MLB Betting Guide for Monday 5/22/23: Fade the Public in Pittsburgh

The visiting Rangers are getting plenty of love from bettors tonight, but will the Pirates pull the upset at home?

Betting on baseball can be a grind that reaps an enormous reward.

Day-to-day outlooks can be vastly different by starting pitchers, and a wealth of advanced stats can let us know an individual pitcher, a bullpen, or a team is due to positive -- or negative -- regression.

Which MLB lines from FanDuel Sportsbook are most appealing today?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All stats come from FanGraphs unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates ML (+112)

There's value in this number despite the obvious drawback.

That's the fact that Luis Ortiz faces a Texas Rangers squad that's crushed right-handed pitching all season (.783 OPS). Ortiz's eight-inning sample with the Pirates isn't great -- as evidenced by a 6.00 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA). However, there are signs of life like a 51.4% groundball rate and a 10.3% swinging-strike rate within his work.

Texas' Dane Dunning counters with a 1.69 ERA, which is why I believe upwards of 70% of the tickets and money are behind the Rangers today. However, Dunning (4.39 SIERA) hasn't been that dominant when looking at his peripherals, sporting his usually low 16.0% strikeout rate.

If this game is in the balance late, I believe Pittsburgh can and should win it. Their bullpen's xFIP (4.07) is significantly lower than that of a Texas bullpen (4.75 xFIP; third-worst in MLB) that's struggled all season.

The public betting splits let us know we've squeezed every drop of value out of the Pirates when they've got a sizable chance to win this one at home.

Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

Under 9.0 (-120)

The Blue Jays appeared to make a huge mistake bringing in Chris Bassitt early in the season, but the right-hander has found his footing in Toronto.

He's now logged 23 consecutive scoreless innings, posting 20 total strikeouts along the way. Facing the Braves, Pirates, and Yankees (with Aaron Judge), that's a strong endorsement of his form facing his toughest test since the streak began.

The opposing Tampa Bay Rays have the best wRC+ in baseball against righties (133). It should be a great matchup with Bassitt and the league's sixth-best bullpen by xFIP (4.02).

Tampa should be able to keep the Jays at bay, too. For whatever reason, Toronto just isn't menacing against southpaws as their right-hand-dominant lineup would suggest, holding the league's 13th-worst OPS (.739) and 4th-worst ISO (.132). Josh Fleming will be the lefty they draw today, and Fleming's 4.08 expected ERA (xERA) is actually pretty solid.

This line (per the -120 juice) is moving toward 8.5, yet a vast majority of the bets and cash are on the "over" at 9.0. Reading between the lines, expect these hurlers to put forth a solid effort.

San Francisco Giants at Minnesota Twins

Giants ML (+128)

The public often overlooks bullpen games, but it's all about context. San Francisco's context is pretty solid today.

The Giants' reliever xFIP (4.11) is the 11th-best in baseball, so at least they're leaning on the strength of the team. John Brebbia (2.73 SIERA) will open, but lefty Sean Manaea (4.50 SIERA) is expected to work the bulk of the game, and that's where this gets interesting. Minnesota is terrible against lefties, posting a pitiful .674 OPS (fourth-worst in MLB) against them.

I'm also expecting regression from Twins hurler Bailey Ober soon, which could mean as soon as Monday. Ober (1.78 ERA) blanked the Dodgers last week to earn points with the public, but his 4.33 SIERA, 57.5% flyball rate, and minuscule 13.6% soft contact rate all hold varying levels of concern.

Plus, San Fran pummels righties. Their .759 OPS in the split is the eighth-best mark in the league.

Overall, I love Manaea's chances of clean work after the Angels' lefties torched the Twinkies all weekend, and San Francisco's offense provides a pretty solid punch against righties like Ober. This +128 price tag is pretty appealing.