The San Francisco Giants have been arguably Major League Baseball’s biggest surprise team as we come to the end of April. Their success is tied mainly to their pitching staff, which has allowed a league-low 80 runs among teams that have played at least 20 games. Their starting pitching is primarily responsible for their outstanding numbers, and as Stats by Stats explained, they are on pace to make history by the end of the month.
ERAs for the @SFGiants' top starters:
1.50 – DeSclafani
1.50 – Wood
1.80 – Cueto
2.14 – Gausman
2.22 – Sanchez
They would join the 1978 A's as the only teams to have 5 starters with a sub-2.50 ERA in the month of April (min. 3 starts) since ERA became an official stat in 1913.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 29, 2021
The Giants are a part of our picks today, as well as a team total and a moneyline bet we love.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Friday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook):
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 33-26-1 (+3.81 units)
Atlanta Braves Team Total OVER 4.5 runs (-110)
The Atlanta Braves know how to turn the tide after a poor performance at the plate. Since being held to one hit in a 14-inning doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta’s bats have been on fire. They have averaged 7.7 runs per game in their last three games entering Thursday and are hitting a combined 38-for-111 (.342) with six home runs in their previous three games. Their offensive explosion has helped the comfort level of the pitching staff, who has responded with back-to-back shutouts entering Thursday. Another big day at the plate is in store in their series opener with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Braves face Blue Jays lefty Robbie Ray (0-1, 2.81 ERA), a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher this year. Ray has notoriously struggled with command, as evident by his career-high six walks two starts ago against the Royals. However, he followed that up with no walks in his last start, though he did allow three earned runs in six innings.
Atlanta’s biggest bats, namely Ronald Acuna Jr., have had great success in limited appearances in their careers against Ray. Acuna has homered twice in three at-bats off him, while three other current Braves are batting better than .400 against him. Atlanta hitters are a combined .326 with a .558 slugging percentage in 51 combined career plate appearances against Ray.
The Braves are fifth in the league with 92 walks on the season, and their patient approach will be Ray’s undoing. The best offense in the NL East will show why in the series opener.
Arizona Diamondbacks ML (-114)
In a weird scheduling quirk, the Arizona Diamondbacks have played just eight home games as opposed to 17 road games. In their three home series to date, they took two out of three from the Reds, split a two-game series with the Padres, and were swept in a two-game series by Oakland when the A’s were in the middle of their MLB-best 17-game winning streak. Getting the Rockies at home is a big step down in class for Arizona and will be just what they need to bring their record north of .500.
Arizona is 4-1 in their last four home games against Colorado. They face Rockies starter Jon Gray (3-1, 2.54 ERA), who has outstanding numbers to begin the season. However, Gray has always been a much better pitcher at home than on the road in his career. Gray is 29-13 at home and 19-25 in his career on the road. This year is explicitly a microcosm of that, as he is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA at home and is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA on the road.
Gray is opposed by Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 6.31 ERA), who is coming off a seven-inning no-hitter (yet unofficial no-hitter) against the Braves. In his last 12 innings, Bumgarner has allowed just two hits and one earned run while striking out 12.
Bumgarner has faced the Rockies the second-most times of any team in his career and is 17-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 37 career starts against them. Bettors are getting good value on a hot pitcher with a proven track record against the opponent in this matchup.
Giants-Padres UNDER 7.5 runs (-115)
San Francisco’s pitching success has been well-documented in the introduction to this column. Now Logan Webb takes his turn in shutting down opposing bats. Webb has a 1.80 ERA in three career appearances against the Padres.
He is opposed by Padres ace Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.27 ERA), who has gone at least six innings and allowed only one run in each of his last four starts. In his previous 27 innings, he has allowed just 11 hits. Darvish also accomplished this despite pitching against arguably baseball’s best offensive team, the Dodgers, for the last two starts. Darvish has a 13:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in four career starts against the Giants, which is by far the best against any team he has faced.
The under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings between these teams and is 5-1-1 in their previous seven meetings in San Diego. Do not overthink this one, despite the low total.
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