Every so often, we use the opening space of our daily picks column to check in on MLB futures wagers. While there is not much significant change daily, Bob Nightengale highlighted a change in the American League odds that seemed imminent for quite some time.
The #Dodgers may be in third place in the NL West, but they remain the favorites to win the World Series, per @betonline_ag, and the #WhiteSox have eclipsed the #Yankees as the AL pennant favorites. The top 5 World Series favorites: Dodgers, #Padres, WhiteSox, Yankees and #Mets.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 1, 2021
Take it for what it is worth, but two of the top five favorites to win the World Series (Yankees and Mets) rank in the bottom five of the league in runs per game. Nevertheless, both New York teams continue to receive money at their respective odds, which compels the oddsmakers to keep them towards the top of the odds list to minimize their vulnerability if they were to win.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Wednesday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 70-54-3 (+9.30 units)
Marlins-Blue Jays First Five Innings UNDER 4.5 runs (-130)
If you missed Toronto Blue Jays rookie Alek Manoah’s first start, his second start tonight is must-see television. Manoah lived up to the hype of the organization’s fifth-ranked prospect, throwing six shutout innings against the New York Yankees. His fastball-slider combination was overpowering, totaling seven strikeouts and allowing just two hits. Dating back to his three starts at Triple-A Buffalo, Manoah went 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 18 innings. The 23-year-old also dazzled in Spring Training, allowing just one hit in seven combined innings, with 15 of his 21 outs recorded via strikeout.
Miami’s Pablo Lopez may be just 1-3 on the season, but his 2.71 ERA indicates he has pitched much better than his record suggests. Lopez has allowed just four earned runs over his last three starts, with a 16:3 K:BB ratio in 19 combined innings in that span. Like Manoah, Lopez is facing the opposing lineup for the first time in his career. Thus, Toronto’s hitters may be overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of Lopez’s arsenal the first couple of times through the lineup.
Though the over is 6-2-1 in Miami’s last nine road meetings with Toronto, the under is 6-0 in Miami’s last six games and is 6-2 in Toronto’s last eight interleague games. We are getting tremendous value with the first five innings total with two under-the-radar pitchers and are content to take the bullpens out of the equation and cash this under early.
Houston Astros ML (-141)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta is undefeated since joining the team late last season. In 12 starts with the Red Sox, Pivetta is 8-0 with a 3.53 ERA. Tonight marks his first career start in Houston, and a particular trend has us happy to fade Pivetta even as an decent-sized favorites in this spot.
Pivetta (6-0, 3.86 ERA) has a 4.09 ERA in four road starts this season. He has a subpar road ERA even though three of those four road starts coming against the light-hitting Orioles (twice) and the Mets. Pivetta has faced just one team on the road that ranks in the top half of the league in scoring, the Toronto Blue Jays, and he was tagged for a season-high five runs and tied a season-high with seven hits in that start. An Astros lineup that leads the league with 289 runs scored and a .267 team batting average should prove to be his stiffest test yet.
Astros sluggers Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel entered Wednesday batting better than .314 and slugging better than .515 at home. Though Houston’s Framber Valdez (0-0, 2.25 ERA) is making just his second start of the season, he was impressive in his debut, holding the high-powered Padres to just one run on two hits in four innings. If he can give his club a similar stat line tonight, Houston should have a comfortable lead on Pivetta for their relievers to work with.
The Astros are 6-2 in their last eight meetings with the Red Sox and are a great bet to deal with Pivetta his first loss tonight.
Athletics-Mariners UNDER 8 runs (-110)
The recent history of the A’s-Mariners series suggests the over is the play, as the over is 6-0 in their last six meetings in Seattle. While tonight’s pitching matchup is not the most star-studded, both starters are more than capable of bucking the over trend and keeping this contest low-scoring.
Oakland’s Sean Manaea (3-2, 3.86 ERA) has pitched to a 3.84 ERA in 12 career starts against Seattle. He has allowed five earned runs in his last 17.2 innings and has allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his last ten starts. Manaea has struck out current Seattle hitters in 23.3% of their at-bats and has allowed just four extra-base hits in their 65 combined plate appearances.
Seattle’s Chris Flexen (5-2, 4.34 ERA) is looking to build off the momentum of his young career’s best start. He held the Texas Rangers scoreless over seven innings, scattering three hits and striking out six batters. Though Flexen has had his issues on the road, he has been dominant in five home starts, going 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA. Tonight is his first-ever start against Oakland and, he is an excellent bet to allow one or fewer runs for the fifth time in his last eight starts.
Oakland’s offense has scored three runs or fewer in three of their last four games, while Seattle’s pitching staff has allowed two runs or fewer in four of their previous five games. Look for those trends to continue tonight.
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