MLB Betting Picks & Predictions — Tuesday, May 4th

Take the mound with Sloan Piva as he breaks down MLB odds and predictions for Tuesday, May 11, with lines from our favorite online sportsbooks. For more baseball betting picks, visit ScoresAndOdds!

“Act like you’ve been there before.” We hear this saying all the time in sports—after post-dinger bat-flips, end zone dances, dunking rim-hangers, and shirtless soccer celebrations. But do we ever learn the art of humility? I sure don’t.

I had been riding high Tuesday, with my Bets of the Day having reached a fantastic 23-9 record on the season. So, of course, I vainly opined that winning is one of the 10 things I love most in life. I felt untouchable, like I was in the middle of a historic run of betting success. Then, I promptly went 1-2 with my Bets of the Day, and missed on both of my parlays.

That’s what sports betting will do to you, and that’s why we always advocate for responsible gambling. It’s a tale that’s been told a thousand times—people go on a successful betting streak, dive in too deep and risk too much, and come crashing back down to Earth like a ton of bricks (mixing metaphors there, but you get the picture).

I will never be able to instruct my readers how to be humble—my head is literally and figuratively way too big. However, I will gladly offer lessons in personal responsibility, and stress the importance of never risking more than you can afford to lose. And if you ever feel like you have a problem, or like you need to talk to someone about gambling, I implore you to pick up the phone without hesitation. The National Council on Problem Gambling operates the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network, and can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-522-4700.

If you’re one of the tens of millions of responsible sports bettors in the United States, this column is for you. We may have stumbled a bit Friday, but we are still 24-11 on the season with our Bets of the Day. We are more than ready to get back to our winning ways, and if we succeed, we promise we’ll at least try to act like we have been there before.

All MLB odds for this article are from BetMGM and PointsBet. All stats via MLB.com and Baseball Reference.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds

Pitching Matchup: JT Brubaker vs. Jeff Hoffman
MLB Pick: Pirates -115

I absolutely hate relying on the lowly Pirates offense. They have lost four of their last five and nine of their past 11 games, and eclipsed two runs in a game just once since May 1. But I can’t stay away from this matchup, simply because Brubaker has been really, really good this season.

The second-year starter, now 27, has a 2.78 ERA and 1.144 WHIP through six 2021 starts. Brubaker averages 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings, compared to 2.2 walks per nine. Opponents average just .236 against him, and hit 2.88 ground balls for every one fly ball off him. He limits hard contact, line drives, and baserunners. Quite simply, he is one of the only bright spots in Pittsburgh’s 14-20 season.

Now Brubaker draws the Reds, who have settled down to .500 (16-16) after a scorching-hot start to the season. Cincinnati struggles on the road, with a 6-9 away record and a 12-19 away run line.

Jeff Hoffman will have some trouble breaking Cincy’s away-game funk. The sixth-year righty may be enjoying career-best marks in ERA (4.39) and WHIP (1.463)—but that’s not saying much, as his lifetime marks are 6.19 and 1.605.

With everything that Brubaker does well, Hoffman struggles. He lets a ton of batters reach base, with a whopping 26 hits and 13 walks in 26.2 innings this season. He strikes out just 7.8 batters per nine innings. Opponents average slash lines of .257/.345/.436 against him. The average exit velocity of balls hit off his pitches is 91.7 miles per hour, and 48.1 percent of his pitches are hit hard.

I would never make this Pirates team a Bet of the Day on the run line, but I’m all over Pittsburgh’s -115 moneyline today. The Reds have scored just 20 runs in the last week (sixth worst in the MLB), and they average just 3.6 runs per away game (fifth worst). In Brubaker’s last start, he held the young-slugging Padres to just two runs. If he can hold Cincy to three or fewer runs, he should be able to notch his third win of the year.

Baltimore Orioles at New York Mets

Pitching Matchup: John Means vs. Marcus Stroman
MLB Pick: Orioles +1.5 (-180)

If you’re going to pick an underdog on the run line, why not go with the pitcher coming off a no-hitter? John Means went into Seattle last Wednesday and spun an instant classic against the Mariners, coming one dropped third strike short of a perfect game. It was the second no-no of the week in the MLB (Cincy’s Wade Miley threw the first), and the sixth ever by a Baltimore pitcher.

Sure, you are thinking, but the Mets offense is a lot better than the Mariners. Well, random reader inner dialogue, you might be wrong. The Mets rank in the bottom eight in the majors in runs (60), homers (12), RBI (56), stolen bases (four), and slugging percentage (.357). They stink.

The Metropolitans are so anemic offensively that they barely even have Jacob deGrom over .500 in the win-loss column. The NL Cy Young front-runner has given up three earned runs across 40 innings this season (his 0.68 ERA/0.600 WHIP/1.03 FIP/14.6 SO/9 all lead the majors), and yet deGrom is 3-2.

Stroman, in his first full season in New York, must be feeling deGrom’s pain at least a little. The seven-year vet, who was traded to the Mets from Toronto in 2019 and opted out of 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns, has been fantastic this season. He holds a 2.12 ERA, a 1.029 WHIP, and a .220 batting average against. However, Stroman is just 3-3 on the season. Welcome to the Big Apple, bud.

