Expert MLB best bets, picks and predictions today, 5/28: Slow start in the desert
Another week of baseball wraps up with an action-packed 15-game slate today. Games starts early with the Dodgers and Rays concluding their series at 11:35 AM on Peacock while the Phillies and Braves continue their NL East clash on Sunday Night Baseball.
Before we get into the games, let me introduce myself. For those that don’t know me, my name is Keith and I finished up +62.6 units in the regular season last year with my Pickswise picks.
Let’s get into my MLB best bet for Sunday, and be sure to also visit our MLB predictions for all of today’s games.
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Boston Red Sox vs Arizona Diamondbacks F3 under 2.5 (-110)
Available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing
Tanner Houck could be really, really special. The 26-year-old has solidified himself in the starting rotation for the first time in his career, and don’t be fooled by his 4.99 ERA. I’m not saying that just because he has a 3.61 xERA but also because nearly all of the damage against Houck comes after the first 3 innings, hence me eliminating the later innings by taking a first 3 inning bet. To give you an idea of Houck’s pitching, here are his splits per innings: 1.00 ERA and a .124 opponent batting average in innings 1-3 but a 9.15 ERA and a .352 opponent average in innings 4-6. In 9 starts this season he has allowed only 3 runs in the first 3 innings but 19 in innings 4-5. As you can see, I’m keen to exclude the 4th or 5th inning with Houck and just focus on the first time through the order.
Looking at Merrill Kelly’s home and away splits, it’s very misleading to see a 4.25 ERA at home. That’s because he has limited hitters to a .180 batting average with a 34% strikeout rate at Chase Field, so he’s been on the wrong end of some timely hits. But just looking at the first 3 innings, Kelly has been exceptional. In 10 starts he has a 1.50 ERA with a .181 opponent batting average during the first 3 frames of the game. Kelly will face a Red Sox offense that struggles away from the Green Monster because the Sox lineup has a .296 average at home but just a .228 average on the road. Also, during Boston’s 8-game road trip this club ranks 23rd in batting average, 26th in on-base percentage and 28th in slugging percentage, so it’s not like Kelly will be facing a scorching hot offense, either. Between 2 pitchers who are excellent in the first time through the order, I’m taking the first 3 innings under.
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