Tonight’s MLB slate is loaded with 15 games, headlined by the first-place Dodgers heading to San Francisco to take on their NL West rivals. On the East Coast, Anthony Rizzo plays his first game against his former club as the Cubs arrive at Yankee Stadium for a three-game weekend set. While those contests may garner the most attention, they aren’t among our top baseball betting picks for Friday.
Below, we’ll break down why the Blue Jays will get away with the Tigers, how Aaron Ashby will shut down the Nationals and why offense will be hard to find in Atlanta.
MLB Best Bets: Tips, Expert Picks for Friday, June 10
(Odds courtesy of Sports Interaction)
Blue Jays -1.5 (-120) @ Tigers
Toronto heads to Detroit for a three-game series and looks to José Berríos (4-2, 5.24 ERA, 4.71 FIP) to get the Blue Jays back in the win column following Wednesday’s 8-4 loss at Kansas City. .
Despite Berríos’ disappointing start to 2022, the Tigers’ offense is exactly what Berríos needs to see to regain confidence. The Tigers have yet to show any signs of life, ranking dead last in wRC+ (75 wRC+) and isolated power (.100 ISO) for a third of the season.
Berríos can provide the Blue Jays with a quality start in a game where he is likely to get ample support from his offense. The Tigers will counter with 24-year-old rookie Elvin Rodriguez (0-1, 10.13 ERA, 7.58 FIP), who was hit by a Yankees offense that found Rodriguez was tipping his pitches.
While Rodriguez likely won’t tip his shots in Friday’s opener, Toronto’s offense can still get away with it even without knowing what’s coming. The Blue Jays have been on a hot streak the past 15 days, leading in slugging percentage (.537), batting average (.301), OPS (.917) and runs scored (88).
Support the Blue Jays to secure a multi-run victory over the Tigers.
Nationals UNDER 1.5 runs in first 5 innings (+105)
In the midst of a six-game losing streak, the top-ranked Brewers need an efficient outing from Aaron Ashby (1-4, 3.13 ERA, 3.16 FIP). Milwaukee will look to its nasty 24-year-old southpaw to get him back in the win column against the Nationals in last place.
Milwaukee’s current money line price (-150, 60 percent implied probability) is a fair assessment of the Brewers’ probability of victory, so instead of letting the Brewers win, take the Nationals to score LESS than 1.5 runs in the first five innings.
Ashby’s last start was a bit tricky, as he gave up four earned runs in six innings of work in the Brewers’ 4-0 loss to San Diego. Ashby made a crucial mistake, giving up a two-run homer to Jake Cronenworth in the top of the fifth.
Ashby has been impressive in his first full season, ranking in the 95th percentile in xSLG, 93rd percentile in xBA, and 89th percentile in xERA.
The Nationals’ lineup has struggled virtually all season, ranking 6 percent below the league average in wRC+ (96) and 24th in the MLB in hard hitting percentage (36 percent). Ashby is more than capable of limiting Washington’s offensive production for the first five innings.
Pirates vs. Braves first 5 innings UNDER 4.5 runs (-110)
In the second game of a four-game series, two rookie pitchers get the initial nod against each other, with Spencer Strider (1-2, 2.76 ERA, 2.19 FIP) making his first home start for Atlanta and Roansy Contreras ( 1-0, 1.93 ERA, 3.18 FIP) going strong for Pittsburgh.
Both starters still have to face their opposition, and more often than not, the first time a starting pitcher faces a batter, the advantage goes to the pitcher. Hitters will try to get a feel for how they will be pitched as the game goes on, making UNDER 4.5 runs in the first five innings a worthwhile bet.
Strider has been effective in his rookie season, entering Friday night in the 99th percentile in K-index, 98th percentile in fastball speed and 93rd percentile in smell index. He recently joined Atlanta’s starting rotation after posting several dominant outings as a middle reliever. Strider’s first two starts have been formidable, but Friday night is expected to be a coming out party for the 23-year-old right-hander.
In his first 15 2/3 innings, Contreras has allowed just two earned runs. The 22-year-old right-hander has a four-pitch arsenal highlighted by a dependable slider who posted a 48.2 percent nose percentage and 29.4 save percentage. He has also shown good dominance, sporting a K:BB ratio of 26:8 in 23.1 total innings this season.
Consider two of the most strikeout-prone offenses pitted against each other, and this contest has the makings of a pitching matchup. Atlanta ranks last in MLB in strikeout rate (25.6 percent); Pittsburgh is not far behind in 28th place (24.6 percent).
Look for Strider and Contreras to efficiently navigate through the batting order in the first two at-bats.