MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 5 Best Bets for Friday, Including Red Sox vs. Yankees & Mets vs. Padres (June 4)

Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images. Pictured: Francisco Lindor.

The weekend is here. That means a weekend full of baseball is here as well.

Our staff will have plenty of picks over the next 72 hours, but it all starts tonight with five bets, including picks for Red Sox vs. Yankees, Cardinals vs. Reds, and Mets vs. Padres.

Check out all five of our staff’s best bets for Friday night’s games below.


MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Red Sox vs. Yankees 7:05 p.m. ET
Cardinals vs. Reds 8:15 p.m. ET
Cardinals vs. Reds 8:15 p.m. ET
Mets vs. Padres 10:10 p.m. ET
Mets vs. Padres 10:10 p.m. ET

Red Sox vs. Yankees

Pick Red Sox ML +105
Book DraftKings
Pitchers Nathan Eovaldi vs. Michael King
First Pitch 7:05 p.m. ET

BJ Cunningham: Nathan Eovaldi has been outstanding for the Red Sox this season, posting a 3.33 xERA and 3.57 xFIP.

The biggest improvement he’s made from last season is on his HR/9 rate. In 2020, it was all the way up at 1.49, and this season he’s lowered it all the way down to 0.15, as he’s only allowed one long ball this season. His curveball has by far been his best pitch, as he’s given up only three hits and has allowed just a .123 wOBA on it while also producing a 34.3% whiff rate, per Baseball Savant.

The Yankees’ lineup has actually been really average against right-handed pitching this season, as they rank 16th with a .305 wOBA and 96 wRC+. They also have negative weighted runs against every pitch type this season, so Eovaldi should be able to mow through their lineup.

Michael King has spent most of the season pitching out of the bullpen, and rightfully so; his xERA is all the way up at 4.77. He’s struggling with his two main pitches of sinker and cutter, as both allow an xwOBA over .315. The Red Sox have hammered right-handed pitching this season, ranking fourth in baseball with a .327 wOBA and 106 wRC+. So, they should be able to get to King tonight.

I have the Red Sox projected as -115 favorites on the road tonight, so I think there’s some value on Boston at +105 and would play it up to +100.

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Cardinals vs. Reds

Pick Over 8
Book DraftKings
Pitchers Kwang Hyun Kim vs. Luis Castillo
First Pitch 8:15 p.m. ET

Tanner McGrath: I’ve been fading Luis Castillo all year. And it’s been an incredibly effective strategy.

The Reds are just 1-10 in Castillo’s starts this year, while the over is 8-2-1. The former All-Star is in the worst slump of his career, as he owns a 7.22 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP through 11 starts this season.

Meanwhile, I’ve been waiting for Kwang Hyun Kim to regress all season long. After six excellent starts, his weaknesses have begun to show. He’s allowed seven runs on 14 hits over his last 10 2/3 innings pitched while walking four and striking out just six.

While Kim has kept his exit velocity down, his average launch angle is high (10.3 degrees) and his barrel percentage (9.2%) and hard-hit percentage (39.5%) are below average. His expected ERA is more than a point higher than his actual ERA, and combining that with his high .319 BABIP, I’m expecting a lot of regression from Kim.

Between Nolan Arenado, Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winkner and the rest of the lineups, I’m expecting a lot of hard-hit balls off these pitchers tonight. Additionally, both of these teams rank in the bottom-10 of MLB teams in reliever FIP over the past week, so I’m expecting late-inning fireworks as well.

Everything in this game is pointing me toward the over. While this line has moved to 8.5 at some books, I played the over 8 at -109 on DraftKings Friday morning. I would be cautious playing 8.5 at anything worse than even money.

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Cardinals vs. Reds

Pick Reds ML +120
Book FanDuel
Pitchers Kwang Hyun Kim vs. Luis Castillo
First Pitch 8:15 p.m. ET

Kevin Davis: The Cardinals’ luster is beginning to wear off. Going into the season, I was not a big fan of the Cardinals, and now after they have played more than a third of their games, my patience is starting to pay off as they are now in second place in the NL Central with a 31-26 record.

