Top 3 MLB Computer Picks (May 3): It’s All About the Totals

Alek Manoah Toronto Blue Jays v Yankees
Alek Manoah #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the first inning of the game against the New York Yankees. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images/AFP

Our Top Pick

There are many different ways to bet on baseball, but as far as the computers are concerned, totals are the best way to go for Wednesday’s MLB picks.

Let’s get cracking with our first selection, which takes us back to the Windy City for what promises to be a high-scoring affair.

Picks Summary

  • Twins – White Sox Over 8 (-108)
  • Blue Jays – Red Sox Over 9 (-120)
  • Mariners – Athletics Over 7.5 (-115)

Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox

Wednesday, May 03, 2023 – 07:10 PM EDT at Guaranteed Rate Field

If the White Sox (Over 15-11-3 at press time) are in our picks, we’re either fading them like we did on Sunday – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – or we’ve got them for the Over, like we do this Wednesday when they host the Twins (Under 14-11-3).

It isn’t because they’re good at scoring runs, either. Chicago ranks No. 23 overall in that department with 118 runs after 29 games, or 4.1 runs per game; we’re more interested in their abysmal pitching staff, which sits at No. 28 on the FanGraphs WAR charts (No. 23 starters, No. 29 relievers).

One small problem with this plan: The White Sox are at the front of their rotation. Dylan Cease (4.25 xFIP) is due up for the Southsiders, and current Twins batters have a combined .617 OPS off the fifth-year righty – although he does carry an Over record of 3-1-2 to the mound.

We’re also not sure what to make of Minnesota giving Louie Varland (3.73 lifetime xFIP) another spot start. Varland was a middling prospect for the Twins until he came back from the COVID break with some stank on his fastball, which he’s throwing even harder this year.

The Twins aren’t all that great at scoring runs themselves, ranking 14th overall at 134 runs through 29 games (4.6 per game), but their bullpen is also less than fearsome at No. 12 on the FanGraphs WAR charts.

How’s the Weather?

This isn’t the greatest weather report for our purposes, either: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 40s and light winds blowing down the third-base line.

But we only need nine runs to cash this one in, and the computers at OddsTrader have the White Sox winning this matchup 4.5 runs to 3.9. It’s worth a small bet given the -108 betting odds at BetRivers.

MLB Pick: Over 8 (-108) at BetRivers

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox

Wednesday, May 03, 2023 – 07:10 PM EDT at Fenway Park

This looks like a better spot for the Over, although there’s a -120 premium on vigorish as we go to press. Fenway Park is third overall on the park factors at Baseball Savant, including 119 for runs, so even though the weather forecast is virtually identical to that for Guaranteed Rate Field (106 park factor for runs, No. 4), this environment should be better suited for run production.

So are the teams themselves. The Red Sox (Over 20-10) are third in the majors at 5.63 runs scored per game; Toronto (Under 16-11-2) checks in at No. 11 with 4.72 runs per game.

Can Manoah Get Back on Track?

The question is whether Jays ace Alek Manoah (5.69 xFIP in 31.1 innings) is going to keep struggling. Manoah has split his totals at 3-3 thus far, but he may have pulled out of his funk after allowing just two earned runs in his last two games combined.

Nick Pivetta (4.64 xFIP in 24.2 innings), the pride of Victoria, British Columbia, is next up for Boston, and he’s got the Under at 4-1 despite his own ups and downs. Current Jays have tattooed Pivetta for a .996 OPS, with big contributions from nearly everyone in the batting order.

Add it all up, and the computers have Toronto beating the Red Sox by 5.6 runs to 4.3. That’s exactly what we need if we’re going to pay that premium for Wednesday’s baseball picks.

MLB Pick: Over 9 (-120) at Caesars Sportsbook

Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum

This game should be even more to our liking, if the computers are right – they’ve got the Mariners (14-14 Totals) scoring 5.8 runs, and the Athletics (Over 19-9-1) chipping in 3.3 runs of their own.

Oakland Coliseum (90 park factor for runs, No. 28) is a lousy place to score runs – or to do anything for that matter – but the A’s are a lame-duck team sending JP Sears (5.11 xFIP in 26 innings) to the hill as their sacrificial lamb.

Logan Gilbert (2.97 xFIP in 27.2 innings) is starting for Seattle, so we might want to keep that bet size small, but this is still the Oakland A’s we’re dealing with here. Bet accordingly.

MLB Pick: Over 7.5 (-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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