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Twelve new Major League Baseball series start on Friday to set up an exciting weekend of games, and you can check out our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Friday based on the best MLB odds.

The Atlanta Braves will play their first game as six-time NL East champions after becoming the first team to clinch their division on Wednesday. The next closest team to clinching is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who enter the day with a magic number of four to secure their 10th NL West title in the last 11 years.

Here are our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Friday (odds via the best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our World Series odds.

Friday’s MLB schedule and odds

  • New York Yankees (-170) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (+142)
  • Atlanta Braves (-198) vs. Miami Marlins (+164)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (-122) vs. Baltimore Orioles (+102)
  • Boston Red Sox (+114) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (-135)
  • Cincinnati Reds (-110) vs. New York Mets (-110)
  • Texas Rangers (-115) vs. Cleveland Guardians (-105)
  • Minnesota Twins (-180) vs. Chicago White Sox (+150)
  • Houston Astros (-192) vs. Kansas City Royals (+160)
  • Washington Nationals (+160) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-192)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (-142) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (+120)
  • San Francisco Giants (-218) vs. Colorado Rockies (+180)
  • Detroit Tigers (-110) vs. Los Angeles Angels (-110)
  • Chicago Cubs (-142) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (+120)
  • San Diego Padres (-205) vs. Oakland Athletics (+170)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (-115) vs. Seattle Mariners (-105)

Friday’s MLB best bets

  • Player prop: Jeremy Pena to score a run vs. Royals (-125 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: George Kirby Under 2.5 earned runs vs. Dodgers (-120 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: Aaron Nola Over 5.5 hits allowed vs. Cardinals (+130 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Moneyline: Rays vs. Orioles (-120 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Friday’s MLB prop picks

Player prop: Jeremy Pena to score a run vs. Royals (-125 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

Houston Astros leadoff man Jose Altuve has scored a run in four of his last five games and six of his previous nine. However, Jeremy Pena bats right behind him in the lineup and has scored at least one run in seven of his last nine, which is why he has shorter odds than Altuve (-120) to cross the plate today. 

While five current Astros hitters have nine or more at-bats against Kansas City Royals veteran Zack Greinke, Pena has a much smaller sample size but has homered in one of three plate appearances. He is backed by a lineup that has slashed a collective .304/.342/.530 against Greinke, who has not recorded 12 outs in his last two starts while pitching to an 8.59 ERA in September.

This is only a three-star play, as Greinke is tougher on left-handed batters (.331 OBA) than righties (.251 OBA), but the depth of the Astros lineup should be able to plate Pena when he gets on base.

All other competing sportsbooks are at -129 or higher for Pena to score a run, making bet365 the best shop for this wager.

Player prop: George Kirby Under 2.5 earned runs vs. Dodgers (-120 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

George Kirby is one of three members of the Seattle Mariners rotation that has 17-plus quality starts this season, while no other team in MLB has three pitchers with at least 15. With this game being in Seattle, Kirby should be up to the challenge of facing a potent Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, given that his 2.87 ERA in 12 home starts ranks fourth among all AL starters, and his 0.89 WHIP in that split leads the majors.

The Dodgers have been cautious with MVP candidate Mookie Betts after he fouled a ball off his foot a week ago, and the slugger is 3-for-13 with two strikeouts since the injury. Los Angeles has averaged eight runs per game over its last seven outings, but was held to just 15 runs over four games the previous time it played a team at least 16 games over .500.

DraftKings and Caesars charge -125 and -133 odds for the same wager, so we are headed to bet365 for the best return.    

Player prop: Aaron Nola Over 5.5 hits allowed vs. Cardinals (+130 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This four-star play has much to do with us being skeptical about the moneyline odds for this game, as the Philadelphia Phillies are just -142 moneyline road favorites against the St. Louis Cardinals. Even though Phillies righty Aaron Nola held the Cardinals to one hit over seven innings two starts ago, oddsmakers must believe regression is in store, especially since Nola has been tagged for 11 earned runs on 15 hits in his previous nine innings since that start against St. Louis.

Nola has a recipe for success to beat the Cardinals, as sluggers Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are a combined 6-for-41 (.146) against Nola, and neither has an OPS higher than .433. Thus, this is a contrarian play, as Nola has held current Cardinals hitters to a combined .184/.228/.286 slash line in 87 combined at-bats, but St. Louis has been hot in games early of late, cashing the team total Over in the first five innings in 11 of its last 14 games (+8.04 units, 51% ROI).

The +130 odds found at bet365 represent great value, considering Nola’s odds are as low as +108 at Caesars for the same wager.

Friday’s MLB game picks

Moneyline: Rays vs. Orioles (-120 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Tampa Bay Rays roughed up Baltimore Orioles ace Kyle Bradish for four earned runs in the series opener, but today’s starting pitcher, Jack Flaherty, has pitched nothing like an ace. Flaherty has allowed four earned runs in each of his last two starts while not lasting five innings and has pitched to a 7.16 ERA in six starts with the team.

The Orioles are 3-3 in Flaherty’s starts, but have averaged nine runs per game in those wins. We do not expect the lineup to give him the same run support against Rays righty Zach Eflin, who has pitched to a 2.88 ERA over his last five starts despite three outings coming against teams in the top half of the league in scoring. Eflin ranks in the 89th percentile or better in xERA and chase percentage, is in the top fifth of all pitchers in ground-ball rate, and his 1.3 BB/9 rate is on pace to be the best of his career.

Caesars is the only sportsbook where one can back the Rays at cheaper than -122, so we are willing to lay the -120 odds, and expect this division race to be dead-locked after tonight.

MLB best bets made 9/15/2023 at 7:25 a.m. ET.

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MLB betting odds pages

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