Fridays are a big day in the MLB universe, with most teams beginning their weekend series against big opponents.
Here are my top three picks for series opening games.
Cincinnati Reds @ Milwaukee Brewers
Time: 8: 10 p.m. ET Moneyline: Reds +130, Brewers -154 Run Line: Reds +1.5 (-160), Brewers -1.5 (+135) Total: Over 8 (-115), Under 8 (-105) Odds from BetMGM. Sign up and get $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
My pick: Reds ML (+130)
Nick Lodolo is turning into one of my favorite young pitchers. His stuff is nasty, including a curveball that has forced a 44% Whiff rate this season. His ERA is now below 4. 00, and most recently tossed six innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts at Coors Field.
I want to fade Jason Alexander and the Brewers. Alexander is the 5. 03 ERA and 5. 11 xERA are not part of that.
The Brewers’ lineup has been pathetic lately, especially against southpaws. Brewers boast a. 628 OPS and a 78 wRC+ against that side in the last month. Despite how awful the Reds’ bullpen has been it isn’t that terrible.
The Brewers’ once-dominant lineup has been shaken by the replacement of Josh Hader, and the Reds have posted a top-10 reliever xFIP mark over the last 30 days (3.85). The Reds won back-to-back games against the Brewers and should win this one.
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Cleveland Guardians @ Minnesota Twins
Time: 8: 10 p.m. ET Moneyline: Guardians -110, Twins -110 Run Line: Guardians -1.5 (+155), Twins +1.5 (-180) Total: Over 7.5 (-115), Under 7.5 (-105) Odds from DraftKings. Sign up and get a $1000 deposit bonus!
My pick: Twins ML (-110)
The Guardians currently hold a 1.5-game lead over the Twins and White Sox for the AL Central lead. This is the most interesting division race in MLB at present.
I’m still with the Twins. It’s a great lineup of baseball players, including Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. Minnesota’s only weakness was its bullpen. It had been performing poorly and was poorly managed. But the Twins have a top-five reliever xFIP over the last month (3.49).
In the meantime, the soft-hitting Guardians lineup is 26th in wRC+ over the past month (81).
Cal Quantrill has a better ERA (3. 55) than Dylan Bundy (4. 33), but Bundy’s xERA (3. 81) is much lower than Quantrill’s xERA (4.50). Bundy, along with the whole Twins team seems to be a bit undervalued.
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies
Time: 8: 40 p.m. ET Moneyline: Diamondbacks +105, Rockies -120 Run Line: Diamondbacks +1.5 (-180), Rockies -1.5 (+150) Total: Over 10.5 (-107), Under 10.5 (-103) Odds from PointsBet. Use promo code 1000M and sign up at PointsBet to get 2 risk-free bets of up to $2,000.
My pick: Diamondbacks ML (+105)
German Marquez is no longer the ace he used to be in Denver. This year has seen a significant drop in Marquez’s numbers, especially his ground-ball rate. Marquez’s run-prevention skills have been excellent in high-scoring parks, however, his home ERA is over 6. 00 this season. The Diamondbacks are now ahead of the Giants in NL West standings. It is hard to believe. They’re 25-19 in the second half so far and have won nine of their last 12 games.
A big reason for this is their pitching staff which has made a significant step forward. While Zac Gallen’s performance has been exceptional, don’t forget Zach Davies. Davies’ ERA has fallen to 3. 75 with him tossing over 110 innings.
And over the past month, the Diamondbacks have posted a 103 wRC+ while the Rockies have posted a 65 wRC+, Colorado’s mark being the worst in the league over that stretch.
I’ll ride with the Diamondbacks till the wheels fall off.