I don’t like the Mets offense in general, but I really don’t like them against the spin-errific sensation known as John Means. This kid has figured it all out at the age of 28, and he looks like he will be a force for many years to come. According to Baseball Savant (https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/john-means-607644?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb), the 6-foot-3, 235-pound behemoth ranks in the 76th percentile or higher in hard-hit rate (33%), fastball spin rate, walk rate (6%), and strikeout rate (30.1%). He ranks in the 84th percentile in xERA and xBA, and in the 90th percentile in average exit velocity (85.5 MPH). He leads the AL in WHIP (0.674) and average hits per nine innings (4.1), and makes the short-list with a 1.37 ERA.

I’m honestly surprised any sportsbooks have a run line posted for this game. But if you’re giving me John Means against the Mets with a one-run lead, I’m jumping all over that.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Seattle Mariners

Pitching Matchup: Walker Buehler vs. Yusei Kikuchi
MLB Picks: UNDER 7.5 (-110) or Dodgers -1.5 (-115)

I picked this game just so my Bets of the Day could include one moneyline favorite, one run line ‘dog, one run line favorite, and one over/under. But I also like these two plays—and the values behind them—better than any second moneyline pick I could make.

Buehler has very quietly been great this season, perhaps a bit overlooked given the phenomenal rotation around him on the world-champion Dodgers. It could also be due to the fact he has just one win on the year, despite a crisp 3.13 ERA, 0.098 WHIP, and MLB-leading 0.5 average walks through nine innings.

Here’s betting Buehler records his second win of 2021 Tuesday. The fifth-year right-hander averages 6.18 innings per start this season, and always seems to maintain his composure. He should be able to contain the Mariners, who got no-hit by the aforementioned John Means last Wednesday and struck out 10 times at the hands of Dane Dunning Sunday.

Of course, Buehler’s counterpart Kikuchi has been solid as of late, too. The M’s 29-year-old Japanese southpaw has finished seven frames with seven strikeouts in his last two games, and surrendered just three total runs in those 14 innings. He won the April 29 start in Houston, but lost on May 5 to Baltimore when his lineup got no-hit.

True fans of Major League Baseball were blessed with a pitcher’s duel in Monday’s Rangers-Giants battle. Texas vet Kyle Gibson and San Fran vet Alex Wood took a 1-1 stalemate to the seventh inning, and Wood and the Giants prevailed 3-1. A similar win by Buehler and the Dodgers could be in the cards at home Tuesday. LA has been downright tepid offensively this season, especially compared to its 2020 World Series run. Not many bettors will take the UNDER in this one, but I’m in on it.

Moneyline Parlay of the Day

Pittsburgh Pirates (-115) vs. Cincinnati Reds (JT Brubaker vs. Jeff Hoffman) – Brubaker has been Pittsburgh’s bright spot, and Hoffman has been brutal. Plus, Cincy stinks on the road. Be bold—take the cellar dwellers.

Cleveland Indians (-186) vs. Chicago Cubs (Shane Bieber vs. Adbert Alzolay) – I like Alzolay, but Bieber is one of the five best pitchers on the planet. He should be able to propel the Tribe to a win over the Cubbies, who rank dead-last in the majors with 50 runs on the road (3.84 per game).

Arizona Diamondbacks (-110) vs. Miami Marlins (Madison Bumgarner vs. Pablo Lopez) – The veteran Bumgarner has a 1.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts over his last four starts, which included a seven-inning no-hitter in Atlanta April 25 (it counts, dammnit). I like him a lot, especially at home against a docile Marlins lineup.

Total Parlay Odds: +450

Bet: $100 |To Win: $450 |Total Payout: $550

Spread Parlay of the Day

Baltimore Orioles +1.5 (-180) at New York Mets (John Means vs. Marcus Stroman) – As they say on Fantasy Baseball Today, John Means business! And the Mets offense probably means continued success for the young hurler.

Pittsburgh Pirates -1.5 (+175) vs. Cincinnati Reds (JT Brubaker vs. Jeff Hoffman) – It’s bold to take the Pirates on the run line in a parlay, but look at that pretty +175 payout. Brubaker is the favorite over Hoffman for a reason, and the Reds have been a shell of their early-season selves.

Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-115) vs. Seattle Mariners (Walker Buehler vs. Yusei Kikuchi) – The reigning champions should lead their solid No. 3 starter to his elusive second win Tuesday, in what might be another tough-luck loss for Kikuchi.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Seattle Mariners: UNDER 7.5 runs (-110) (Walker Buehler vs. Yusei Kikuchi) – I don’t usually include over/unders in spreads, but I love this one. Both these pitchers have been great lately, while their run support has been putrid all season.

Total Parlay Odds: +1432

Bet: $25 |To Win: $358 |Total Payout: $383

MLB Odds for Tuesday

Image Credit: Imagn

About the Author

SloanPiva
Sloan Piva (SloanPiva)

Sloan Piva is a veteran of the sports journalism industry, and a freelance sports betting analyst. He received his master’s degree in Professional Writing from the University of Massachusetts, and currently resides in East Bay, Rhode Island with his wife and daughter. He covers the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAA, and PGA, as well as anything related to fantasy sports and sports betting. Shoot him an email anytime at SloanPiva@gmail.com!