Expert MLB best bets, picks and predictions today, 3/31: Ranger Suarez starts strong in Philadelphia

Ranger Suarez of the Philadelphia Phillies
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Caleb Wilfinger


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Deputy Editor for Pickswise with years of experience handicapping and giving out winning picks. Lover of all US sports and Southampton FC. For Caleb Wilfinger media enquiries, please email
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The long wait is over! After an eventful offseason that featured plenty of moves that shook up the sport, the MLB regular season is back, and off to a terrific start. The Pickswise MLB team was profitable on the diamond once again last season, as we went 141-115-4 on our best bets during the 2023 campaign. With a fresh season ahead of us, I’ve scoured through the odds board and targeted a best bet in the NL East on Sunday’s loaded slate.

But before we dive in, don’t forget to check out our MLB picks for today’s games. You can also check out our 2024 MLB Betting Guide, which features win total futures, best bets on the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, division winner selections and World Series predictions from our team of experts. Let’s get into my best bet for the final day of opening weekend.

Philadelphia Phillies First 5 innings ML over Atlanta Braves (+110)

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. 

After a couple of postseason performances where the Phillies exceeded expectations (despite failing to win the World Series in both years), things have not started out great in Philadelphia in 2024. The Phillies are off to an 0-2 start while being outscored by the Braves by a combined margin of 21-7 in the process. On Friday, the bullpen was the main culprit, surrendering all 9 runs after a terrific outing from Zack Wheeler. On Saturday, the tables turned and it was instead Aaron Nola who struggled mightily on the mound, allowing 7 earned runs in what was a blowout loss at the hands of a division rival. However, I’ll be backing a pitcher I’m much higher on than Nola in Sunday’s outing, one who has also had prior success against this elite Braves lineup over the last 2 seasons.

At this point, it’s pretty clear that Ranger Suarez is the second-best pitcher on this Phillies staff, and he’s proven it over the course of the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Most importantly, he’s demonstrated his value to this rotation against this very Atlanta lineup in the postseason, including an ERA of 1.50 to go along with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work in his 3 appearances over the past 2 seasons. He should have some decent run support from his lineup, as the Phillies are taking on a relative unknown in Chris Sale, who is coming off a disappointing 2023 campaign (4.29 ERA, .382 xSLG). Suarez is not typically a pitcher that goes deep into games and I certainly don’t think we’ll see that in his first start of the season, so I like grabbing this plus-money price on the Phillies money line in the first 5 innings, where we can still get a push if the game is tied after the 5th. Let’s buy low on Philadelphia in a pretty big motivational spot at home.

Read our full Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies predictions

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