Home | News | Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – April 15th, 2024

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – April 15th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

If you wagered on Braves right-hander Spencer Strider to win the 2024 NL Cy Young, and he was the favorite, that already is a loser as Strider will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team said Saturday. The Braves may have to go trade for starting pitching at some point now. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week games, including Atlanta opening a big series in Houston.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (April 15th, 2024)

Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros

  • When: Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:10 PM ET
  • Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
  • TV: Bally Sports Southeast, Space City Home Network
  • Radio: The Fan 680 AM (Braves) // 790 AM KBME (Astros)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

Potential World Series preview. The teams met in the 2021 Fall Classic and the Braves won it in six. Atlanta hasn’t been back since, while Houston then won it all in 2022 before losing in the 2023 ALCS in seven games to Texas.

Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman sat for a third straight game Sunday due to illness. The pending free agent is off to a really slow start in batting just .241 with two RBI. Bregman started all but one game for the Astros in 2023. Houston remains without ace pitcher Justin Verlander, but he might return this week. The 41-year-old Verlander opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He pitched four innings Saturday night for Double-A Corpus Christi in what is expected to be his final minor league rehab outing before rejoining the major-league rotation. The three-time Cy Young Award winner gave up six runs — five earned — and seven hits against the Frisco RoughRiders, a Texas Rangers affiliate.

If Verlander is back this week, it might mean Monday is the final MLB start for rookie Spencer Arrighetti for a while. Arrighetti, one of the team’s top prospects, was called up from Triple-A Sugar Land to make his big-league debut last Wednesday in Kansas City. The 24-year-old gave up seven earned runs, all coming in the third inning, after a barrage of hits and base runners allowed the Royals to hit around their batting order. The rookie labored during his time on the mound, placing only 47 of his 79 pitches for strikes before being pulled ahead of the bottom of the fourth inning.

“I feel like today I made some mistakes with four-seams, I made some mistakes with spin that I normally wouldn’t. And these guys are really, really good hitters. Even if I miss by a little bit, it gets put in play, it finds a hole. I learned that really quickly today,” he said. “I think I just need to be sharper the second time through the lineup. I think I maybe got away with a little bit early, just because they hadn’t seen my stuff yet, seen the way I throw. But obviously, that second time through, I know I need to be in the zone when I need to be in and out of it when I need to be out.”

Atlanta leads the majors with an average exit velocity of 90.4 this season, one tenth of a mile per hour harder than the Cubs (90.3). The Braves led the majors with an average exit velocity of 90.9 mph last season. Since the start of last season, 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. has put 79 balls in play harder than 110 mph, 24 more than anyone else in baseball. The Braves are on pace for 498 doubles, which would be 160 more than any other year in franchise history. The 2007 club holds the current record with 328 doubles. The 2008 Texas Rangers hold the all-time mark with 376.

It’s right-hander Reynaldo Lopez on the mound, and he’s in his first season with the Braves. Lopez (1-0) picked up the win in last Tuesday’s 6-5 victory over the Mets, allowing three hits and three walks over six scoreless innings while striking out six. The 30-year-old delivered his second quality start in as many trips to the mound this season, and this time, Lopez got rewarded with a win. He tossed 59 of 94 pitches for strikes, and so far his conversion back to a starting role has been a resounding success. Lopez will take a 0.75 ERA and 11:5 K:BB through 12 innings into Monday.

MLB Betting Pick: Braves

Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers

  • When: Tuesday, April 16th, 2024, 1:10 PM ET
  • Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
  • Radio: 105.3 KRLD-FM The Fan (Rangers) // WXYT-FM 97.1 FM (Tigers)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: Rangers (-120) // Tigers (+105)

The only matinée on Tuesday with a 1:10 p.m. ET start and available for streaming on ESPN+. It’s the Rangers’ first series this season against an AL Central opponent. Texas was 19-13 vs. the division in 2023, its best mark against the AL Central since 2012. The Rangers were 4-3 vs. the Tigers, winning the season series for the sixth time in the past eight years, excluding the COVID 2020 season when they didn’t play. The Rangers are 6-1-2 in their past nine series at Comerica Park.

The Rangers already have made a change at closer, with struggling Jose Leclerc demoted to a low-leverage role for now. David Robertson and Kirby Yates are both capable of closing while Leclerc works on his mechanics. Leclerc pitched exceedingly well in the World Series last October but during the Rangers’ ALCS matchup with the Houston Astros, Leclerc walked five batters in 5.1 innings pitched while allowing four runs on four hits. Walks have been his issue this year as well.

Texas remains without 2023 All-Star third baseman Josh Jung as he is expected to miss 8–10 weeks while on the mend from a broken right wrist. The 26-year-old hit .412 with two home runs and six RBIs in the first four games after missing most spring training with a left calf strain. He previously had surgery in February 2022 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, a year after an operation to repair a stress fracture in his left foot.

“Why did this happen to me again? It just makes no damn sense. Now, I’m supposed to come back from my fourth surgery in four years and be better than I was. Again,” Jung said. “Do I have the constant willpower to overcome all of these things? What lessons do I still need to learn? Maybe this is the breaking point. Maybe this is the point of no return. Or maybe this is the story I’ll be able to tell standing at the top of the mountain.”

Right-hander Jon Gray (0-1, 4.38) is scheduled to start Tuesday on the mound. Gray took the loss against Oakland last Thursday, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out nine batters over five innings. Gray yielded seven runs (five earned) over 7.1 innings across his first two starts of the campaign but managed to emerge without a loss on his record. Naturally, he took defeat for the first time Thursday in what was easily his best outing of the season, as he gave up just one run (on a Seth Brown solo homer) and punched out a campaign-high nine batters while inducing 13 swinging strikes.

The Tigers are without second baseman Andy Ibanez, who is on the injured list with a hamstring strain. He was hitting .267 with three RBI. On the mound Tuesday is right-hander and former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize (0-0, 4.82). Mize allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over five innings during Tuesday’s 5-3 win at Pittsburgh. He struck out two and did not factor in the decision. Mize didn’t have his best stuff, as he generated just seven swinging strikes on 83 pitches, but he limited the damage to a pair of runs.

MLB Betting Pick: Tigers

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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