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Our first bet of the weekend comes with one of the day's worst pitching matchups and a pair of underrated offenses. While the Nationals and Marlins don’t score many runs, they both rank in the top ten in the league in batting average. That has resulted from the talent at the top of their lineups, which is what we are looking for with this first-inning bet. We especially love the chances of the Marlins plating a run with Luis Arraez batting leadoff. While he has not had a hit in his last three games, his .378 batting average suggests that slump will end tonight.
Arraez and the Marlins will also have the advantage of facing a struggling Jake Irvin on the mound (1-3, 5.81 ERA). The Nationals’ starter has just one quality start over seven appearances. Irvin has been especially bad over his last two starts, pitching a combined nine innings while allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 13 hits. Now he’ll face a dangerous Marlins lineup at home, where he owns a 7.32 ERA over five starts.
Braxton Garrett (2-2, 4.10 ERA) will be on the mound for Miami this afternoon. He was great to start the season but posted a 5.46 ERA in May. While he was better in his last start, he was hit hard by the lowly Royals the week before. Kansas City put up four runs on six hits over five innings, scoring two of those runs in the first inning. The National’s offense is good enough to capitalize on bad pitching, which is why we are taking the over this afternoon.
Our next bet comes from an afternoon matchup at Wrigley Field. This pitching matchup looks solid on paper, but those numbers don’t tell the entire story. We also have two offenses capable of putting up big numbers. The Cubs have had double-digit run totals in four of their last five games. Baltimore has struggled a bit of late, but they have the better lineup and have been scoring in the first-inning more than most teams. Combine that with the pitching matchup, and this is an easy over.
Justin Steele (6-2, 2.65 ERA) will be getting the start for the Cubs tonight. It is his first start back from the injured list after hurting his left elbow two weeks ago. The 27-year-old had an incredible start to the season but was showing some cracks before his injury. He has given up five earned runs in two of his last four starts and saw his ERA rise more than a full point before his injury. Steele has also allowed a first-inning run in three of his previous five starts, which is another reason we are locking this bet in.
On the other side, Kyle Gibson (8-3, 3.90 ERA) will take the mound for Baltimore. He is enjoying a bounce-back campaign in 2023, though his numbers are hardly overwhelming. We like him to get hit hard in the first inning thanks to his 4.18 ERA on the road and his 6.23 ERA in day games. Plus, the Marlins own a .365 batting average against the veteran. That includes a .727 average from Dansby Swanson and a .406 average from Yan Gomes.
While these offenses can both do a lot of damage, we see the first inning being quiet. One big reason for that is the fact that we don’t really trust this Houston offense. Yes, they are loaded with talent, but they are missing their most dangerous hitter in Yordan Alvarez. They also have Alex Bregman slumping again, with a .154 batting average over the last week. We see an easy 1-2-3 inning, especially with a young Reds starter on the mound.
Hunter Green (1-4, 4.01 ERA) has shown flashes of greatness in 2023. His strikeout totals are up, and he is beginning to see his control improve. The Astros have not seen the 23-year-old before, which will give him an advantage. Hunter is capable of monster strikeout totals that make it hard to hit him the first time through the lineup, which is why he hasn’t allowed a first-inning run since April 23. We’re not sure if he will get the win, but he will have a clean first inning.
Brandon Bielak (3-3. 4.01 ERA) will be getting the start for Houston tonight. The reliever was forced into the starting rotation after the Astros had several injuries. He has responded relatively well, posting a 3.19 ERA in April. June has been a bit rougher, but that doesn’t change the fact that Bielak has allowed a first-inning score in just one of his eight starts this season.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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