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Mets vs. Padres: Whither Tatis?

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Mets vs. Padres: Whither Tatis?
Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 and Jake Cronenworth #9 of the San Diego Padres celebrate. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

With Fernando Tatis Jr. in doubt, the Under is a tasty MLB pick for Thursday’s matchup between the New York Mets and San Diego Padres.

New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres

Thursday 3rd May 2021 – 10:10 PM ET at Petco Park

Position players usually don’t have that much impact on the MLB odds board if they have to sit out a game. But there’s nothing usual about Fernando Tatis Jr. He’s the golden child for the San Diego Padres, crushing 16 home runs in 39 games with a massive 1.069 OPS in a season where pitchers are dominating. He’s also questionable for Thursday’s home game versus the New York Mets with an oblique issue.

No issues at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) for this game, though. They’re one of the first online sportsbooks on the board, as usual, opening the Padres as –166 favorites despite Tatis and his uncertain status for Thursday. Is it worth pounding this line for our MLB picks? Or do we switch to the total, which has opened at seven runs with –120 juice on the Under?

Tatis Navidad

That’s a false binary choice, of course. There are dozens of MLB lines available for every game, including run lines and 5-inning lines, not to mention all those baseball props that today’s sharps crave. But for the most part, we’re sticking with the straight bets for our free previews here at the home office – and we’ll be recommending the Under this time.

Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres is congratulated by Jurickson Profar #10 after he scored. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images/AFP

Yes, there will be a hole in the Padres batting order if Tatis isn’t playing. But how big? As a baseline, FiveThirtyEight project San Diego to win this matchup 63 percent of the time, giving us a “fair” moneyline of –170 according to the scintillating SBR Odds Converter. Baseball Reference says an otherwise .500 team with Tatis on it would have a .553 win-loss percentage, which should be worth between 20 and 30 cents on the moneyline in an otherwise even matchup if we’re reading the numbers at Wizard of Odds correctly. That might be enough to make it worth betting on New York, provided we know ahead of time that Tatis won’t play.

Embraceable Yu

Without that knowledge, we’re more content to take the Under, even with the juice at –120. This should be a low-scoring affair at one of baseball’s more notorious pitcher’s parks, especially with Yu Darvish (2.92 FIP, Over 7-4) taking the mound for the Padres and Taijuan Walker (2.62 FIP, Under 5-4) responding for the Mets. Don’t worry too much about Darvish’s overall record against the total; it’s 3-3 at Petco Park, and this is forecast to be another warm and somewhat muggy June evening in San Diego.

Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres and Victor Caratini #17 warm up before playing . Bob Levey/Getty Images/AFP

As for Tatis and the total, Baseball Reference have him at 21 Runs Above Average through 39 games or 0.54 runs per game. Combine his possible absence with the two starting pitchers, the venue, the weather conditions and the light-hitting Mets (4.4 WAR, No. 23 overall), mix in two of the best bullpens in baseball, and yes, we’ll take the Under, thank you kindly. Pine tar for everyone!

MLB Pick: Under 7 (–120) at BetOnline

Under 7(-120)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.