Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Friday, May 21st (2021)

Of the 15 Major League Baseball games scheduled for Friday, only one (Pittsburgh-Atlanta) is a continuation of a series that started on Thursday. Thus, 14 new series will be put into motion tonight, highlighted by a potential American League playoff preview between the White Sox and Yankees. The Rays and Blue Jays are also breathing down Boston’s neck for first place in the AL East as they begin a three-game series. And last but not least, two of baseball’s biggest rivalries will be played this weekend as the Cubs meet the Cardinals and the Giants face the Dodgers.

Do any of these high-profile games catch our eye from a betting perspective?

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: 60-41-3 (+13.34 units)

Chicago White Sox ML (-105)

The White Sox had the benefit of an off day yesterday before starting their weekend series with the Yankees, while New York was finishing up a ten-game road trip and four-game series with the Rangers. The White Sox are 4-2 after an off day and are 2-1 in the three games they have had a rest advantage. While the Yankees are 3-0 with a rest disadvantage, their overall lack of health is concerning heading into this series.

The Yankees were already thin in the outfield with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks on the 10-day IL. Now Ryan LaMarre was removed from Wednesday’s game with a hamstring injury, and Greg Allen was placed on the seven-day IL with an oblique injury. Clint Frazier missed yesterday’s game with a sore neck and is considered day-to-day to top it off. Yesterday, New York pieced together an outfield of Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar, and Tyler Wade. That is not exactly a “Murderer’s Row” as they get set to face Chicago’s Carlos Rodon.

Rodon (5-1, 1.47 ERA) won his first five starts before losing his last start. He was tagged for four runs in 5.2 innings against the Royals, which was his second consecutive start against Kansas City. Rodon still has a minuscule WHIP of 0/87 and an OBA of .156. He is the perfect foil to a Yankees lineup that relies on the long ball, as he has allowed just two home runs on the season.

The White Sox are 7-3 in their last ten games and are unbeaten in their previous five series. Look for them to take a big step towards earning another series victory by taking the opener against the Yankees tonight.

Astros-Rangers UNDER 8.5 runs (+100)

The over is 5-1-1 in the last seven games between the Astros and Rangers in Texas. The over is also 4-1 in their previous five meetings overall and is 12-3-1 in Houston’s last 16 games overall. However, with Texas’s ace facing an Astros pitcher making his Major League debut, the under is enticing despite these trends.

Rangers starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.32 ERA) ranks third in the American League in ERA and 23rd in the league with a WHIP of 1.01. He has limited opposing batters to a .194 batting average this season.

Gibson faces the Astros for the second straight start, as he allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings against them in his last start. Since a poor Opening Day outing, Gibson has allowed just nine earned runs over his previous 54 innings. He has held current Astros hitters to a combined 34-for-137 (.248 BA) and .358 slugging percentage.

The Astros send their ninth-ranked prospect, Tyler Ivey, to the mound for his first big league start. Ivey pitched to a 3.19 ERA while starting 38 games in the minor leagues and making 14 appearances out of the bullpen. He will likely not be counted on for a lot of innings tonight, but Houston’s bullpen should be well-rested after throwing just five innings in the last two days.

The Rangers have been shut out for consecutive days, including getting no-hit two days ago. Ivey’s unfamiliarity with the Rangers hitters should allow him to get through the lineup at least once unscathed.

Seattle Mariners Team Total UNDER 2.5 runs (+116)

The total for the series opener between the Mariners and Padres was set low, in large part because of how dominant Padres pitching has been of late. San Diego allowed just one run in their three-game sweep of the Rockies and have allowed more than three runs just once in their last 11 games and twice in their previous 15 games.

The Seattle Mariners have been no-hit twice at home this year and have an MLB-worst .198 team batting average and .639 OPS. San Diego’s offense is getting healthier, with the return of Eric Hosmer and Fernando Tatis Jr. to the lineup. Tatis went 4-for-4 in his first game back from the COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Thus, the safer play instead of the over/under is the Mariners’ team total, as the Padres offense could explode with their full arsenal.

Mariners hitters will face Chris Paddack (1-3, 4.45 ERA), who has thrown more than five innings just once in seven starts this season. However, Paddack has allowed just one or fewer runs in four of his last five starts. Thus, the team should slowly be more confident extending his innings if this positive success continues.

The under is 4-2 in the six games that the Padres are coming off of an off-day. Thus, look for Paddack and a rested bullpen to do their part in limiting Seattle’s scoring potential.

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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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