MLB Best Bets Today April 5

We’re two games short of a full dance card in MLB today, as the Guardians, Twins, Marlins, and Cardinals all take a pause on the second Friday of the season. How about a quick comparison of how this season has started offensively compared to last season over the same time period?

2024: .243/.320/.392, .318 wOBA, 22.8% K%, 9.1% BB%, 213 HR, 127 SB (202 G)


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2023: .248/.322/.408, .318 wOBA, 22.5% K%, 9.0% BB%, 230 HR, 128 SB (194 G)

A little less power thus far, but pretty similar across the board otherwise. Are there any notable developments with the baseball to account for the decreased power?


Avg Exit Velocity: 88.8 mph

Hard Hit%: 39.5%

Avg Fly Ball Distance: 310

Avg Launch Angle: 13 degrees


Avg Exit Velocity: 88.7 mph

Hard Hit%: 39.1%

Avg Fly Ball Distance: 310

Avg Launch Angle: 12.4 degrees

I would say no. Weather is always a factor in March/April. Remember that this data does NOT include the Seoul Series, as I’m just comparing year over year from Opening Day through the second Thursday.

Alright, I’m taking out the huge intro and let’s do a cliff notes version the next two days.

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Here are the MLB best bets today for April 5:

Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals (-185, 8)

7:40 p.m. ET

This AL Central battle at Kauffman Stadium features Erick Fedde and Brady Singer, as we’ll see the second start for each guy. Both gentlemen racked up the strikeouts in their 2024 debuts, as Fedde had seven against the Tigers and Singer had 10 over seven innings against the Twins.

My focus here is on Singer, who made a significant arsenal change that should lead to more strikeouts and better performance overall. In that start against Minnesota, he had an 18.2% SwStr% and threw 53 sliders against 27 sinkers. He also worked in some more four-seamers, which is a good idea because opposing batters hit .339 with a .555 SLG on his sinker last season. They only battled .241 with a .397 SLG against the slider. He had a 33.2% Whiff% on the pitch last season and had 16 whiffs on 26 swings against the Twins in his 2024 debut.

Singer leveraged the sinker against righties and the four-seam fastball against lefties. Royals pitching coach Brian Sweeney was the bullpen coach for the Guardians a couple seasons ago, so I’m not surprised to see meaningful change with his pitchers in Year 2. Both lefties and righties had success against Singer last year, but lefties had 42 extra-base hits, hence the use of the four-seamer up in the zone with a little extra run to it.

To this point in the season, the White Sox have a 25% K% overall and a 20.8% K% against righties. In the early going, they rank 24th in Pitch Type Value against sliders at -3.9 batting runs per Statcast. Even last season, when Singer was getting his head caved in, his slider graded as a league average pitch. I presume it will be a lot better than this season with how he’s going to leverage it and throw it more.

With a big plus-money price, I like Singer Over 5.5 Strikeouts at +115 here. The White Sox do have more of a contact-oriented lineup this season than they’ve had in previous seasons, but I like Singer’s arsenal changes and KC starters have a K% of 25.8% that ranks eighth. I think they’re embracing a lot more data this season and that should lead to positive results.

Pick: Brady Singer Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+115)

Seattle Mariners at Milwaukee Brewers (-122, 8)

8:10 p.m. ET

The Mariners and Brewers don’t see each other very often. In fact, the three-game series last season was the first time the teams had played since 2019. So, this should make for an intriguing weekend set at American Family Field.

Freddy Peralta and Logan Gilbert are today’s probable starters. I don’t believe in Team vs. Pitcher stats at all. They aren’t big enough to be statistically significant. However, I do believe that there’s something to be said about not really having faced a pitcher in his career. The current Mariners roster has a total of 25 plate appearances against Peralta and four of them belong to pitcher Luis Castillo.

Peralta’s season got off to a strong start against the Mets with a solo homer and a walk over six innings with eight strikeouts. He only allowed three hard-hit balls in that start and basically matched last season’s velocity.

Gilbert had a masterful 2024 debut of his own with seven innings of one-run ball. He struck out eight and only walked one. It may have just been the matchup against Boston, but Gilbert actually threw 29 sliders to 28 fastballs, a major change from last season when he threw 41.9% fastballs and 29.7% sliders. He also debuted his new cutter with some positive results. He also has one of the game’s best splitters, so he has really deepened his arsenal. He’s also throwing 95-96 at 6-foot-6. I think he’s a really difficult at bat for opposing hitters.

