HomeMLBMLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday April 3

    MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday April 3

    Adam Burke's top MLB best bets for today, April 3.

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    MLB Best Bets Today April 3

    All 30 MLB teams are supposed to be in action today, but weather is a consideration in several places yet again. It is the nature of the beast in April, but something that you want to be acutely aware of, not only for the winds and how they’ll impact offense and pitching, but also the timing of the rain. You’ve handicapped the game with the starters in mind, but if the game starts and the rain comes soon after, it becomes a bullpen game and that’s just a crapshoot.

    I’ll be leaving in the long intro blurb probably throughout the week so you can see the cadence of the article and what you can expect.

     

    Top MLB Resources:

    I’ll be writing my MLB best bets today article Monday-Saturday over the course of the season, but those that have read it in the past will notice a few wrinkles.

    I will only be writing up games I have picks on. In the past, I would share information about other games and pitchers on my radar, but I’ll just be filing those things away in my own mind in hopes of finding bets down the line.

    Also, I will be incorporating more props into my MLB article this season, rather than just sides, totals, and run lines. Pitcher strikeout props, outs props, and other things that are widely available in the legal U.S. markets will be included.

    The VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast is gone (RIP), but I will be co-hosting the Double Play Baseball Podcast for DraftKings with Dustin Swedelson. That will be less of a betting podcast and more of a general baseball podcast, but we will sprinkle in a little bit of handicapping content.

    The season-long tracking sheet can be found here. Typically, this article will come out around 8-9 a.m. PT, but I’ll try to get it out quicker on days with a lot of day games.

    Lines will be from DraftKings Sportsbook and accurate at time of publish. In the interest of transparency and a lack of confusion, I will cite lines from the “Game” tab, which, unfortunately, means “Action” regardless of who starts. When possible, always select the “Listed Pitcher” odds where both pitchers must start, especially if there is no significant price difference. The game I handicapped and the game you handicapped is with the two listed, probable pitchers. In the era of openers and late scratches, pitching changes will happen and odds will change. Protect yourself the best you can.

    Finally, SHOP AROUND. Have multiple sportsbooks to choose from so you can get the best line possible. My lines in the article are from DraftKings because they own VSiN, not because they have the best odds on that game. It is your responsibility to get the best line that you can.

    Check out all my preseason content, including previews for all 30 teams and baseball betting tips, right here.

    MLB Odds | MLB Betting Splits | MLB Matchups

    Here are the MLB best bets today for April 3:

    St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres (-155, 8.5)

    4:10 p.m. ET

    Zack Thompson and Joe Musgrove are the probable starters in this one. Musgrove is a bigger name and a guy whose early-season struggles are getting some run. He has allowed nine runs on 15 hits in starts against the Dodgers and Giants with just five strikeouts out of 43 batters faced. He didn’t have much of a Spring Training either, as he appeared in three MLB ST games and allowed nine runs on seven hits.

    To pop the hood and look a bit deeper, Musgrove’s fastball velo is down about a full mph from last season. He’s also getting less Extension this year, so his perceived velocity is down as well. It looks like the Padres have tried to make some tweaks with his pitch usage, throwing more sliders than fastballs in the early going, even though he held opposing batters to a .205 BA and a .273 SLG on the fastball last season, making it one of the more effective heaters in baseball.

    Location has been a huge issue with a 48.5% Hard Hit% through two outings. The Cardinals are a pretty aggressive offensive team with a top-10 Swing% and it’s important to swing away against guys like Musgrove when they’re trying to settle in. He still throws a ton of strikes, but he’s not throwing quality strikes and the Cardinals could pounce as a result.

    I contemplated going for the Cardinals moneyline and the plus-money price, but then I dug more into Zack Thompson. Thompson has also faced the Dodgers and that’s a really tough assignment, but it’s worth pointing out that righties hit all three homers off of him and had five hits and two walks in 14 plate appearances. Last season, Thompson allowed a .278/.335/.465 slash to righties, who had 21 extra-base hits in just 207 PA.

    If we include all the numbers, including minor league righties, Thompson allowed a .296/.384/.503 slash to them. The Padres faced a lefty last Friday and had eight right-handed hitters in the lineup. I presume they’ll be loaded up on that side here in this game as well.

    I like the 1st 5 Over 4.5 at -120 here. Shop around as always. It’s Petco Park, so that’s always a consideration, but the wind and weather won’t be a factor otherwise. This is just about two guys that could struggle to locate.

    Pick: Cardinals/Padres 1st 5 Over 4.5 (-120)

    Pittsburgh Pirates (-148, 9) at Washington Nationals

    6:45 p.m. ET

    The 2024 debut for Trevor Williams comes against the team he started his MLB career with in 2016. The right-hander is coming off of a really rough season, as he went out there and wore some abuse over 144.1 innings for the Nationals with a 5.55 ERA and a 5.98 FIP across 30 starts. Williams only had a 16.8% K% and saw his Hard Hit% rise to a career-worst 38.2%. More importantly, his Barrel% was a career-worst 10.2%. He allowed 34 home runs. He had allowed 23 over 180.2 innings during the previous two seasons.

    Williams was objectively bad in Spring Training, including a final appearance in a minor league game. Because of the way that the schedule worked out, the Nationals haven’t needed him until now, so he hasn’t pitched in over a week. For a guy with questionable control and command, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of that situation.

