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Yankees-Rays, Brewers-Cardinals, Rangers-A’s MLB Bets

Bets and analysis for Friday’s Yankees-Rays, Brewers-Cardinals and Rangers-A’s matchups.

Let’s get in on some holiday weekend MLB action!

We are off to a 19-11 start to the season on SI Sportsbook–and 16 of those wins paid plus-money.

Friday’s’s slate is full of contests that could end in lots of different ways. I must admit, I am tempted to bet on quite a few games, and I mostly like the underdogs.

Though our win rate has slowed a little lately, our bankroll is still strong because we’ve paid almost no juice. Let’s continue with our quest for plus-money returns!

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in New York.

Yankees (32-13) at Rays (26-18)

  • Moneyline: Yankees (+105) | Rays (-125)
  • Spread: Yankees +1.5 (-213) | Rays -1.5 (+175)
  • Total: 7.5 Under (-125) | Over (+105)

The second-place Rays host the first-place Yankees tonight while staring at a 5.5-game division deficit. I liked the Rays on Thursday at even-money and we lost. on Friday, how do I pass up the Yankees, the winningest team in baseball, at plus money?

Jameson Taillon (4-1, 2.90 ERA) gets the ball for New York. Taillon has been excellent this season, as has all of the Yankees’ starting rotation. Sure, he’s not a high strikeout guy, but he doesn’t walk guys and he doesn’t give up the home run.

Jeffrey Springs (2-1, 1.32 ERA) gets the “open” for the Rays. Springs may actually go five-plus innings, as he did when he faced the Orioles last week and put himself in line for the win. Springs has been excellent at limiting hard contact and giving up the long ball, but he does walk more batters than Taillon.

All things being even, I think I think the pitching situation is a push.

That leaves the bats. After all the concerns I had last night with DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton all not being in the lineup, the Yankees still put together a 7-2 winning effort. Signing Matt Carpenter mid-day to start was a bold move, signaling the Yankees are not going to roll over. The Yankees currently have a run differential of +73, compared to the Rays’ +12.

Players to watch:

According to Statcast, Aaron Judge has an expected slug of 1.317 vs. Springs. Judge leads the league in homers with 17 and has hits in seven of his last eight games.

Kevin Kiermaier has only faced Taillon twice but he is batting 1.000.

I can’t turn down the plus-money for the Yankees in what should be a close one. Opponents have a well-hit average of just .155 against the Yankees relievers over the last two weeks, while Yankees hitters have only struck out 20% of the time across the past two weeks. Let’s go, Yanks.

BET: Yankees ML (+105)

St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Paul Goldschmidt rounds first base on an RBI double during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in New York.
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Brewers (29-16) vs. Cardinals (24-20)

  • Moneyline: Brewers (-143) | Cardinals (+120)
  • Spread: Brewers -1.5 (+115) | Cardinals +1.5 (-138)
  • Total: 7.5 Under (-133) | Over (+110)

The Cardinals lost a close one at home to the Brewers on Thursday night, and I like them as the home dogs Friday.

What’s up with Brandon Woodruff? Woodruff (5-2, 4.76 ERA) has run hot and cold this year, and doesn’t look much like his 2021 self - at least as far as bettors are concerned. Woodruff now has put together two quality starts in a row but previously imploded versus two surprising teams: the Cubs and the Reds.

In his one start versus the Cardinals in April, he pitched five scoreless with two strikeouts. Woodruff is allowing a career-high 43.4% hard-hit rate.

On the other side of this game, Dakota Hudson (3-2, 3.60 ERA) gets the ball for the Cards. Hudson doesn’t strike guys out and he has an expected ERA of more than 5.00.

Cardinals hitters are slugging .469 on inside fastballs since last season and Woodruff has located his fastball inside 36% of the time since last season. They’ve only struck out 18% of the time over the last week of games, and they are averaging 6.43 runs per game across the past two weeks, compared to the Brewers’ 3.71.

Players to watch:

Christian Yelich is batting .286 and slugging 1.143 with two home runs verus Hudson in seven career at bats.

Paul Goldschmidt is batting .407 with seven home runs in May.

I’m sticking with the home dogs and betting their bats will win it in the end.

BETS: Cardinals (+120); Over 7.5 (+110)

Oakland Athletics outfielders Chad Pinder (10), Cristian Pache (20) and Luis Barrera (13) head off the field after the Athletics defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-2 in a baseball game Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Seattle.

Rangers (20-23) vs. Athletics (19-28)

  • Moneyline: Rangers (-125) | A’s (+105)
  • Spread: Rangers -1.5 (+138) | A’s +1.5 (-163)
  • Total: 7.5 -Over (+110) | Under (-133)

The Rangers did right by us Thursday, pulling off the underdog win. On Friday, they are the favorites with Jon Gray (1-2, 5.14) on the mound vs. leftie Cole Irvin (2-2, 3.21).

However, I’m going with the home team today. Neither starting pitcher is reliable, but Irvin has somehow managed the damage better.

The A’s have scored an average of 3.71 runs per game, compared to the Rangers’ 3.0 runs per game across the last week.

Cole Irvin located his fastball away 64% of the time over the last week -- 3rd highest -- and Rangers hitters are slugging just .300 on fastballs away over the last week. They’re batting only .229 vs. lefties this season.

Players to watch:

Kole Calhoun has hit all seven of his home runs in May and has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games. He’s hitting .276 verus southpaws this year.

Adolis Garcia has a 50% hard-hit rate this season and an average exit velocity in the 94th percentile.

Chad Pinder has a 49.4% hard-hit rate this year with a .282 BA versus right-handed pitching.

There’s not a lot to get excited about in this game, but in a coin flip I like the home dogs at plus-money.

BET: A’s (+105)

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