wrenching, as Josiah Gray and Nestor Cortes Jr got the final strikeout in their last inning. I was wrong about about Garrett Crochet, he looked fantastic.

Thankfully, the larger plays all hit. The Tigers did just enough to seal our moneyline win and the Twins and Royals game stayed under through the first five.

We are back to it with two game picks, including a larger wager.

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

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2024 Record: 3-3 (+1.5 U)

Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies @ 3:05 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Spencer Strider vs. Zack Wheeler

What a pitching matchup. With Gerrit Cole currently on the shelf, Strider and Wheeler are the two best healthy pitchers in Major League baseball. I already really liked this under, but the weather conditions in Philadelphia pushed this to a 1.5-unit play.

Spencer Strider added a curveball; it’s excellent. So good that he only allowed two earned runs through 22 innings of work in spring training. He also added 35 strikeouts to just eight walks. The pitch gives him that third look to hitters he’s been searching for.

A common misconception is that the Phillies own Strider. While they’ve gotten the best of him in the playoffs, the regular season is a different story. Overall, he’s compiled 210 PA against this Phillies current roster. The Phillies opponent’s average against him is .195 with a .293 xwOBA and a 30.5% K-BB rate. Those numbers are fantastic.

The Phillies have been able to beat Strider through the long ball. Most of them have sub-.200 batting averages against him, but six Phillies hitters have a career home run against Strider.

Citizens Bank Park is experiencing more wind than normal. The projections have it at 8-12 MPH, blowing straight in from left field. Outside of Wrigley Field, Citizens Bank Park is the stadium most affected by wind. The Phillies’ greatest strength, the long ball, will be more difficult than on most nights.

Zack Wheeler lines up on the other side. Wheeler has faced this Braves’ current roster even more than Strider has faced the Phillies. Over 323 PA, the Braves have an opponent batting average of .221, a .295 xwOBA, and a 21.7 K-BB rate. Those numbers aren’t quite to Strider’s level, but they are still better than every other pitcher on the board today.

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Wheeler enjoyed a fantastic spring training, allowing just six hits and two earned in 14 innings of work. His velocity was down a touch, but I doubt we see a lack of velocity today. This is Zack Wheeler in the bank against the Braves, with an additional day of rest. He’s going to come out firing.

Behind these elite starters are two elite bullpens. Fangraphs projected them as the two best bullpens in baseball. The depth is incredible; both units have four or five pitchers who can close games. All of them are healthy, and all of them are ready for this divisional matchup.

Yes, the Braves and Phillies offenses’ are outstanding. Great pitching beats great hitting more often than not, and these great hitters will see elite pitching with the wind howling in. This is a tight game that doesn’t surpass seven runs. Take the under 7.5 for 1.5 units, but lower to a standard unit play if you can only find a 7.

Projection: 6.7 runs

The Pick: Under 7.5 (-115) Risk 1.5 Units

New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros @ 8:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Carlos Rodon vs Cristian Javier

I was looking to fade both of these pitchers in their first start. I have not liked what I’ve seen from either pitcher in spring training. After watching the offenses in last night’s game, I wasn’t sure who to fade harder, so I went with runs.

Carlos Rodon is coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in baseball (6.85 ERA). His fastball didn’t have the same velocity, so he wasn’t able to overpower players like he’s used to. He already didn’t have great command, so if you’re asking him to command the zone with diminished stuff against the Astros, good luck.

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We spoke about it yesterday, but the Astros were the third-best team by wRC+ against lefties last year with the lowest strikeout rate. Nestor was able to rack up enough strikeouts to stay competitive but still allowed four runs. I’m more concerned with Rodon than I am with Nestor.

The whiffs are incredibly concerning. When Rodon is at his best, he’s posting strikeout rates in the 33-34% range. That’s elite, but his strikeout rate fell to 22% last year, and he got destroyed. If he’s not coming in with his usual stuff, he’s in big trouble. This happened to him last year when he allowed five earned runs in less than three innings to Houston.

Cristian Javier lines up on the other side. Javier has dominated the Yankees in the past, but not lately. He’s also seen a slight drop-off in stuff dating back to last season. His fastball decreased from

Last season, Javier threw against the Yankees twice. In the first matchup, he allowed three earned runs in 4.2 innings. In his second matchup, he allowed three runs in six innings of work. This isn’t the same Yankees lineup from last year; it’s more patient and more potent.

Javier has a command issue similar to Rodon’s. They were able to garner six walks against Framber Valdez, but Valdez constantly got the ground-ball double play to strand the bases loaded. Javier needs that sinker to get the ground ball when needed. This Yankees offense now has Juan Soto, who is 1-2 with a double against Javier in his career. The Yankees can put up 3-4 runs over Javier’s start.

I was going to take the first five innings out of respect for the bullpens, but the bullpens are not at full strength. Bryan Abreu is serving the second game of his suspension for Houston, so he’ll be out. Ryan Pressly threw over 25 pitches, I would be surprised to see him. Josh Hader rarely throws two days in a row, but there is a chance we see him.

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The Yankees got two innings out of Loisaga, who I think is their best reliever, so he won’t go. Both of the Yankees high leverage relievers; Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes, both threw yesterday as well.

We are also playing in a dome environment in Minute Maid Park, and there is no wind to deal with.

The 5-4 score yesterday did not do the game justice. There were a combined 19 runners left on base, and it took an outfield assist from Juan Soto to hold the Astros to four. The offenses explode for runs today. Take this over nine runs to -115.

Projection: 9.5 runs

The Pick: Over 9 Runs (-105) Risk 1.05 Units