The Cards may have a winning record, but they should have a losing record as they have a run differential of -12. Even though St. Louis has a 31-26 record, it could’ve had a record of 27-30.

Opposing the Cardinals is an equally underwhelming Reds team. However, the Cincy lineup is averaging 4.87 runs per game, which is the second-best in the National League.

Besides the Cardinals being an overvalued team, the other reason why they are favored is because of Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo. In the past, Castillo has been one of the more reliable arms in the Reds’ rotation, but this season he has not done that well, owning a 1-8 record with a 7.22 ERA.

However, Castillo is not doing nearly as bad as he appears, as he also has a 4.28 xFIP and a 0.3 WAR. As the season progresses, Castillo should revert to his previous form in which he could be relied upon to pitch for six innings and allow only two-to-three earned runs. Against a lackluster Cardinals lineup, the Reds are an attractive underdog at +120, and I would bet them up to +110.

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Mets vs. Padres

Pick Mets ML +170
Book DraftKings
Pitchers Joey Lucchesi vs. Blake Snell
First Pitch 10:10 p.m. ET

Sean Zerillo: For the remainder of his career, Blake Snell will carry the prestige of his AL Cy Young Award from 2018, when he pitched to 21-5 record and a 1.89 ERA over 31 starts. However, several lucky bounces boosted his final season line, including a .241 BABIP (career .296) which masked expected indicators closer to 3.00 (3.15 xERA, 3.16 xFIP, 3.30 SIERA).

Snell underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery in July 2019. Since returning, he has completed six innings on only one occasion (May 18 vs. Colorado). Moreover, Snell’s expected metrics since that time have fallen below 4.00 (xERA of 4.04 in 2020, 4.94 this season), making him closer to an average starting pitcher (4.37 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 3.38 xFIP) primarily resulting from an inflated home run rate (22.8% HR/FB vs. 12.6% career; 1.57 HR/9 vs. 1.01 career).

Snell’s stuff has remained entirely intact, but his command has worsened, and this season he’s hitting the strike zone (35.1%) less frequently than ever before (38% career), leading to career-worst marks in both walk rate (14.2% vs. 10.5% career) and hard-hit rate allowed (38% vs. 32% career).

Conversely, Joey Lucchesi has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball this season, with an ERA (6.56) more than double his FIP (3.22) and corresponding indicators (3.84 xERA, 3.88 xFIP, 3.62 SIERA), which should eventually regress for the better. Lucchesi has allowed a .328 BABIP (vs. .296 career) and a 48% strand rate (72.7% career) while posting the best command metrics (19% K-BB%) of his career, albeit in a small sample (23.1 innings).

I projected the Mets at 42.9% for the first five innings (F5) of Friday’s contest and 41.7% for the whole game, and I would play those moneylines down to +150 and +155 respectively.


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Mets vs. Padres

Pick Over 7
Book PointsBet
Pitchers Joey Lucchesi vs. Blake Snell
First Pitch 10:10 p.m. ET

Matt Trebby: A matchup of Joey Lucchesi vs. Blake Snell having its total set at seven seems … odd.

Both Lucchesi and Snell are due for better results, according to their advanced metrics. Lucchesi has a 6.56 ERA through 23 1/3 innings this season because of a very, very high .328 BABIP. His 3.88 xFIP indicates he’ll have some luck start going his way soon.

Snell’s problem has been control, as he’s issued 5.94 walks per nine innings through his first 11 starts. Because of the increased pitch count, Snell is averaging just shy of 4 1/2 innings per start this season. A .333 BABIP also would be a sign of better things to come for Snell.

For now, though, I’m not buying such a low total. I know the Mets are pretty injured at the moment, but patience is the most necessary tool for a lineup facing Snell. Many Padres bats will know Lucchesi well, also.

I’d play this number up to eight. Both bullpens rank in the top six in ERA in the majors, but they’re likely going to be asked to do a lot on Friday night.

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