Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Monday, May 17th (2021)

With just nine games on Monday’s MLB slate, that means 12 teams get a much-needed day off to rest their position players and relievers. Perhaps no team is looking forward to their day off more than the Philadelphia Phillies. They were without three of their biggest bats (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Didi Gregorius) in Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays. One team in desperate need of a day off is the New York Mets, whose seven-game winning streak seems like a distant memory after a road sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays.

How will a lack of a day off for the teams in action today affect our wagering?

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: 51-38-2 (+9.03 units)

New York Mets Team Total UNDER 3.5 runs (+102)

In the opening to this article, we mentioned the Phillies were one of the teams hit most by the injury bug of late. Add the Mets to that list, who suffered a couple of casualties yesterday. Both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil left Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness and are considered day-to-day. Their replacements in the lineup were a pair of hitters, Patrick Mazeika and Jake Hager, who were in search of their first Major League hits. The Mets struggled offensively in the Tampa series even before the injuries to those two players, and they totaled just eight runs in the three-game sweep.

The reason for New York’s team total being the best play as opposed to Atlanta’s moneyline is the fact that their starting pitcher, Taijuan Walker, is capable of throwing a gem. Walker is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA and ranks seventh in opponents’ batting average (.170). Entering yesterday’s game, the Mets had three starting pitchers (deGrom, Stroman, Walker) who all had sub-2.20 ERAs through the team’s first 33 games for the second time in franchise history.

Atlanta starter Max Fried (1-1, 6.55 ERA) has allowed just two earned runs in his last 11 innings, compared to 14 earned runs in his first 11 innings. Fried is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 13 career appearances (eight starts) against the Mets. That ERA is more than an entire run lower than any of his ERAs against the other NL East teams. Fried has a career 3.38 ERA at home as opposed to a 4.09 ERA on the road, and we like his chances to shut down a Mets lineup that is likely without two of its biggest bats.

Yankees-Rangers OVER 8 runs (-107)

It may seem blasphemous to back the over in a game that Gerrit Cole (5-1, 1.37 ERA) is starting, but it is not as egregious considering the Yankees could exceed this total by themselves.

Yankees hitters face Texas’s Jordan Lyles (1-3, 6.63 ERA), who has allowed at least three earned runs in six of his last seven starts. Lyles has a 1.61 WHIP and .299 OBA, a dangerous combination when facing a Yankees team that ranks in the top-nine in the league in batting average and OPS against left-handed pitching.

After a series in which the Rays stifled them, Yankees bats woke up to score 19 runs in the three games against the Orioles. The Yankees will be without the services of Gleyber Torres (COVID-19) and Aaron Hicks (wrist) but could potentially get back Giancarlo Stanton, who has sat out the last couple of games with a quad injury. Even without them, the top of the Yankees order should provide enough punch to get to Lyles early and often.

In Friday’s column, we backed the over in the Nationals-Diamondbacks game despite Max Scherzer starting. Since the Nationals got off to such a big early lead, Washington decided to be cautious with their ace and removed him after five innings. The Yankees may employ a similar strategy with Cole if their offense does their part, making it easier for Texas to score runs late.

The over is 9-4-1 in the last 14 meetings between these teams and is 6-1 in their previous seven meetings in Texas. Bank on another high-scoring affair tonight.

Rockies-Padres UNDER 7 runs (-110)

While we faded the Mets’ chances to score runs with two of their biggest bats listed as day-to-day, we do the same with the San Diego Padres, who remain without several of their best hitters. Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, and Jorge Mateo are still on the COVID-19 list. With the Padres coming off a late Sunday night game against the Cardinals, that is another reason to believe their offense will be sluggish in the series opener.

This total remains relatively high since Colorado starter Jon Gray’s numbers are much better at home than on the road. Gray is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA on the road compared to 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA at home. However, he should have confidence entering this start since he just held the Padres to one earned run in 5.2 innings in his last start.

Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.08 ERA) is an excellent candidate to keep the scoring down as well. He has allowed more than one earned run just once since a poor Opening Day start, and his 0.92 WHIP ranked 13th in the league entering Sunday. Current Rockies hitters are a combined 10-for-46 (.217 BA) in their careers against Darvish, with nine strikeouts in 51 plate appearances.

The under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these teams in San Diego, and another low-scoring affair should be on tap tonight.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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