Current Brewers have 22 career plate appearances against Gilbert. Gary Sanchez has the most with eight and he is the backup catcher. Gilbert has 99th percentile Extension, so his pitches, specifically the fastball, get on hitters in a real hurry. I think he’s going to be a very difficult matchup for the Brewers lineup.

Peralta has held the opposition to a .260 wOBA in 1,258 plate appearances at home and held them to a .269 wOBA last season. He had a 35.7% K% in the controlled environment of the dome and the Mariners are striking out a ton thus far. 

Gilbert, who gets to work in one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball, actually had a lower SLG on the road last season, even though his wOBA against was nearly identical. He’s had pretty similar home/road splits overall, so he’s just a good pitcher.

Most books have the 1st 5 Under 4 at -120. DraftKings only does half-run lines on 1st 5 totals, so the choices are Under 4.5 at -150 or Under 3.5 at +114. To be a little safer because both guys do throw a ton of strikes and can therefore give up some home runs, I’ll say Under 4.5 and bite the bullet on the -150 based on the DraftKings line, but shop around and get the best line you can get.

The full game Under 8 at -110 or better is also acceptable. DraftKings has -115, so that’s why I made the decision I made here, but do your due diligence and see what’s available to you. As mentioned in the intro, I’m using DK lines today and every day this season, as they own VSiN.

Pick: 1st 5 Under 4.5 (-150)

Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels (-112, 9)

9:38 p.m. ET

After a 4-2 road strip that included a sweep of the Marlins, the Angels flew across the country for their home opener to take on the Red Sox. Boston’s West Coast swing continues, as they’ll head to Fenway for a 10-game homestand after Sunday’s series finale.

We’ll get Kutter Crawford and Griffin Canning in this matchup. Canning is a guy that I have watched very closely over the last few seasons because I think there’s something there, but he and the Angels simply refuse to optimize his pitch selection. Canning’s fastball is objectively bad. It’s been -21.2 pitching runs per FanGraphs over the course of his career, while Pitch Info Solutions is at -22.2 and Statcast is at -20.6 It is an undeniably bad pitch.

And yet, Canning has still thrown it over 39% of the time in his career and threw it nearly half of the time in his first start against the Orioles. Not surprisingly, he allowed five runs on seven hits and only had two strikeouts over five innings. He allowed a 45% Hard Hit% and three barrels in that outing, along with a low rate of swings and misses.

He is back at home now, so maybe he’ll be a little more comfortable and mix his pitches more effectively, but I’m not sure that will be the case. Maybe he just didn’t have a feel for his slider and the composition of the Orioles lineup didn’t lend itself well to using it, but I’m not really sure what the goal was in that outing.

Meanwhile, I am buying the Red Sox pitching staff thanks to first-year pitching coach Andrew Bailey, who has had immediate success after coming over from the Giants. Crawford was a benefactor, as he allowed an unearned run and scattered three hits against the Mariners with seven strikeouts in six innings to open the year.

Here’s why I like Bailey. Fastballs tend to get hit the hardest and get the least amount of swings and misses. He’s come in and changed the pitch usage for most of the guys to throw fewer fastballs. Crawford’s fastball usage last season was 39%. It was 23.8% in his first start of 2024, as he threw a much higher amount of sweepers. That was a good decision against the Mariners, who swing and miss a lot down in the zone, but it should be useful across the board.

Interestingly, Crawford actually had a really good fastball last season, as opposing batters had a .164 BA with a .327 SLG. It was one of the top fastballs in baseball. So, I like that we’re seeing the development of a sweeper, which he only threw about 6.8% of the time last year. It should help him play his fastball off of it better and he did have four strikeouts on his fastball in just 20 pitches last time out.

I’ve always felt like Crawford was a talented guy that just couldn’t stay healthy. I think Bailey will maximize his skill set and help him leverage his fastball even more effectively, while also developing his breaking stuff.

Both teams had yesterday off, so both bullpens are in working order. With the 1st 5 at -120 and the full game at -108, I’ll take the full game. The Red Sox pen has been outstanding thus far and I assume Bailey’s fingerprints are all over that as well.

Pick: Red Sox -108