Friday’s Major League Baseball slate features 15 games and plenty of intriguing betting opportunities.
As a reminder, the experts on the Payoff Pitch MLB podcast break down their favorite Picks from Today’s List every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, including each analyst’s favorite underdog on the list, and they have two more to recommend today. today.
You can read more about their picks below, and be sure to subscribe to Payoff Pitch for MLB picks and predictions throughout the season.
Cardinals vs. Guardians, 7:10 p.m. ET
Matthew Liberatore vs. Shane Bieber
Charlie DiSturco: I like the St. Louis Cardinals here at +105. It’s a short underdog, but I don’t really like today’s slate for underdogs.
But you look at the game: It’s Shane Bieber on the mound for Cleveland, and Cleveland’s offense is bad – the Guardians are 28th against lefties and also bottom against righties, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a bullpen after Liberatore.
St. Louis, on the other hand, is fifth against right-handed pitchers. And Bieber, we’ve talked about this countless times on the podcast: his speed has dropped every year, his withdrawal rate has gone from 41% the year COVID to 33% the year after, to 25% and now to 17.8% this season. .
So there’s a lot of concern for Bieber, who is in the bottom 5% of all pitchers in hard hit rate and average outbound speed. Batters smash the ball. The Cardinals gave Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Willson Contreras a day off (Thursday) against the Reds, so they all come in well rested against Bieber, whose batting average is expected to be close to .300 and forecast above .450, both career-worst. And its xERA at 4.32, so that’s a bit concerning to me.
I think he’s going to regress negatively, and he’s fighting with a positive chance, so I think everything’s going to come back to bite him.
Liberatore came in and made his first start of the season last time out so there’s not a whole lot of sample size on him but if you look at his Triple-A numbers all the expected metrics put him in the 3 bottoms. He throws like a high 3/low 4 pitcher.
He’s got some good batting stuff and a high ground ball rate, so I think the biggest difference here is that Liberatore has improved a lot year over year. His fastball jumped almost a mile and a half per hour, his curveball was thrown 44 times at 77 mph. A 90s fastball and a 77mph curveball are a great pitch mix. An expected batting average of .047 so far for the 40 times he has thrown it.
So I like the Cardinals here at more money, because I think they should be favored here. I love bleaching Bieber and will continue to bleach Bieber all season long, so I’m going to catch the Cardinals here as an underdog.
Mets vs. Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET
Max Scherzer vs. Connor Seabold
BJ Cunningham: I like the Rockies +185 against the Mets at Coors Field.
Max Scherzer is starting to fall here. He’s starting to regress pretty hard. He has an xERA of 4 for the first time since the shortened 2020 season. His K for 9 is below 10 for the first time since 2011. So what’s wrong? He’s 38 and he was supposed to be the No. 1 starter in the Mets rotation.
Well, its speed is going down and that’s what happens when you’re in your late thirties and approaching your forties. He went from 94 to 93 on his fastball, and his slider and shifter, which was normally around 85 mph, is now closer to 83 mph.
You look at his Stuff+, even since last year it’s gone from 106 to 102. So the regression is happening here for Scherzer. And now he’s going to Coors Field. He also has his career-lowest rushing ball rate at 28%, facing a Rockies roster that has been good against right-handed throwing.
I understand the numbers are probably inflated because of Coors Field, but the Rockies actually have a better wOBA against right-handed throwing than the Mets right now.
Connor Seabold will be on the mound for the Rockies, and he’s kind of a positive regression kid. He’s pitched a bit in the bullpen, some as a starter — he’s only made four starts this season. His ERA is closer to 6, but his xERA is about a full run lower. His Stuff+ is bad, but his Location+ is 103, so he obviously has good control over his pitches, although they might not be that good.
A price of +185 for a team against a pitcher like Scherzer who is regressing, who is no longer the pitcher he once was, who is pitching at Coors Field, I think is way, way too big. So I like the Rockies at +185.
Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Monday, May 22
- Cardinals Moneyline
- Rocky Mountains Moneyline
At FanDuel, this game would fetch +446 at the time of this writing.
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