Of all the new series starting in Major League Baseball tonight, many of them are exciting matchups between division rivals. The Cubs aim to continue to prove that their hot start is not a fluke when facing the Reds, while the Braves look to take advantage of an injury-plagued Mets team and climb to the top of the National League East standings for the first time this season. The Dodgers and Giants play the second of their four-game series, but Los Angeles’s five wins in their first five head-to-head meetings have put a bit of a damper on that rivalry at this point.
Perhaps the most anticipated weekend series is not between two division rivals but rather an interleague series between the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. Houston just split a mini two-game series with the Dodgers, and their three games against the Padres could be a World Series preview.
Do any of these matchups catch our eye from a betting perspective?
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: 65-50-3 (+9.53 units)
Oakland Athletics ML (-130)
The Oakland A’s have not played their best baseball of late at home, as they are 3-5 in their last eight home games. They enter this contest with the Angels just 16-15 at home this season, which is much worse than their .667 road winning percentage. However, Oakland has the right pitcher on the mound tonight to get them back to their winning ways.
The A’s are 5-0 in Sean Manaea’s (3-2, 4.17 ERA) last five home starts. His home ERA is a 3.75 compared to a 5.00 road ERA, and he has a 7.2:1 K:BB ratio at home versus a 3:1 K:BB ratio on the road. Manaea is making his second consecutive start against the Angels, holding them to one run on four hits in five innings in his last start. He has struggled at times this year against heavy-hitting lineups like Boston’s and Houston’s. However, he should again find success against an Angels lineup that ranks in the league’s bottom half in batting average and slugging percentage against left-handed pitching.
Los Angeles’s Alex Cobb (2-2, 4.78 ERA) has had good career numbers at Oakland Coliseum, going 1-2 despite a 2.03 ERA in four career starts. However, he did begin the year allowing at least three runs in each of his first four starts, and this is just his second start removed from a finger injury that twice forced him to miss his turn in the rotation.
The Angels are 2-9 in their last 11 road games at Oakland and have won just one of their four series since Mike Trout landed on the IL. Thus, there is value with the A’s tonight.
Arizona Diamondbacks ML (-118)
I can certainly understand the skepticism in backing a team that is currently on an 11-game losing streak. However, the pitching matchup suggests there is value in the Diamondbacks tonight, despite how poorly they have played recently.
St. Louis’s Johan Oviedo is 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five appearances (four starts) this year. His last start came on May 14th, as the team briefly optioned him to their Triple-A squad in Memphis. The Cardinals do not seem confident in Oviedo, nor should they be, as the team is 0-4 in his last four road starts and 0-8 in his previous eight starts overall.
Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner (4-4, 4.53 ERA) had a stretch where he was dominant, allowing one or fewer runs in five consecutive starts from April 18th to May 11th. Since then, he has allowed seven earned runs over his last ten innings. However, both of those were road starts at Coors Field and against the Dodgers, so Bumgarner will feel much more comfortable at Chase Field, where he is 11-6 with a career 3.44 ERA.
Arizona is 0-10 in their last ten games versus teams with a winning record, but it will make it all that much sweeter being on their side when that streak comes to an end tonight.
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 runs (+114)
We go from backing a team on an 11-game losing streak to wagering on one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Dodgers are 13-3 in their last 16 games and have covered the runline in all but three of those wins. Thus, we eschew the steeper moneyline odds and opt for better value with the runline in a game they should win.
San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani (4-2, 3.54 ERA) has undergone a career reformation in his short stint as a member of the Giants. In his previous six years with the Marlins and Reds, DeSclafani finished as many seasons with an ERA under 4.00 as he did with one higher than 6.00. Thus, our thinking is that his numbers will eventually regress to the career .500 pitcher with an ERA north of 4.00 that he has been to this point. There is no better evidence of DeSclafani’s regression coming than his dreadful first outing against the Dodgers in his last start. He was tagged for ten runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings after allowing just one run over his last 12 innings.
Los Angeles counters with Walker Buehler (3-0, 2.78 ERA), who has been a model of consistency this year. Buehler has a 2.97 ERA in five home starts this year and held San Francisco to one run in seven innings in his last start. He has yet to lose a decision to the Giants (5-0) in eight career appearances against them while pitching to a 2.68 ERA, and we do not expect his first loss to come tonight.
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