There were many events from the weekend’s slate of games that will be seen as news-worthy as we head toward June. Many MLB Power Rankings had the Chicago White Sox atop their list, but the New York Yankees made a statement that they should be thought of as favorites in the American League after their three-game home sweep. The Tampa Bay Rays continue to fly under the radar as defending American League champions but are putting more and more teams on notice after extending their winning streak to ten consecutive games. And the Los Angeles Dodgers are once again catching fire, winning their seventh straight game and improving their record to 11-1 in their last 12 games after a three-game road sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
As we head into the last week of May, no first-place team has more than a two-game lead in their division. If all the division races continue to be this tight, we are in for one heck of a summer.
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: 61-43-3 (+12.50 units)
Baltimore Orioles ML (+100)
The casual baseball fan may still not know who John Means is, but they should, as he currently has the fifth-best odds to win the American League Cy Young Award, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Means (4-0, 1.70 ERA) faces the Twins lineup for the first time in his career. Means showed some vulnerability in his last start, as he allowed four earned runs for the first time this season. However, that only raised his ERA from 1.21 to 1.70, illustrating how dominant he has been this year.
Twins starter Matt Shoemaker (2-5, 6.08 ERA) is 3-1 with a career 2.25 ERA in five starts against Baltimore. However, he has made just one start against them since 2016, and the 2021 version of Shoemaker has not been pretty. Shoemaker has allowed four or more runs in half of his eight starts this year and has issued an average of more than three walks per game over his last five starts. He is allowing an OBA of .278, which is much higher than the league average, and he does not have put-away stuff, as evidenced by him having more than five strikeouts in just one start this year.
The Orioles have lost their last seven road games at Minnesota and are just 26-8 against them in their previous 34 meetings overall. However, these two teams enter this game with identical 17-29 records, and ace John Means is too good of a pitcher to not wager upon at those odds against a losing team.
San Diego Padres ML (+100)
It is not too often that one can wager on the league’s best team with an undefeated starting pitcher as an underdog. That shows you how good Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff has been. Woodruff is 2-2 with a 1.58 ERA this season. However, he has not won any of his four May starts since he gets minimal run support when taking the mound. The Brewers provide Woodruff with 1.58 runs of support per nine innings, which is the lowest amount of run support of any pitcher in baseball. Thus, San Diego’s offense may not need to score much to knock off a Cy Young caliber pitcher.
The Padres have been on fire lately, winning eight consecutive games by an average of six runs per game. Their starting pitching has been lights out, not allowing more than four runs in any game since May 8th. The Padres lead all of baseball with a 2.59 team ERA, and the gap between their ERA and the second-ranked Dodgers (0.40 difference) is just as big as L.A.’s difference compared to the seventh-ranked pitching staff.
Blake Snell (1-0, 3.79 ERA) looks to do his part in keeping the trend of San Diego’s dominant pitching. Snell’s last outing was the first time he went at least six innings since joining the Padres, but the most impressive number was his 11 strikeouts to just one walk. The Brewers rank 19th or worse in both batting average and OPS against left-handed pitching.
The Padres have not won any of their last four road games at Milwaukee. But with the Brewers’ offense once again a threat to go cold with Woodruff on the mound, it feels like an auto-play to back baseball’s best team as an underdog.
Chicago White Sox -1.5 runs (+132)
As mentioned in the opening, it was just three days ago that the White Sox were everyone’s darling, with many hailing them the best team in baseball. Does a three-game road sweep in the Bronx against the Yankees change one’s perspective on Chicago all that much? The Yankees are in the midst of a historic stretch from a starting pitching perspective, as their rotation has thrown 35 consecutive scoreless innings. I prefer to look at the White Sox as a team that ran into a buzzsaw and who will get back to playing great baseball at home.
The White Sox are an American League-best 14-8 at home and face a Cardinals team that is 1-4 in their last five road games. New York’s Jordan Montgomery shut down the White Sox in their previous game against a left-handed starting pitcher. However, Chicago is 4-0 in their last four interleague games against lefties and are 37-15 in their previous 52 games against left-handed starters overall. Thus, St. Louis’s Kwang Hyun Kim (1-1, 2.73 ERA) faces his toughest test of the season.
White Sox starter Lance Lynn (4-1, 1.55 ERA) has been an outstanding pickup for Chicago thus far. Lynn has a WHIP of 0.98 and a 46:12 K:BB ratio in 40.2 innings of work this season. He has had great career success against St. Louis’s most dangerous hitters, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, holding them to a combined 6-for-34 (.176 BA), though both have one home run off Lynn in their careers.
The Cardinals are at a disadvantage, having played on Sunday Night Baseball, while the White Sox returned to town early last night. That should help Chicago take advantage of a tired St. Louis team beginning a ten-day road trip.
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