Sep 7, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier (53) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Gallery Sports’ Betting Picks for March 31, 2023
After a 3-0 sweep to start the MLB season, Gallery Sports’ Dalton Brown is back with three more picks for Friday’s much smaller baseball slate.
7:10 p.m. CT: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
The Pick: Astros -1.5 (+135) at DraftKings
Thursday night’s opener for the Houston Astros was frustrating. Houston’s offense was flummoxed by White Sox starter Dylan Cease all night, and Chicago’s offense broke through late to crash the party at Minute Maid Park. Friday, I’m expecting a reversal of fortune and then some. Cristian Javier takes the mound for the Astros, and one of the most promising young arms in baseball will look to build on 2022’s incredible xERA of 2.43 (96th percentile in MLB) against a White Sox lineup that struggles with right-handed pitching. Chicago posted the fourth-highest wRC+ in baseball against lefties last season but was just 23rd against righties. Cristian Javier posted a 0.40 ERA in September last season, and I’m expecting him to pick up where he left off against the Southsiders. Lance Lynn hasn’t faced the Astros since 2021 but was roughed up for six runs in just four innings of work in that start. Overall, Lynn is 0-5 with a pitiful 8.80 ERA over his last five starts against the Astros. Houston’s offense won’t stay down for long, so I’m excited to take a stab at a plus-money play on the Astros.
9:10 p.m. CT: Cleveland Guardians at Seattle Mariners
The Pick: Mariners First 5 Innings -0.5 (-115) at DraftKings
Cleveland and Seattle, each surprising playoff teams in 2022, continue their opening series from T-Mobile Park on Friday night. The Mariners have a big advantage on the mound with veteran and former Cy Young Award-winner Robbie Ray taking on rookie Hunter Gaddis, and I’m backing the vet. Gaddis made two appearances in the big leagues last season, and they both went inconceivably poorly. He allowed 15 earned runs in just 7.1 innings of work, but Cleveland is forced to lean on the righty with Triston McKenzie’s injury keeping him on the injured list. Mariners lefty Robbie Ray takes on a Guardians’ team that ranked just 27th in the league last season with a putrid wRC+ of 84 against southpaws. Ray carved up the Guardians when he saw them last season, pitching six scoreless innings on the road at Progressive Field. With such a stark contrast in starting pitching and a Seattle lineup I think is much better than Cleveland’s, I’ll gladly lay a half-run that the Mariners will lead through five innings.
9:10 p.m. CT: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
The Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (+116) at FanDuel
The Dodgers were an absolute machine on the runline last season, especially against right-handed pitching. L.A.’s roster has seen some significant turnover, but the Dodgers still boast an impressive lineup, and Chavez Ravine has been a house of horrors for Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks for the better part of a decade. Kelly has never won at Dodger Stadium, going 0-4 over six starts with an ERA of 6.97. Overall, Merrill Kelly is 0-9 in his career against Los Angeles with a 5.97 ERA. The Dodgers own him, and more often than not they’ve gotten the best of Arizona’s bullpen, too. Los Angeles was the No. 1 offense (measured by wRC+) in the majors against right-handed pitching last season, while Arizona ranked just 20th. Dustin May, coming off a fully healthy spring training for the first time since 2021, should see success and will be backed up by a well-rested bullpen after L.A.’s relievers only needed to cover three innings on Thursday night.