May 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena (3) drives in a run on a sacrifice fly against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks for April 7, 2023
After a 2-1 day pushed Dalton Brown’s MLB record to 16-7, he’s back with another three picks for Friday’s packed MLB card.
2:05 p.m. CT: Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies
The Pick: Phillies -1.5 (+115) at BetRivers
After the Phillies’ home opener with the Reds on Thursday was rained out, the two squads will instead open up Citizens Bank Park for the 2023 season on Friday afternoon. Cincinnati will send young flamethrower Hunter Greene to the mound, who oozes with talent but has yet to put it all together as a big leaguer. Greene’s first start of 2023 was inefficient – he completed just 3.1 innings, allowing five hits while walking three batters and allowing three earned runs. Greene’s 100+ mph fastball is elite, but he hasn’t harnessed it enough to avoid barrels or walking batters, as evidenced by his poor Baseball Savant numbers in 2022. The defending National League champions are licking their wounds after a tough road trip and will be ready to rock in front of a capacity crowd at home. Zack Wheeler will pitch for the Phillies, looking to build on his 2022 home ERA of 1.85. Wheeler has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in recent years and is taking on a Reds lineup that ranked just 28th against right-handed pitching with a wRC+ of 80.
3:10 p.m. CT: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins
The Pick: Astros moneyline (+115) at WynnBet
The Houston Astros are underdogs on Friday. Astros fans know how complete their favorite team’s roster is, and this is a Twins team that Houston has owned of late. Houston played Minnesota seven times last season, and the Astros won every single game by at least two runs. Since 2020, Houston is 8-1 on the road at Target Field, including a two-game Postseason sweep. Jose Urquidy, the Astros’ starting pitcher, pitched to a 2.28 ERA in nine day game starts last season, and has an excellent, fully rested bullpen behind him. Sonny Gray pitches for Minnesota, and while Gray’s season-opening outing saw him allow zero runs over five innings, the righty surrendered seven base runners, and Baseball Savant assigned him an xERA of 9.10 for the effort. Houston’s lineup provides a lot more punch than Kansas City’s, too. The Astros as an underdog against a team they’ve beaten to a pulp in recent seasons? Yes, please.
3:12 p.m. CT: Chicago White Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pick: White Sox moneyline (-130) at WynnBet
The Chicago White Sox will head out on the road Friday afternoon, where they’ll oppose the Pittsburgh Pirates for Pittsburgh’s home opener. The Pirates are sending fossilized lefty Rich Hill to the mound once again, and I think the lefty will struggle against Chicago’s righty-centric lineup. The White Sox ranked fourth in baseball last season with a wRC+ of 119 against southpaws, making them an exceptionally poor matchup for Hill. Lucas Giolito, meanwhile, catches a break against a Pittsburgh lineup that finished 26th against righties last season. Giolito was solid in his first start of the season on the road against a tough Astros lineup, completing five innings while allowing two earned runs, striking out six, and walking just one. The righty gets a much softer landing Friday in Pittsburgh, so I’m expecting his results to continue to improve. In 2022, Giolito posted an ERA more than two full runs better on the road than he did at home. The White Sox are the better overall team, have the better pitcher on the mound, and mash lefties – this price is too cheap, all factors considered.