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San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jordan Hicks sits in the dugout as we look at the MLB Best Bets & Expert Picks for Saturday, June 22.
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jordan Hicks sits in the dugout during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Photo by: Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports.

The weekend is jampacked with Major League Baseball action, and we offer our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Saturday based on the best MLB odds.

Former Cardinals righty Jordan Hicks should receive a genuine St. Louis greeting in his first game back as a member of the San Francisco Giants, but is he in for a rough outing? That Giants-Cardinals matchup has the second-earliest pitch for the day, starting at 2:15 p.m. ET from Busch Stadium. 

Elsewhere, we preview the high-profile matchup between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, a couple of our World Series odds contenders, and identify our best batter prop from that game with a red-hot hitter who has owned Braves starter Charlie Morton in his career.

Here are our MLB player props and expert picks for Saturday.

Saturday’s MLB expert picks

MLB picks based on odds via our best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale.

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MLB player props

Jordan Hicks Under 4.5 strikeouts ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Game info: San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals | Moneyline: Giants/Cardinals (Pick'em via bet365) | Total: 8.5 via bet365 | Start time: 2:15 p.m. ET

In Hicks’ four-and-a-half-year tenure with the Cardinals, he only had a K/9 rate of less than 9.0 one time. However, he spent most of those years working out of the bullpen (eight games started vs. 204 in relief), and now that he is a full-time starter with the Giants, he has dialed back on the velocity to give the team more innings. As a result, his 8.0 K/9 rate is on pace to be the worst of his career, and his hard-hit rate is up for the fourth consecutive year, with this year’s 42.4% rate also on pace to be his worst.

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Hicks has recorded four or fewer strikeouts in five of nine starts since the calendar turned to May. While St. Louis has the eighth-highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season (23.8%), its hitters are familiar with Hicks’ arsenal after having watched him for so long. In addition, this is a four-star play as the Giants had an off day yesterday, which means manager Bob Melvin is more likely to lean on his rested bullpen.

Best odds: -154 via FanDuel

Zack Wheeler to record a win ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Game info: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies | Moneyline: Phillies (-240 via bet365) | Total: 9 via bet365 | Start time: 4:15 p.m. ET

Before Wheeler’s last start against the Baltimore Orioles, he had won four of five and eight of 10, and one of the no-decisions in that span came in a six-scoreless inning appearance with two hits allowed against the Giants. The start against the Orioles was one to forget, as he allowed a career-high four home runs and struck out just four batters (tied for his second-lowest of the season). However, that is also an Orioles lineup that scored 17 runs for the third time in franchise history against the New York Yankees on Thursday and got to Luis Gil for seven runs and eight hits, each the most in what was the shortest outing of his career.

Wheeler should bounce back against a Diamondbacks lineup that is tied for 17th in home runs, and which ranks in the middle of the league (14th) with a .150 ISO. With the Phillies being steep -225 moneyline favorites and having gone 25-6 in their last 31 home games (+15.90 units/27% ROI), backing Wheeler to record the win at bet365’s -125 odds is a great value, and one we would play up to -140.

Best odds: -125 via bet365

JJ Bleday Over 0.5 runs ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Game info: Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland Athletics | Moneyline: Twins (-165 via bet365) | Total: 8 via bet365 | Start time: 4:07 p.m. ET

Athletics centerfielder Bleday leads the team with 34 runs scored and a 2.4 WAR, and he entered the series opener against the Twins slashing .409/.519/.727 over the last seven days (his 1.246 OPS led the team in that span). Bleday hits in front of Miguel Andujar and Brent Rooker, who combined for six RBIs in that span, and they had OPSs of .792 and .778, respectively.

Bleday has scored at least one run in five of his last nine games, with multiple runs scored three times, and should once again cross the plate against Minnesota Twins righty Bailey Ober, who allows a .610 slugging percentage on his four-seam fastball and who ranks in the 19th percentile in barrels and seventh percentile in ground ball rate.

Best odds: +145 via bet365

Juan Soto to hit a home run ⭐⭐⭐


Game info: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees | Moneyline: Yankees (-140 via bet365) | Total: 9 via bet365 | Start time: 7:15 p.m. ET

Few players have had as much career success against the pitcher they are facing today than Soto, who has slashed .636/.750/.1.455 against Braves righty Charlie Morton, with three of his seven hits in 11 at-bats being home runs.

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Soto has a 20-game on-base streak, the fourth-longest active streak in the majors, and his .417 on-base percentage since the start of last season leads all players. Soto has not homered in five straight games, but considering eight of his 18 home runs have come in 39 fewer at-bats at home than on the road, we are getting great value on this play against a pitcher like Morton, whose home run percentage was a career-worst 3.9% just two seasons ago.

Best odds: +350 via FanDuel

MLB player props made Saturday at 7:33 a.m. ET.

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