With an exciting weekend of baseball ahead, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown is back with two best bets for Friday night's slate.
7:10 p.m. ET: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets: OVER 8.5 (-120) at BetMGM
The St. Louis Cardinals are traveling to New York to open a series with the Mets beginning Friday night, and I am expecting plenty of runs in the opener.
Miles Mikolas pitches for St. Louis, a middling righty who has struggled mightily in June so far. Mikolas allowed five earned runs in his last start versus Cincinnati, and has coughed up a 1.73 WHIP through 11 innings since the month began. Mikolas owns a below average 4.87 xERA, and New York has been an above average offense (wRC+ 104) against right-handers over the last month.
Starter Tylor Megill has been an absolute mess for the Mets, and he will get the start Friday. Megill has allowed six or more earned runs in three of his last four starts, and pitched to an xERA nearing 6.00 this season. St. Louis' offense (wRC+ 103) is above average against right-handed pitching as well, so I'm expecting runs on both sides early.
Add in that both bullpens rank in the bottom half of baseball since May 15, and a total of 8.5 makes no sense in a scoring environment across baseball that has seen 9.3 runs per game scored.
7:20 p.m. ET: Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves: OVER 9.5 (-120) at BetMGM, Braves -1.5 (-122) at BetRivers
The Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves will do battle in the second of a four-game series Friday night at Truist Park, and I believe we will see plenty of runs here once again after the two teams combined for 11 on Thursday.
Braves lefty Jared Shuster and Rockies righty Dinelson Lamet will be the starting pitchers, and I don't have much faith in either of them. Let's start with Shuster, Atlanta's rookie southpaw who has looked shaky in limited MLB action. He has surrendered three or more earned runs in five of seven outings, completed six innings just once, and is striking out fewer batters than 95% of MLB pitchers per Baseball Savant. Colorado isn't a great offense, but they won a series in Boston this week while looking presentable and did manage three runs Thursday.
When Atlanta gets its chances at the plate, I'm expecting fireworks from the outset. Dinelson Lamet hasn't looked effective at any point this season, posting a 10.38 ERA while walking an absurd 14.9% of batters he's faced. Since rejoining Colorado's rotation on May 31, Lamet has surrendered 11 runs in 11 innings while opponents have had more than two baserunners per inning on average. I would be surprised if he completes four innings against Atlanta's powerful offense, and the Rockies 25th-ranked and tired bullpen will follow him out there.