Today’s MLB slate begins with a matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs at 2:20 p.m. EST. Still, there are 14 more games with a scheduled first pitch starting at 6:35 p.m. EST or later – meaning that
bettors will have plenty of chances to take some informed risks if they are stuck at the office this afternoon.
Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
Ashcraft is a good strikeout pitcher, and in fact I've picked him to go over his strikeout prop in every game so far this year, which resulted in two easy winners before he came up short against the Phillies last week. He's pitched six or more innings in all three games so far, and gets another very attainable number here against Pittsburgh, a team he already recorded six strikeouts against in the season opener. There's a good chance that Ashcraft can get to five strikeouts today at the coin-flip price. It's worth noting this prop is lined significantly higher at DraftKings (-125).
MLB Best Bets for Reds at Pirates
Graham Ashcraft over 4.5 strikeouts (FanDuel -102)
Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves
Nice premium here over the Astros moneyline (-102 at FanDuel), as the excellent rookie Hunter Brown has logged seven scoreless innings in each of his last two starts (throwing 97 and then 99 pitches). Obviously it's a tough spot any time you're trying to beat Atlanta, but the Astros are a very good team also, and there's too much value to pass up here the way Hunter Brown has been pitching recently.
MLB Best Bets for Astros at Braves
Hunter Brown to record a win, (DraftKings +185)
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Ohtani pitched six or more innings in three straight games to open the year, and he should be fresh today, as he was only able to pitch two innings against Boston on Monday due to a rain delay. He's in a great spot at home against the Royals, and we're getting a hefty 165-cent discount over the Angels' moneyline price of -280.
MLB Best Bets for Royals at Angels
Shohei Ohtani to record a win, -115
St. Louis Cardinals at Seattle Mariners
I'm always interested in backing George Kirby at a short price, especially at home. The Mariners can be a frustrating team to bet on, because they often pitch well without getting any run support, but today they face Cardinals lefty Steven Matz, who comes into this game with a 6.48 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. There's a good chance the Mariners can scratch out a lead here at the attractive underdog price.
MLB Best Bets for Cardinals at Mariners
Seattle Mariners F5 -0.5, +115 (DraftKings)
Michael Kopech u5.5 strikeouts (-156), FanDuel
Michael Kopech has not been healthy since the middle of last summer, and it is painfully evident by watching him pitch. Across his final 15 starts in 2022, he had an 18.4% strikeout rate and a 5.54 FIP. In three starts to begin 2023, Kopech owns a 19.7% strikeout rate and a 9.28 FIP. The Tampa Bay Rays have emphasized good swing decisions at the plate this year, which has helped them make contact at a far higher rate than they did in 2022. Entering play on Friday, only the New York Mets, Cleveland Guardians, and Boston Red Sox have struck out at a lower rate than Tampa Bay in 2023 against right-handed pitching. Kopech has no business opening up with a market number of 5.5 here, regardless of matchup or umpire. The under is a worthwhile risk in this spot.
Tyler Mahle o17.5 outs recorded (-145), BetMGM
At first pitch today in Minnesota, the temperature is forecasted to be 35 degrees, with wind chills even colder than that. Simply, this is extremely hostile weather for hitters, and the ball will not carry well at all, even with the wind blowing out toward center field. Tyler Mahle was chased in the fifth inning when he took the mound last weekend against the New York Yankees, but he recorded 18 outs against the Houston Astros in his prior outing. The Washington Nationals rank 30th in OPS and 30th in ISO as an offense this year. Expect Mahle to have little trouble using a pitch-to-contact approach to get through six innings today in extremely pitcher-friendly weather.
Joey Lucchesi more than 4.0 strikeouts, PrizePicks
Entering play on Friday, the San Francisco Giants rank 27th out of 30 teams in strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. Today, they will have to contend with Joey Lucchesi, who will be making his first appearance in the big leagues since 2021. Far from a bottom-feeder, Lucchesi possesses plenty of swing-and-miss stuff in his arsenal, evident by his 24.5% career strikeout rate in the MLB and his 25.0% strikeout rate to begin 2023 in Triple-A. Lucchesi has punched out at least four batters in each of his first three starts this season in the minor leagues, including back-to-back games with six strikeouts as he has become more stretched out. The New York Mets are likely relying on Lucchesi for at least five innings tonight. Expect him to have little trouble at least pushing in this scenario, with plenty of potential for at least five strikeouts against a San Francisco lineup that struggles mightily to make contact.