    The Pirates have not yet faced a right-handed starter, which is one of this season’s early oddities. They are 5-0 and have faced all lefties. Williams is a pretty good one to ease into the season with in my opinion.

    Mitch Keller will make his second start of the season for the Buccos. Keller wasn’t terribly sharp in his first start with five runs allowed on seven hits over 5.2 innings and he only had three strikeouts. However, the defense didn’t really help him out. I will grant that his decreased velo was a concern heading into this handicap, but he had 14 whiffs (swings and misses) in that start and a 38.1% Hard Hit% with just one barrel allowed. He threw the ball better than his stat line would indicate.

    What I find really interesting is that he had a 48% Chase Rate, which is extraordinarily high for any pitcher. The Marlins were uber-aggressive with him. The Nationals are swinging a lot early in the season here, so I’m curious to see how that plays out.

    But, long story short, I think the Buccos have a big advantage early in this game with Keller vs. Williams. The Pirates also lead the league in BB% right now, as they’ve been very selective. Williams is a guy who can be erratic and get behind in counts, which is when the Pirates have pounced. I like Pittsburgh to be leading after five innings.

    Pick: Pirates 1st 5 Run Line -0.5 (-105)

    Detroit Tigers at New York Mets (-130, 7)

    7:10 p.m. ET

    I don’t feel any differently about this game than I did yesterday, so this is a re-post of my Tigers/Mets handicap.

    We’ll get our first chance to see if the hype surrounding Casey Mize is worth it as the Tigers and Mets square off for the second game of this three-game series. It will be Adrian Houser for the winless Mets, who dropped all three games to Houser’s former team and then got beat 5-0 last night by Detroit.

    Spring Training results are what they are, but Mize had 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings of work and allowed just five runs on 12 hits over his five starts. More importantly, his Stuff+ numbers and his pitch velocity looked fantastic. Mize seems to finally be healthy and he was touching 98 in the Spring, plus there were a lot of rave reviews about the splitter that made him so effective at Auburn.

    Houser is just a guy and I honestly think the Mets are going to be a bit of a bad fit for him. Houser is a pitch-to-contact dude and the Brewers led MLB last season with +40 Outs Above Average per Statcast. The Mets were 25th in Defensive Runs Saved and 23 in Outs Above Average. Houser had a 4.12 ERA with a 4.21 xERA and a 3.99 FIP last season over 111.1 innings, but his 20% K% was the first time he had reached 20% since 2019 and nearly half of his appearances that season came in a relief capacity.

    Houser’s Hard Hit% rose to 46.3% last season, which is a pretty obscene number. Even with the good Brewers defense, he had a .320 BABIP against. He managed to overperform in some areas because 10 of the 13 homers he allowed were solo shots and his K% actually jumped with men on base, which isn’t usually how it goes.

    I find that the Tigers also have the deeper bullpen between the two teams here and Mize has more upside than Houser. I feel like all of those things are worth the plus-money price here. Shop around, as it seems like most shops have a slightly better number on Detroit.

    Addition: The weather looks awful again today and the winds are going to be blowing in very stiffly at Citi Field. I actually like the Tigers a little more here because closer Jason Foley probably would have been unavailable yesterday after working back-to-back days on Sunday and Monday.

    This is likely a PPD, but if not, I still like the Tigers based on all the above factors.

    Pick: Tigers +110

    Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros (-142, 9)

    8:10 p.m. ET

    I had a bet on the Astros on Mar. 29 when Cristian Javier faced off against the Yankees. I was on the right track with my handicap of Javier, and the 1st 5 would have been a 1-0 winner. But the Houston bullpen, which has been a bit of a disaster to this point, gave up seven runs in the 7-1 loss.

    I’ll go back to the well here with Javier, but I’m taking the Over 15.5 on his Outs Recorded prop. Javier had six strikeouts in six innings against the Yankees and looked a lot more like the guy we saw in 2022. He allowed just two hard-hit balls out of 16 batted ball events with an average exit velocity of 85.3 mph and not a single barrel. He had an average launch angle of 30.3 degrees, as he induced eight fly balls and a couple of pop ups.

    Javier actually used his changeup quite a bit more in that start to neutralize left-handed batters than what we saw last season when the usage of that pitch was just 4.1%. He throw 25 changeups in that first outing with a good whiff rate and a 78 mph exit velo against on seven balls in play.

    He’ll still be a fastball/slider guy to righties and the Jays will be throwing a lot of them his way, but I am intrigued by the inclusion of the CH. Lefties slashed .273/.345/.470 against him last season with a .350 wOBA, so it makes sense that the Astros would try to find a way to neutralize the platoon split.

    Righties only batted .189/.267/.370 in 315 PA with a .277 wOBA and only had a .241 wOBA against Javier at Minute Maid Park. Overall in his career, righties are batting .157/.241/.322 with a .250 wOBA in 919 PA against him. I think this is a really good matchup for Javier and I’m expecting a big bounce back season for him, so I’ll be looking for ways to invest early in the year.

    Javier went 90 pitches in his first start and first-year manager Joe Espada has to be a little gun-shy about the bullpen, so I think he’ll get everything he can out of him here. The Outs Recorded wager can be found under the “Pitcher Props” section at DK.

    Pick: Cristian Javier Over 15.5 Outs Recorded (-115)

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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