It’s hard to believe, but we’re only about a month away from the MLB All-Star Game. In the grand scheme of things, it’s still early, but these division races couldn’t be tighter, and it’s shaping up to be one heck of a stretch run this year.
Just one team – the Mets – holds a division lead of four or more games entering the weekend, and their first-place lead is only so great because they’re the sole NL East team with a winning record. Speaking of the NL East, my two best bets for Saturday both involve teams from the division.
After splitting our bets in each of the last two weeks, it’s time to turn a profit and sweep today’s card. So here’s what I’m wagering on to kick off another MLB Saturday.
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
San Francisco Giants ML (-110)
The Giants have been baseball’s biggest surprise this year. They took a 2.5-game lead in the NL West into the weekend after nearly everyone around the league had already handed the Dodgers the division crown before Spring Training even began. San Francisco has a chance to pull 20 games over .500, and the summer has barely started. They’re also red-hot right now, and I expect them to keep it going against an up-and-down Phillies club.
San Francisco is winners of five in a row and six of seven, and they’ve been especially dominant at home – compiling a 23-9 record at Oracle Park. The Phillies have been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde bunch, posting a 21-12 record at home but a 12-22 record away from the City of Brotherly Love. They’ve also struggled against winning teams – they’re 17-19 this year against teams above .500.
Some may be scared off betting against Phillies ace Aaron Nola, but the Giants have been a bit of kryptonite over his career. He’s allowing a .325 batting average to San Francisco lifetime, and he’s struggling on the road this year, to boot. Nola is allowing a .270 batting average and a .775 OPS while surrendering six homers in just seven road starts. He’s also got a 4.99 ERA away from home and a 2-3 record.
The Giants, on the other hand, will send Alex Wood to the mound, and he loves pitching against the Phillies. He’s allowing just a .208 average in his career against Philadelphia, and he’s struck out 29.2% of the 106 batters he’s faced. Wood is also coming off a really nice start where he allowed just two runs and four hits over six innings while striking out seven.
Bullpens should also be a factor in this one, and the Giants have the clear-cut advantage out of the ‘pen. San Francisco’s is sixth-best with a 3.37 ERA, while the Phillies rank 21st baseball with a 4.42 ERA. I like the Giants to keep it rolling here and secure themselves a series win against Philadelphia.
Atlanta Braves / St. Louis Cardinals Under 9.5 (-110)
Perhaps this total is buoyed by the 9-1 final on Friday, or perhaps Drew Smyly’s 5-plus ERA is factoring in heavily, but 9.5 seems way too high for this matchup.
St. Louis is just not producing at the plate. They’ve scored a hard-to-fathom 10 runs in their last seven games combined. That’s 1.4 runs per game over a week’s worth of baseball. The Cardinals have scored one total run in the first two games of this series as well. Now they’ll face Smyly, who sports an ugly 5.63 ERA, but who has been sneakily strong of late. He’s allowed just two runs in each of his last two outings and has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his last seven. A date with the struggling Cardinals bats is exactly what he needs to stay hot, and I think he will.
Atlanta, conversely, has been hitting lately, but they’re about to run into Adam Wainwright, who is quietly putting together a strong little run since the weather got warmer. The grizzled veteran has allowed three or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, has struck out six or more in four of the last five, and has thrown seven or more innings in three of his last five. He knows what it takes to grind out a long season, and he’s just getting into a groove.
As I mentioned earlier, 9.5 is just too high, and I expect this total to either drop to 9 or stay at 9.5 with some heavy juice, losing nearly all its value. So jump on this one before either scenario happens, and let’s settle in for an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel.
MLB Prop Bets
Aaron Nola Prop Bet Odds
Gavin Lux Prop Bet Odds
Framber Valdez Prop Bet Odds
Kris Bryant Prop Bet Odds
Shohei Ohtani Prop Bet Odds
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Mike Wagenman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @mjwags23.
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