SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking shares his two top MLB betting plays for Monday, May 17
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Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Top preseason AL Central contenders meet when Chicago and Minnesota open a three-game series tonight. The first pitch for the Twins vs. White Sox matchup is slated for 7:40 p.m. ET at Target Field in Minneapolis. This is the fourth of 19 meetings this season. These rivals met last week in Chicago, where the Sox swept the three-game series. Chicago won all each contests by at least two runs and outscored the Twins by a 26–13 margin. Dating back to the 2020 season, Minnesota is 1–6 during the last seven games in this series. Chicago is a slight favorite on the road.
Chicago (24–15) was inconsistent early as it opened the season with an 8–9 record. Kicking the offense into gear, the White Sox have been hot during a 16–6 recent run. Playing up to their AL Central chalk status, Chicago has a 2.5 game lead on Cleveland, and it is 6.5 games ahead of slumping Kansas City. After sweeping Minnesota, Chicago split a four-game series with the Royals at home. Kansas City won 6–2 and lost 3–1 during a doubleheader on Friday. The Royals posted a 5–1 win on Saturday, and the White Sox won 4–3 on Sunday. Strong pitching and hitting have helped the Sox surge.
Minnesota (13–25) was the second favorite to win the AL Central, behind Chicago (-121), with a +125 moneyline. Living up to expectations early, the Twins opened with a 5–2 record. It’s been mostly downhill since then, as Minnesota has lost 23 of its last 31 games. The Twins have fallen 10.5 games behind Chicago. Following the sweep in Chicago, Minnesota lost 2–1 during a series at home against Oakland. Between 6–1 and 7–6 wins by the Athletics, the Twins avoided a sweep with a 5–4 win on Saturday. Minnesota is on a 2–9 slide and was outscored 66–42 over the last 11 games.
This is a repeat of the pitching matchup from the White Sox 13–8 win in Chicago on May 12. Both pitchers were rocked in that contest. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2–1, 4.53 ERA) starts for Chicago and LHP J. A. Happ (2–1, 4.26 ERA) gets the call for Minnesota. Keuchel gave up six runs and eight hits over 5.2 innings but took the win. Happ allowed nine runs and nine hits over just 3.1 innings and took the loss. The White Sox are averaging 5.12 runs per game, and the Twins average 4.60 runs. Adding some value to the Chicago moneyline, bet the White Sox and over on the moneyline/run total prop.
Pick: Chicago White Sox / OVER 8.5 total runs (+230)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers
Slumping squads meet when Arizona and Los Angeles begin a four-game series in California. Game time for the Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers contest is 10:10 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium. This is the first of 19 meetings between these NL West Division rivals. The Dodgers started hot, then went cold, but have heated up again. The Diamondbacks opened cold, then heated up, but have gone cold again. These teams met 10 times last year, and the Dodgers posted an 8–2 series win. Six of the eight wins were by at least two runs. Los Angeles outscored Arizona by a 55–34 margin over 10 games.
Arizona (18–23) stumbled during a 5–10 start to the season. Beginning to click on offense, the Diamondbacks went on a 10–3 run and outscored their opponents by an 88–63 combined count. Arizona has struggled since then and is on a 3–10 slide. The Diamondbacks are on the road after a 2–2 split with Miami and a 2-1 series loss to Washington. Arizona posted 5–2 and 11–3 wins, plus 3–2 and 5–1 losses, against the Marlins. The Nationals ripped the D-Backs 17–2 on Friday, and Arizona rebounded with an 11–4 win on Saturday. Washington closed out the series with a 3–0 win on Sunday.
Los Angeles (22–18) opened the season as the hottest team in the league with a 13–2 record. Cooling off, that run was followed by a 4–14 losing streak. The Dodgers were outscored 74–41 during the 14 losses and outscored their opponents 30–8 during the four wins. This is the third straight home series for Los Angeles. The Dodgers defeated Seattle twice, 6–4 and 7–1, before a 2–1 series win against Miami. The Dodgers won the next two games, 9–6 and 7–0, before the Marlins avoided a sweep with a 3–2 win on Sunday. Los Angeles has won 10 of the last 12 games at home against the Diamondbacks.
LHP Madison Bumgarner (4–2, 4.12 ERA) is facing the Dodgers for the 38th time in his career. He struggled early this season as he allowed 17 runs over 13.2 innings during his first three starts. Since then, he has won four of five starts and allowed three runs over 30 innings. RHP Walker Buehler (1–0 3.45 ERA) has faced Arizona eight times and the Dodgers are 6–2 during those starts. He has given up 11 runs and 16 hits, over 19 innings, during his last three starts. SS Corey Seager (hand) is on the Los Angeles injury list. While that’s a concern here, back the hotter squad and bet on the Dodgers.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers / OVER 7.5 total runs (+200)
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 23–29 (-6.13 Units)
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