MLB Computer Picks for May 26: Ride the Oakland Over Train

MLB Pick: Twins +1.5 (-125) at Caesars Sportsbook

It was 20 years ago when Moneyball first hit the shelves, showing everyone how easy it is to bet on baseball – everyone who cared to pay attention, that is. The steps that Billy Beane took to breathe life into the Oakland Athletics despite their low payroll is pretty much the same basic approach sharp handicappers use when they’re looking for value on the MLB odds board

Now it’s Oakland themselves who are distorting the marketplace. By making their roster both cheap and lousy instead of just cheap, as they prepare for their seemingly inevitable move to Las Vegas, the A’s have created a betting opportunity for the rest of us. The algorithms at OddsTrader have found that opportunity as usual with their projections for Friday’s MLB computer picks

Picks Summary 

Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics

Friday, May 26, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum

Think Again

If you’re thinking the value in this matchup must come from fading Oakland (10-41, minus-24.93 betting units), we’ve got a surprise for you. Yes, the OT computers have Houston (28-21, plus-1.05 units) winning Friday’s game 4.8 runs to 3.3, but they’re not taking the -250 chalk into account when they recommend the Astros for your MLB best bets. 

However, that projection does leave room for a slight lean on Over 8. The A’s have the Over at 28-22-1 this year, and it’s mostly due to their awful pitching, which ranks last in the majors according to the WAR charts at FanGraphs. 

Cannon Fodder

This isn’t your average last-place pitching staff, either. In 2022, the Washington Nationals finished No. 30 in pitching WAR at plus-1.0; this year’s A’s are far below replacement level at minus-3.8 WAR. They’re sending cannon fodder to the mound, on purpose, and the results speak for themselves. 

Case in point: James Kaprielian (5.84 xFIP), who showed some promise a couple years back before injuries took their toll. Kaprielian has the Over at 3-2 thus far, although the Under cashed in his last two starts, including May 21 when Houston beat the A’s 2-0 (Under 9). 

The Pick

The Astros haven’t been hitting particularly well this year, checking in at No. 21 on the FanGraphs WAR charts, and they’ve got Hunter Brown (3.26 xFIP) penciled in to pitch this Friday, so again, make this a slight lean and a suitably small bet for the Over. 

But don’t be scared to bet just because they’re playing at Oakland Coliseum, with a park factor of 85 for runs according to Baseball Savant. The A’s have split their totals 12-12-1 at home this year, and Friday’s forecast includes winds of 10-15 mph blowing out towards right field. 

MLB Pick: Astros-Athletics Over 8 (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins

Friday, May 26, 2023 – 08:10 PM EDT at Target Field

The Gap

Switching to the run line, the OT computers say the Blue Jays (23-28 ATS, minus-6.29 units) are going to beat Minnesota (26-24 ATS, plus-4.12 units) 4.8 runs to 4.2. As is often the case, that’s probably too many runs for both sides, but the gap between the two is reasonable enough for a single-unit wager on the Twins +1.5. 

We’re putting our faith here in Louie Varland (3.64 xFIP). The sophomore lefty has never faced Toronto before, so the element of surprise is on his side; meanwhile, current Twins only have a combined .563 OPS off Kevin Gausman (2.71 xFIP), but that includes a 1-for-10 performance by Carlos Correa that’s likely to improve given enough at-bats.

The Pick

Gausman has pitched remarkably well this year, but the Jays’ bullpen (No. 21 in FanGraphs WAR) has been a mess, and the Jays are only 4-6 in his 10 starts for a loss of 4.02 units. Varland, on the other hand, is up 1.49 units at 3-2. That moneyline value translates to the run line, where those extra 1.5 runs will protect Minnesota from their 4-10 record in games decided by one run. 

MLB Pick: Twins +1.5 (-125) at Caesars Sportsbook

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Seattle Mariners

Friday, May 26, 2023 – 10:10 PM EDT at T-Mobile Park

Last Call

One more total for Friday’s baseball picks, and it’s the last game on the schedule between the Mariners (Under 26-23) and Pirates (Under 25-22-2). The OT computers have Seattle winning 4.7 runs to 2.8, giving us that precious half-run difference between the projections and the MLB totals. 

The Pick

Make it another slight lean. Mitch Keller (2.99 xFIP) throws for Pittsburgh opposite George Kirby (3.73 xFIP), and T-Mobile Park has an 85 park factor for runs, but again, the contrarian value is with the Over. Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken. 

MLB Pick: Over 7 (-115) at WynnBET is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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