SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking previews Monday’s MLB betting action and shares the two top picks on his baseball betting card.
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Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics
Meeting for the first time since the 2019 MLB season, Toronto and Oakland begin a four-game AL East vs. AL West series tonight. Game time for the Athletics vs. Blue Jays matchup is slated for 9:40 p.m. ET at the Oakland Coliseum in California. These teams didn’t play each other last year, and this is the first of seven games this season. Toronto outscored Oakland 36–13 and posted a 6–0 sweep during the 2019 season series. Before that, the Athletics outscored Blue Jays 51–18 during a 7–0 sweep in 2018. Toronto is running hot while Oakland has cooled off following a 13-game winning streak.
Toronto (14–12) sits second in the AL East standings and trails Boston by 1.5 games. The Blue Jays opened the season with a 7–10 record but have won seven of their last nine games. Toronto heads to Oakland after outscoring Atlanta 26–12 during a three-game sweep at home. George Springer made his long-awaited Blue Jays debut on April 28. Springer hit two home runs during the Jays 6–5 F/10 win against the Braves on Saturday in his third start. Toronto is 7–8 on the road, and eight or more total runs were scored in seven of those games. Overall, the Blue Jays score 4.61 runs and allow 3.73 runs.
Oakland (17–12) was outscored 59–19 and opened the season with a 1–7 record. Kicking their offense into gear, the Athletics outscored their opponents by an 81–36 margin during a 13-game winning streak. Oakland has lost five of their last eight games, including a 2-1 weekend series loss at home against Baltimore. After the Orioles won 3–2 and 8–4, the Athletics avoided a sweep with a 7–5 win yesterday. Oakland sits first in the AL West Division and has a one-game lead on Seattle. The Athletics score 4.20 runs and allow 4.41 runs per game. Oakland is 9–8 at home this season.
LHP Steven Matz (4–1, 4.00 ERA) is making his sixth start for Toronto. He allowed six runs, over 23 innings, during his first four starts. Matz struggled in his last outing as he allowed six runs, over 3.2 innings, during the Blue Jays 8–2 loss to Washington on April 28. RHP Frankie Montas (2–2, 6.20 ERA) is making his sixth start for Oakland. He allowed 17 runs and 30 hits, over 24.2 innings, during his first five starts. Montas gave up three runs, over six innings, during a 4–3 loss to Tampa Bay in his last start on April 27. Expecting a high-scoring contest, bet OVER on the run total.
Pick: OVER 8 (-120) total runs
Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres
Meeting for the fifth time this season, Pittsburgh visits San Diego for the first of a three-game series tonight. The first pitch for the Pirates vs. Padres contest is 10:10 p.m. ET at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. These teams met in the middle of April and split a four-game series in Pittsburgh. San Diego posted a 6–2 win in the first game before the Pirates rebounded with 8–4 and 5–1 victories. The Padres closed the series with an 8–3 win. Prior to that, Pittsburgh dominated San Diego during the 2019 season. The Pirates won six of seven games and outscored the Padres by a 40–27 margin.
Pittsburgh (12–15) is playing slightly above expectations, as the Pirates were the top preseason longshot with +25000 World Series odds at DraftKings. Pittsburgh sits fourth in the NL Central standings and trails first-place Milwaukee by 4.5 games. The Pirates opened the season on a 1–6 slide before rebounding with 11 wins over their next 16 games. Pittsburgh heads to San Diego following a 3–0 series sweep in St. Louis. Including a 12–5 blowout loss in the second game, all three losses were by three or more runs. The Cardinals outscored the Pirates by a 22-8 combined count.
San Diego (16–13) sits third in the tight NL West Division race. They trail Los Angeles by a half-game and San Francisco by 1.5 games. The Padres opened the season with an 8–3 winning streak but lost seven of their next nine games. Getting back on track, San Diego has won six of their last nine contests. That includes a 3–1 series win against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Padres host the Pirates following a 2–1 weekend series win at home against San Francisco. After San Diego won the first two games, 3–2 and 6–2, the Giants avoided a sweep with a 7–1 win in the series finale yesterday.
LHP Tyler Anderson (2–2, 3.38 ERA) is making his sixth start for the Pirates. On four hits over 5.1 innings, he allowed one run during the Pirates’ 5–1 win at home against the Padres on April 14. With starters Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddock sidelined, RHP Miguel Diaz starts for San Diego. He was just recalled from the minors and hasn’t appeared in an MLB game since the 2019 season. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.77 runs per game on offense and allows 4.74 runs on defense. San Diego is better in both categories as they score 4.00 runs and allow 3.55 runs. Bet the run line and back the Padres.
Pick: San Diego Padres -1.5 (+108) run line
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 15–21 (-8.28 Units)
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