MLB Betting Guide for Tuesday 5/23/23: Should You Back the Jays or Rays in an AL East Clash?
Betting on baseball can be a grind that reaps an enormous reward.
Day-to-day outlooks can be vastly different due to 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.
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
Blue Jays ML (+108)
Especially at the cost, it's easy to like the Blue Jays' package today instead of the Rays' elevated -126 tag.
These are both elite offenses against righties, with each posting at least a .739 OPS in the split. Tampa (.827 OPS) leads the league in that department, so I don't blame anyone for leaning that way to start. I just feel so much better about the Blue Jays' pitching staff today.
They'll be led by Jose Berrios, who has quietly bounced back with an excellent 2023 campaign. Berrios' 3.72 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) doesn't even tell the full story as he's fully corrected his 2022 issues with a 31.8% fly-ball rate and a 28.6% hard-hit rate allowed. That's one way to prevent dingers.
Tampa's Taj Bradley has better numbers, including a 2.84 SIERA, in 20.1 innings thus far. I just have a hard time trusting him when his xFIP with Triple-A Durham this year was 5.78.
The bullpens also favor Toronto. Their bullpen xFIP (3.98) is significantly lower than the Rays' (4.80; second-highest in MLB).
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Under 8.5 (-110)
This number is phenomenal to grab for a Spencer Strider start, but I'm almost more excited about the Dodgers' hurler today.
Top prospect and fireballer Bobby Miller will make his debut for L.A. The right-hander regularly tops 100 miles per hour on his fastball, and his tough start to the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City was alleviated by six scoreless last time out. It should help him that Atlanta (99 wRC+ versus righties) has been far more human in this split than they are versus southpaws.
Of course, Strider is Strider, and he's been so good that a shutout has to be on the table. Texas' potent offense bopped him around in Arlington, but he still has an excellent 2.47 SIERA, and 41.5% strikeout rate as the current NL Cy Young favorite.
By xFIP, these are also two top-11 bullpens. I know both teams boast name-brand, reliable offenses, but this elevated 8.5-run total is too high for a contest where both starting pitchers could be dominant.
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Royals ML (+124)
We targeted a bullpen game in this final slot yesterday, and I'm okay doing it again here.
The Royals will likely start with long reliever Mike Mayers today for a few innings before turning to the rest of their 'pen, and their relievers have been pretty good. A bullpen game would have been seen as a death knell for KC before spring training, but they have been solid. They're just 15th in reliever xFIP (4.11).
Of course, the Tigers are one of the worst -- if not the worst -- offenses in the league. They've got an 85 wRC+ against lefties, and it's 81 against righties. It's about as good of a matchup as you could ask for when cobbling together a reliever plan.
I assume a vast majority of bets and cash are on Detroit in this spot because of Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez's 2.06 ERA is sparkling, but a 3.80 SIERA suggests more trouble could be on the way. Plus, Rodriguez's homer-to-flyball ratio (HR/FB) is just 8.6%, which is quite fortunate with the league average at 11.7%.
Kansas City (104 wRC+ versus lefties) has also been surprisingly successful in this split, so I see this as a great opportunity to fade the public at this curiously short number.