The MLB regular season kicks off the month of June with a number of great matchups on Monday's slate, but I am taking things a step further with some series predictions with the help of Bovada's series prices for the games over the next three days.
The following is a brief handicapping breakdown and free picks for my top three series prices for this week's action.
Atlanta Braves (+100) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-130)
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The Braves earned a 2-2 weekend split with San Francisco with solid victories in their last two games as underdogs as part of this 10-game NL West swing. Before that, they lost two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Atlanta is an even 25-25 on the year, but it has done a good job at winning series against teams with losing records. Left-hander Alex Wood should get the start in Monday's Game 1. He is coming off two quality outings against the Dodgers and Miami.
Arizona returns home from a six-game road trip in which it went 2-4 against St. Louis and Milwaukee. The Diamondbacks are now 23-26 on the year with a losing 11-13 record at home. They have had no problem getting runners across the plate this season with a National League-high 233 runs in 49 games, but their pitching has given them up in bunches as well with a staff ERA of 4.21 that is ranked 12th in the NL. Archie Bradley will be on the mound in Game 1, and his ERA stands at 5.28. Josh Collmenter is penciled in for Tuesday, and he is sporting a 5.05 ERA. This sets the stage for a play on the Braves this week as slight series underdogs
New York Mets (+100) vs. San Diego Padres (-130)
New York continues to battle Washington for the top spot on the NL East behind a record of 28-23. Last week, the Mets followed up a three-game sweep of Philadelphia by losing two of three to Miami this past weekend. This will be the first meeting this season against the Padres. Coming into Game 1 as a slight +104 underdog, the Mets are a costly 4-15 this season as when they do not close as favorites.
San Diego has gained some traction lately with 5-3 record in its last eight games, including a 2-2 series split against Pittsburgh this past weekend. It is now 25-27 on the year with 14-10 record on the moneyline when closing as a favorite. This series could come down to a Game 3 matchup between New York starter Dillon Gee and the Padres' James Shields. I would have to give the edge to Shields in this one with a perfect 6-0 record through his first 11 starts. San Diego has won eight of its last 10 games with the right-hander as its starter, and I look for that trend to continue to pick up another series win at home.
Pittsburgh Pirates (-105) vs. San Francisco Giants (-125)
The Pirates brought a six-game winning streak into its extended four-game series against the Padres, and following the split they are 26-24 on the year. Pittsburgh boasts the second-best team ERA in the NL at 3.04, and they will have Gerrit Cole on the mound in Game 1 to try and gain the early edge. The right-hander is 7-2 this season through 10 previous starts with a 2.11 ERA and a WHIP of 1.09. Pittsburgh has been listed as a -140 road favorite for this game.
San Francisco is just a half-game in back of the Dodgers in the NL West at 30-22 on the year following the split with the Braves. Overall, the Giants have been one of the hotter teams in the NL lately with a 13-4 record in their last 17 games, and they are now +$877 in their total moneyline return for the year. They could get tripped up in Game 1 as +130 underdogs at home, but the betting trends are in their favor with a 15-6 record this season when closing as underdogs. One of the big reasons why I still like San Francisco's chances to win this series is its 7-3 record in its last 10 home games.
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