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MLB Picks – Expert Bets For Sunday, April 18

MLB Picks – Expert Bets For Sunday, April 18

If you’re looking for expert MLB picks for today’s games, you’ve come to the right place!

Below are my favorite bets for Sunday, April 18. As always, I’m using lines provided by our friends at PointsBet. If you haven’t already, be sure to support Total Sports Picks by creating an account and using PointsBet promo code 2FREEBETS when you sign up.

Let’s dig in to today’s baseball picks!

Cardinals-Phillies

3-inning total under 2.5 (-125) – 1.5 units

Alternate 5-inning total under 4.5 (-140) – 1 unit

Aaron Nola is one of the most reliable pitchers in the NL. I love chasing him in RHB-heavy matchups. While today’s tilt versus the visiting Cardinals doesn’t quite fit the bill – their lineup features two LHBs and two switch-hitters, creating a bit more of a net neutral platoon advantage – the quality of these bats are low overall and do not ruin the spot. Nola projects to be one of the top pitchers on today’s slate and I trust him to be on track to deliver a Quality Start by the end of the 5th.

“Serviceable” is the best word to describe STL starter John Gant. The 28-year-old right-hander is far from a world-beater, but has the makeup of a perfectly decent MLB long reliever. He has begun the 2021 season as a starter, but has been on a short leash – operating on an 80-85-pitch limit and not ever seeing the same lineup for a 3rd time. However, he has strong platoon splits – 43.4% hard contact and 38.7% GB rate vs. LHBs, compared to 34.4% hard contact and 52.3% GB rate against RHBs over the course of his career – and faces only two everyday lefties in the PHI lineup today.

I hate to do it, but this is the type of game where I see value in chopping and changing different props. Both starters should fare well, but with the caveats. Gant won’t pitch deep, plus I don’t trust either bullpen today. That said, this should be a relative low-scoring affair so long as the starters remain in the game. That might only be until the 5th inning, but I’ll gladly wager on the unders until then.

Rays-Yankees

NY -1.5 (-118) – 1 unit

The Rays have New York’s number, but I think this one will fall under “The Empire Strikes Back” category. Gerrit Cole takes the mound for the Yankees, while Andrew Kittredge and Ryan Yarbrough will serve as Tampa’s respective opener and long reliever. It forecasts to be a lovely Spring day in the cozy confines of Yankees Stadium, so the ball should be carrying to the host’s advantage. Cole has the 2nd-highest expected win projection on the day, and I not only am happy to wager on that, but see him getting enough run support to cover the run line.

White Sox-Red Sox

BOS (-105) – 1 unit

I hesitate to bet on anything other than the under in 7-inning games, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. Boston starter Tanner Houck projects to only pitch 5 innings, give up a few runs, but record a lot of strikeouts. His opponent, Dallas Keuchel, also projects to go 5-6-innings and give up a few runs, but do so by leaning heavily on his worm-killing sinker. I think the lefty-mashing top-half of the Boston order does enough damage – and Houck is able to stay effective enough just long enough – for the Red Sox to take the first game of today’s doubleheader.

Also consider taking the UNDER on the game total of 7 runs. 

Pirates-Brewers

PIT under 3 runs (-121) – 1 unit

Double: MIL to win and under 7.5 (+240) – 0.5 units

Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta projects to be one of the top pitchers on today’s slate, while Pittsburgh’s Chad Kuhl projects to be one of the worst. Years ago I used to pick on Peralta with DFS lineups, but the recent improvements he has made are legitimate. The watered-down Brewers lineup gives me pause, but I think the PointsBet same-gay “Double” provides bet-able value splitting the -200 moneyline and 8-run total.

Mets-Rockies

NYM (-176) – 1.5 units

NYM -1.5 (-131) – 1 unit

Two pitchers who lean heavily on their fastballs, two radically different outcomes expected.

Today’s hammer is brought to us by Coors Field, where Antonio Senzatela (64% FB usage, 4.97 career ERA at Coors) and the Rockies host Marcus Stroman (~60% usage combined between his sinker and cutter, 58.7% career ground-ball rate) and the front-running Mets. You can find the analysis for this pick by reading between the lines. 

All but one Mets hitter boasts a wOBA >0.367 against four-seam fastballs, and that’s without the infamous Coors bump they’ll see today. Conversely, no matter how hard the Rockies try, they won’t be able to hit grounders for home runs. 

Whether the Mets score 5 or 15 runs today, they’re in a great spot to not only win, but win comfortably.

Dodgers-Padres

LAD (-116) – 1 unit

This series has been amazing, and I can’t wait to continue watching this rivalry for the next 3+ years with the respective cores of both teams intact.

While Trevor Bauer projects to have a stronger start than Blake Snell, I think both turn in quality performances. The difference for me is weather-related. This game will take place in the afternoon, meaning the infamous “marine layer” will not have moved over Petco Field yet. We should see an extra long ball or two today, which further favors the reigning World Series Champs.

Braves-Cubs

Alternate total over 8.5 (-125) – 1 unit

There’s a gentle breeze blowing out to left at Wrigley, which means we’re likely to see a bump to bats. Today’s bump projects to be an extremely modest one, but Bryse Wilson and Kyle Hendricks both project to cough up a few runs. Based off how this series has gone so far, both bullpens should cough up a few more, too. I see 9 being an accurate total, so like the value of buying the 1/2 run here.

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