As we took the weekend off to celebrate Mother’s Day, we still had one eye on the baseball action for the last couple of days. One of the biggest takeaways was the Chicago White Sox asserting themselves as the team to beat in the American League Central, as they outscored the early-season darling Kansas City Royals 21-4 in a three-game road sweep. In addition, the Atlanta Braves showed tremendous resiliency in their series against the Phillies, rallying to take two out of three games. In the second game of the series, they were down to their final strike while down two runs in the ninth inning and won despite entering the bottom of the 12th innings trailing by three runs. They may be a banged-up baseball team, but they put the rest of the NL East on notice that they still have the talent to win their fourth straight division title.
Neither of those teams is available to bet on with today’s small slate of games. Therefore, we had to get creative with our bets, including the season’s first same game parlay.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Monday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook):
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 44-31-2 (+8.41 units)
Reds-Pirates OVER 8 runs (-104)
The last time Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman started a game, we advised taking the over as his early-season success seemed fraudulent. Hoffman (2-2, 4.39 ERA) pitched to a 2.66 ERA through his first four starts, but that was with facing the light-hitting Diamondbacks twice, as well as the Cardinals and Indians. In Hoffman’s last two starts, he has been tested by the Dodgers and White Sox and has allowed seven runs in 6.1 combined innings in those two starts. While Pittsburgh’s offense is not as intimidating as that of Los Angeles and Chicago, they still have the blueprint for getting to Hoffman and knocking him out of the game early.
Reds bats will face Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller, who is 2-3 with a 6.29 ERA this year. Keller is coming off his best outing of the season when he held the Padres scoreless through 5.2 innings. However, his career numbers against the Reds leave something to be desired. He has a 6.92 ERA against them in 13 career innings, and current Reds hitters have a .378 OBP in 37 career plate appearances against him. Just one of Pittsburgh’s last seven games has totaled more than six runs, but those games were all on the road. The over is 7-3-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 11 home games.
In Hoffman’s six starts this year, the over is 5-0-1. The over is also 4-1-1 in Cincinnati’s last six road games and 11-5-1 in their previous 17 games. Many bettors will look to Pittsburgh’s deficiencies offensively and decide the under is the right play, but too many trends suggest otherwise.
Boston Red Sox Team Total OVER 5.5 runs (+120)
The Red Sox and Orioles play a rare four-game series that ends on a Monday, so that means Boston’s bats will get one more crack at Baltimore’s subpar pitching. The Red Sox have averaged seven runs per game through the first three games of this series (all wins), and more offense should be in store when facing Baltimore’s Jorge Lopez.
Lopez (1-3, 6.49 ERA) has not completed five innings of work in five of his six starts. His 25:11 K/BB ratio is underwhelming, and he has been bitten by the long ball this year, surrendering seven home runs in 26.1 innings this season. That spells doom against a Red Sox offense that leads the majors with a .778 OPS and a .267 team batting average.
JD Martinez, in particular, is making a claim for early-season MVP. He is second only to Mike Trout with a 1.075 OPS, and he and teammate Xander Bogaerts each rank in the top six in the majors in batting average. Three different Red Sox have homered off Lopez in their careers, and all current Boston hitters are a combined 14-for-40 (.350) and slugging .675 in 43 career plate appearances against him.
The over is 4-1 in Boston’s last five games, and their offense will do their part in keeping the scoring high in the series finale.
Giants ML/UNDER 7 runs Parlay (+220)
We are recommending a same game parlay on this juicy matchup between the Rangers and Giants for the first time all season. Rangers ace Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.40 ERA) has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his six starts since an Opening Day disaster at Kansas City. If you remove his five runs over 0.1 innings stat line from that game, he has pitched to a 1.35 ERA in all his other starts combined. While we like him to do his part in keeping the scoring down, the fact is that his three worst starts this season have all come on the road, and his road ERA is 4.22 compared to a dazzling 0.45 at home.
The Giants are a Major League-best 12-4 at home and have an undefeated pitcher toeing the rubber as well tonight in Alex Wood. Wood is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA, and his BAA is .114 at home compared to .222 on the road. Though Wood has faced two light-hitting offenses in the Marlins and Rockies twice each, Texas’s lineup does not figure to give him too much trouble either as they rank 20th in the league with a .700 OPS against left-handed starters.
The Giants are 7-0 in their last seven interleague games vs. teams with a losing record. The riskiest part of this parlay is the under. The over is 12-5-2 in the Rangers’ last 19 road games against a lefty starter and is 13-3-1 in the Giants’ last 17 games overall. However, the low total suggests oddsmakers think a low-scoring pitchers duel is in order, and the Giants are playing too well behind Wood to lose to the Rangers.
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