Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Friday, June 4th (2021)

In addition to the intrigue that surrounds the Cubs-Giants and Mets-Padres series all weekend, two new series start tonight that will have plenty of fireworks. The sport’s two biggest rivals meet for the first time this season as the Red Sox travel to the Bronx to face the Yankees. In addition, the Dodgers and Braves meet in a rematch of last year’s thrilling seven-game NLCS, with the Braves looking to turn their season around and prove they are capable of playing at that level again. Just six of the 15 games are between division rivals, which means many fan bases will get a look at opponents that they do not usually see.

Of today’s three best bets, one of our picks is a type of wager that we have not made yet this season. 

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Friday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 73-56-3 (+10.56 units)

Toronto Blue Jays ML (-124)

The Toronto Blue Jays face the Houston Astros for the fourth time this season. They lost two of three road games at Houston from May 7-9 and now face an Astros team that has won four of their last five games and 12 of their last 20. One way to cool off the Astros is to play them at home, as they are just 11-12 on the road this season. In addition, the Blue Jays had the benefit of an off day yesterday, while the Astros were finishing up their series with the Red Sox.

Toronto is 8-0 in their last eight games following an off day, and has ace Hyun Jin Ryu on the mound tonight. Ryu is 5-2 with a 2.62 ERA this season and has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. He finished third or better in the last two Cy Young votes and is following up those campaigns with some of the most impressive numbers of his career. Ryu’s 1.2 walks per nine innings are on par with his numbers from 2019 when he led the league in that category. His WHIP and FIP are lower than last year’s pace, and his ERA is just 0.30 runs higher than when he led the league in that category two years ago.

Houston’s Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.67 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in his last three starts. However, his lone appearance against the Blue Jays tied for his shortest outing of the season, as he was tagged for four runs on nine hits over four innings. He is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in five road starts this year, but we like the value we are getting with a Blue Jays team that is 6-2 in their last eight games.

Toronto is 0-6 in their last six home games versus teams with a winning record, but Hyun Jin Ryu is the right man to stop that streak.   

Atlanta Braves ML (+110)

With all the attention of the Dodgers’ rotation focused around the “big three” of Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, and Walker Buehler, the accomplishments of Julio Urias thus far have largely gone unnoticed. Urias is 7-2 with a 3.61 ERA, and the team is 8-3 in his starts. However, almost half of his starts have come against teams within the division, and the high-scoring Atlanta Braves should present a bigger problem.

Urias does not come into this start with any momentum, as his last outing was one of the worst of his career. He was tagged for a career-high seven runs on 11 hits against the Giants, and that poor effort aided in him finishing May with an ERA 0.70 runs higher than he finished April with. Though the Braves are just 6-4 in their last ten games, they have averaged 6.2 runs per game in that span.

The biggest reason for backing the Braves is that starting pitcher Ian Anderson (4-2, 3.27 ERA) is unbeatable at home. The Braves are 7-0 in Anderson’s last seven home starts, including a 5-0 record versus teams with a winning record. The Braves have been home underdogs just twice all season but are a profitable 1-1 in that spot. The Dodgers are coming off an off day yesterday but are just 1-2 with a rest advantage over their opponent. Thus, tonight marks an excellent opportunity to fade the defending champs.

St. Louis Cardinals First Five Innings ML (-137)

We have made many wagers on the first five innings totals this season, but today marks our first wager on a first five innings moneyline. Given Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo’s slow starts and St. Louis’s Kwang Hyun Kim’s dominance early in games, the Cardinals’ early-game moneyline presents the greatest value.

Luis Castillo (1-8, 7.22 ERA) has allowed at least three runs in six of his last seven starts, with just one of those outings going longer than five innings. Thus, we go into this bet assuming that Kwang Hyun Kim needs to allow less than three runs for this bet to be a winner. In five of his eight starts, Kim has done just that, including limiting the Reds to one run (a solo home run by Nick Castellanos) on five hits in 5.2 innings on April 23rd. Kim struck out a career-high eight Reds in that game, and that start was one of two this season where he did not walk a single batter. Conversely, Castillo has allowed 12 earned runs in 8.1 combined innings in two starts this season against the Cardinals.

Given that Kim has not completed six innings this season, we remove the bullpen from the equation and focus on St. Louis to jump out to an early lead tonight.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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