Happy Easter to those celebrating. We know many of our readers will be spending time with family – and those who aren’t hopefully are enjoying nice Spring weather outside – so we’re here to share our top picks for today’s MLB action so you can focus on your day, not data.
As always, we’ll use odds provided by our friends at PointsBet.
Here are our best bets for Sunday, April 4, 2021.
NYY 3-inning total UNDER 1.5 runs (-125) -> 1 unit
Blue Jays starter TJ Zeuch is a sinker-ball pitcher with extreme platoon splits. The Yankees are starting 6 right-handed batters today, playing into Toronto’s advantage. The Bronx Bombers can score runs in bunches at any time, but Zeuch should be able to navigate this order at least once before any floodgates potentially open.
PHI 7-inning total UNDER 3 runs (-115) -> 1 unit
Braves starter Ian Anderson is one of the best young arms in the Majors. He dazzled in his abbreviated rookie campaign last year, finishing with a 1.95 ERA (2.54 FIP, 3.85 SIERA) and monster 11.41 K/9 over 32+ IP. His splits suggest he gets stronger as the game goes on. His projections indicate he’s in line for a strong-but-not-perfect start. The uncertainty of how stretched out he is or isn’t leads me to recommend this pick, but suggest just a half unit given the potential for the Braves bullpen – heavily used the first two games this season – to have to pitch 1-2 of these innings cleanly for the under to hit.
STL 7-inning total OVER 3.5 runs (-131) -> 1 unit
STL to win (-112) -> 1 unit
Right-hander Jeff Hoffman makes his Reds debut today. The former Rockies starter has pitched much better outside of Coors Field over his career, but faces a stout challenge today in the “Great American Small-park.” Hoffman has fairly neutral splits and actually gives up more hard contact (38.4%) to right-handed batters than left-handed (35.3%). It’s a warmer day in Cincinnati, with gentle winds blowing out. There should be ample runs scored today – especially powered by Goldschmidt, Arenado and DeJong in the heart of the order – and while the 5-run game total gives me pause, the 3.5-run 7-inning total is ripe for the taking. STL starter Carlos Martinez has transformed into a boom-or-bust option, but projects to have a decent enough outing against a lineup light on left-handed pop to set the team up for the win.
MIN to win (-105) -> 2 units
MIN-MIL alternate total UNDER 8.5 runs (-136) -> 1 unit
Both Michael Pineda and Adrian House grade out as fine starting options today. Today’s Twins lineup is watered down with the absence of Josh Donaldson (IL) and Nelson Cruz (no DH), but boasts six hitters with wOBAs north of 0.400 against sinkers – which Houser threw 43.6% of the time last season. Similarly, Milwaukee’s lineup is top-heavy, with few offensive threats outside of Yelich and Hiura at the top of the order. I think this is another low-scoring affair that MIN is able to scratch out in order to salvage the series win.
Royals 7-inning total OVER 4 (-125) -> 1 unit
Royals to win (-174) -> 1 unit
Journeyman Jordan Lyles is the epitome of a serviceable innings-eater. It’s the only reason a starter with a 5.33 ERA over 967.1 career IP still has a job at the major-league level. The issue today is that Lyles isn’t completely stretched out, having not pitched more than 4-innings in any Spring Training game. While he does not project to implode over the course of his likely-to-be-abbreviated start, the Rangers bullpen has been an absolute powder keg the first 2 games of this series. The Royals offense has scored 25 runs already during this Opening Weekend series, and should tee off for 4+ once again today at Kauffman Stadium, where the forecast also calls for a warm day in the high-70s, with a gentle breeze out to left. 2018 first-round pick Brady Singer takes the mound for Kansas City. The right-hander put together a decent rookie campaign in 2020 (4-5, 4.06 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 2.65 K/BB in 64.1 IP) and looks to build off a strong Spring Training. It’ll only take a serviceable start for him to get the win today.
PIT-CHC alternate run total UNDER 9 (-140) -> 1 unit
Zach Davies and Mitch Keller grade out to be perfect serviceable starting options today. That, combined with what historically are pitching-friendly weather conditions at Wrigley Field, are enough for me to consider these projections wager-worthy. For you DFS players out there, Keller also is a quintessential boom-or-bust, tournament-only SP, who you might consider for your lineups if you’re building any. For the purposes of this bet, though, even if he “busts,” the margin here is wide enough that this under still will have a healthy chance of hitting.
LAD 7-inning total OVER 5 runs (-125) -> 1.5 units
LAD -1.5 (-143) -> 1.5 units
Rockies southpaw Austin Gomber projects to be one of the worst starters on today’s slate. Cody Bellinger is getting the day off for the Dodgers, plus the weather is only neutral – not the windy heat that creates video-game-type offensive outputs at Coors Field in July-August – but LA is still rolling out a stacked lineup. LA’s game total is 7 runs, and 7 runs is hard for any MLB team to score in any circumstances, but I see 5 within 7 innings as being in-line with projected performances, all things considered.
Gomber’s opposed by Julio Urias, who is still somehow only 24 years-old. Urias has had mixed results at Coors Field over the course of his career, but the talent difference between the two lineups today is enormous. I could see him scuffling and not getting the W, but my projections clearly have Gomber getting the L. I feel confident that the reigning World Series Champs will score ample runs today to win, and win by 2 or more.
CWS (+108) -> 1 unit
LAA 7-inning total UNDER 3.5 runs (-115) -> 0.5 units
LAA team total UNDER 4.5 (-105) -> 0.5 units
Walks have been the achilles heel of White Sox starter Dylan Cease throughout his young career. The 25-year-old only walked 7 batters over 17 IP during Spring Training, which gives me hope he’s finally learning how to harness his electric fastball. He also has struggled getting LHBs out vs. RHBs – .378 career wOBA vs. .324, respectively – but might only face 1-2 lefties in LAA’s lineup tonight. Combine that with world-class SP soothsayer Yasmani Grandal SP serving as his battery-mate, and I think Cease can keep the Angels in check this evening. Win, lose or draw, the good news is we should know whether or not Cease “has it” within his first 10 pitches of the game.
Shohei Ohtani is the man. That’s it. That’s the analysis.
For the first time in his MLB career, he’ll bat AND pitch on the same day in the American League. He’ll be limited to 80-ish pitches, though, and I can’t help but feel there are enough distractions and unknowns here to think this might more unfamiliar than familiar for the veteran two-way player. He should (could? projects to?) pitch fine, but the Angels bullpen is still a liability until proven otherwise, and they’ll likely need to pitch 4 innings or more tonight. I think this all adds up to a relatively low-scoring affair, but a win for the South Siders.
That’s all for our Easter MLB Picks and Preview. If you haven’t already, be sure to use our exclusive PointsBet deposit code 2FREEBETS when signing up and build your bankroll with two free wagers.