MLB predictions today | Odds, picks, best bets for Blue Jays vs Pirates, Astros vs Mariners, more Friday, May 5

Ladies and gentlemen, the weekend.

Friday begins an incredibly intriguing weekend in Major League Baseball. The Rays and Yankees are entering their first series of the season, as are the Padres and Dodgers. We also have a 2022 playoff rematch in Astros vs. Mariners, and a host of other action across the board.

Our analysts are targeting three Friday games, including two of the aforementioned matches. Here are our best bets from the MLB slate for Friday, May 5.

Best MLB Bets Friday, May 5

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our MLB betting team is targeting from today’s matchup list. Click on the team logos for any of the matches below to jump to a specific bet covered in this article.

Blue Jays vs. Pirates

Chris Bassitt Over 5.5 strikeouts (+124)

By Nick Shlain

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt has been a regular batter for many years. In every season since 2018, Bassitt has posted a strikeout percentage of 20% or better.

Bassitt has a 19.7% strikeout percentage this year and my projections call him for a 19.6% strikeout percentage for the rest of the season. The Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t a very batting heavy team, as their projected roster has a combined 22% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitchers this season. Still, Pittsburgh has five hitters in its projected lineup with a strikeout percentage above 22% against right-handed pitchers this season.

Bassitt has struck out at least five in four of his last five starts after striking out zero in his first start of the season. Bassitt has gone at least six innings in four of his last five starts and struck out seven batters while going only five innings in his last start.

Bassitt should be able to finish five or six innings here and if he does, he should be heading to the top.

Take: Chris Bassitt Over 5.5 strikeouts (+124)

Yankees vs. Rays

Spokes F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (-115)

By Jim Turvey

Jhony Brito draws the unenviable task of trying to slow down the Death Star that is the 2023 Tampa Bay Rays offense on Friday.

The Rays not only have the best offense in baseball (146 wRC+), they have the best offense in baseball in almost almost every category. They have the best offense in baseball against right-handed pitchers. They have the best attack in baseball against fastballs. They have the best home offense in baseball. All of these are relevant Friday as they host Brito and the Yankees.

And Brito is not the guy to stop these trends from continuing. Of the 138 pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched this season, Brito is 122nd in batting minus walk rate and 118th xFIP. He’s got decent speed, but that’s about it, and the Rays’ roster, starting with Yandy Diaz at the top and his league-leading wRC+ against right-handers, is tailor-made to ruin his night.

Only a few books have this bet at the time of writing, but bettors can get the Rays team total over 2.5 -115 at DraftKings, or over 3.5 +165 at PointsBet. I would play over 2.5 at -130 and over 3.5 at +140.

Take: Spokes F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (-115)

Astros vs. Mariners

By Anthony Dabbundo

Luis Castillo has improved his strikeout rate and reduced his walk rate to start the 2023 season, but that comes with a noticeable dip in his speed. This is common for Castillo, which usually takes cold April and May to peak in June and July. While his fastball sits at 95 instead of 97, however, his Stuff+ is below average and much more attainable.

It’s only a matter of time before the Houston roster realizes that. Alex Bregman didn’t hit at all, Jose Abreu looks lost at the plate, and the Astros are bottom five in barrel rate and actually have a lower wRC+ than Oakland.

Seattle has its offensive issues too, though, and Teoscar Hernandez’s increased strikeout rate and Julio Rodriguez’s increased chase rate take a lot of needed power out of this lineup. Cristian Javier did pretty well early in the season – he gave up a few too many home runs – but his peripherals, Stuff+ ratings and smell rates are all in line with last year’s numbers. His fastball is hit very hard, but the numbers show it’s more of a blip than anything or of real concern.

Houston still projects to be the best roster, and the Astros have an extra day off here as well. This is a great place to sell high on Castillo until his speed comes back. With comparable pitchers and a better projected lineup, I’d consider the Astros an underdog.

Take: Astro +116

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