Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Monday, May 31st (2021)

While most Major League Baseball division races are tight at the top as we enter the last day of May, many teams are separating themselves for the wrong reasons. Futility was the weekend’s theme, as the Diamondbacks, Orioles, and the Rockies all made the wrong kind of history. Stats by Stats took to Twitter on Sunday morning to explain why those three teams were in the midst of a weekend to forget.

The D-backs lost their 13th straight game tonight, after Baltimore dropped its 11th and 12th straight earlier Saturday.

This is the first day that will end with multiple teams riding 12+ game losing streaks since September 11, 1935 (Philadelphia A's 13, Boston Braves 12).

— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 30, 2021

After being shut out in both doubleheader games at Pittsburgh today, the Rockies have scored 7 runs TOTAL in their last 10 road contests.

That's the second-fewest runs in MLB history over a span of 10 road games, more than only the Houston Colt .45s from June 16-25, 1963 (6).

— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 29, 2021

I wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day. As we make our wagers and watch today’s games, reflect and take a minute to remember our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our great nation.

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

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

YTD: 66-52-3 (+8.30 units)

Tampa Bay Rays ML (+100)

Historically, the New York Yankees have dominated left-handed pitching, but this year’s offense has not been as successful. They rank outside the top ten in the majors in batting average and are in the bottom half of the league in OPS against lefties. Furthermore, the lefty they are facing today has not pitched like a 41-year old.

Rich Hill with 11 K through 6 IP against the Royals.

Hill is the 4th pitcher over the last 30 seasons with multiple 10-K games at age 41 or older. He joins Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 26, 2021

One of Rich Hill’s (3-2, 3.63 ERA) most dominant starts this year came in a 9-1 win over the New York Yankees on May 13th. He allowed three runs on three hits in that game while striking out nine batters over 6.2 scoreless innings. He has allowed just three earned runs in his five May appearances, posting a 0.92 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. 

Opposing Hill is New York’s least reliable starter, Jameson Taillon. Taillon (1-3, 5.06 ERA) is coming off a five scoreless inning effort in his last start against the White Sox but had allowed eight earned runs in his nine innings before that start. Taillon has been solid with a 2.42 ERA in five home starts but has averaged just over five innings in those appearances. Look for a pesky Rays lineup to battle Taillon and get his pitch count up early, which will lead to manager Aaron Boone likely needing at least 12 or more outs from his bullpen. 

The Rays are 14-1 in their last 15 games but are still not getting enough respect from the oddsmakers as underdogs in this game. The Yankees are coming off getting swept on the road by the lowly Detroit Tigers, and their frustrations will spill over to tonight.

Cincinnati Reds ML (-125)

The Cincinnati Reds have had their struggles of late. They are 4-6 in their last ten games and are five games under .500. While they have lost six of their last seven home games, a trip home after a six-game road trip to face an ailing Philadelphia Phillies team should be just what they need to get some momentum going.

Though the Reds have struggled lately, none of that can be blamed on Nick Castellanos. He is currently in the midst of a 15-game hitting streak in which he is 27-for-57 (.474) with ten extra-base hits, including three home runs, ten walks, and 13 strikeouts. Castellanos has been hot for the whole month of May, hitting .417 and slugging .702. Those numbers are right in line with his career numbers against today’s opposing pitcher, Vince Velasquez. Castellanos is 3-for-7 (.429) and slugging .714 against Velasquez, so another big day should be in order.

Velasquez (2-0, 2.95 ERA) is on pace for the lowest ERA of his career through his first ten appearances. In his previous six years in the big leagues, Velasquez has never posted an entire season with lower than a 4.12 ERA. Thus, regression is likely in order and could come today as his 1.29 K:BB ratio and 2.125 WHIP in his small sample size (eight innings) at the Great American Ball Park are some of his worst numbers at any visiting stadium. 

The Reds are 7-1 in their last eight Monday home games and are 19-7 in their previous 26 home games against Philadelphia. The Phillies lineup is still without Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius, so look for the Reds to take advantage.

Los Angeles Dodgers Team Total OVER 3.5 runs (-115)

The Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game home series against the St. Louis Cardinals, and get their ace in the opening game. Jack Flaherty has an MLB-leading eight wins in ten starts. He entered Sunday ranked 21st in the majors with a 2.84 ERA, 27th with a 1.07 WHIP, and 42nd with 58 strikeouts. However, he is coming off a road start at the White Sox where he was tagged for seven runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings, and had a season-low three strikeouts. It was his first loss of the season, but the Dodgers lineup is capable of similar damage against Flaherty.

Before the start against Chicago, Flaherty’s last four starts were all against some of the worst offensive teams in the National League (Brewers, Rockies, two against the Pirates). Though he has pitched well this year, his 8-1 record is also a product of tremendous run support, as the Cardinals scored at least five runs in eight of his ten starts, and scored seven runs or more six times. He now faces a Dodgers lineup that has averaged 6.7 runs per game over their last seven games. Los Angeles has averaged more than five runs per game at home, and rank in the top ten in the league in OPS in their home games.

Though Los Angeles’s lineup is still missing guys like Corey Seager and AJ Pollock, they are much deeper with the return of Cody Bellinger. They may only bat eight times since they are favored to win at home, but 24 outs will still be enough to hit the over on their team total.

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