Trio Of Top Value Over/Under MLB Picks For Saturday

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, April 9, 2016 12:57 AM GMT

It's the first time in the 2016 MLB season that every team will be in action, weather permitting. Will every team have at least one loss by the end of the night? Here are my top three total MLB picks.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds
If you were to ask all 30 major-league general managers if they could have one pitcher age 25 or under right now, I'd bet a majority of them would choose Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole. Last season, Cole made his first All-Star team and was fourth in the NL Cy Young voting after going 19-8 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 208.0 innings, all career highs (not the losses). Cole was ticked off this offseason when the Pirates low-balled him salary-wise as he will make just $541,000, the same he did in 2015. That makes Cole perhaps the best bargain in baseball. Players with less than three years in the majors are obligated to accept the contract offered by the team. Don't feel too bad for Cole as he got an $8 million signing bonus after being drafted first overall by the Pirates in 2011.

He debuts Saturday; Cole would normally have started Opening Day but was pushed back due to inflammation around his right rib. The Reds were terrible last year but killed Cole as he was just 0-3 with a 5.95 ERA against them. Reds batters hit .337 against him. I have no explanation.

The Reds go with second-year Raisel Iglesias. He started the opener against Philadelphia and played with fire by allowing the leadoff batter to get on base in four of his six innings, but he got the win in allowing two runs over those six. Iglesias was 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA in 2015 vs. the Pirates. The 'under' is 10-3-1 in Cole's past 14 on the road, and will be our first MLB Pick.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2991675, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,92,238,169,349], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
MLB Pick:  Pirates Under 7½ -122
Best Line Offered:  at Pinnacle

 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
Easily the lowest total on the board. There can be little argument that the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw is the best regular-season pitcher alive on the planet right now with his three Cy Young Awards -- and he was the spring favorite to add a fourth. There can also be little argument that the Giants' Madison Bumgarner is the best playoff pitcher active.

Those two ace left-handers face off in the marquee pitching matchup of Saturday from AT&T Park. When these two faced each other three times in first couple of months last season, Bumgarner's Giants won each of them. In fact, on May 21, 2015, in San Francisco, Bumgarner became the first pitcher to ever homer off Kershaw in a regular-season game. Kershaw was definitely on his game in Monday's opener as he shut out the Padres on just one hit over seven innings, striking out nine and walking one. The Dodgers improved to 6-0 behind Kershaw in Opening Day starts and he has a 0.93 ERA in those six. Last season, Kershaw was 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA in five starts against the Giants. He allowed just 24 hits in 38.1 innings and struck out a whopping 52. He is an incredible 9-3 with a 1.16 ERA in 14 career starts in San Francisco.

Kershaw eats Giants lefty slugger Brandon Belt alive as he's just 3-for-37 with 21 strikeouts off him. So, yeah, Belt probably gets Saturday off. Brandon Crawford is just 1-for-21. Bumgarner pitched through the flu on Monday and wasn't that sharp but beat the Brewers in allowing three runs in five innings, walking five. He was 2-2 with a 2.16 ERA against the Dodgers in 2015. Adrian Gonzalez hits .143 off him in 42 at-bats. The Under as offered on the MLB Odds has hit in nine of Kershaw's past 11 at the Giants. It is 5-1 in Bumgarner's past six vs. the Dodgers.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2993240, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,92,238,169,349], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
MLB Pick:  Giants Under 6 -110
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona gave 2015 NL Cy Young runner-up Zack Greinke a $206 million free-agent deal this winter to be the ace of its staff. But he was terrible in his first outing in an Arizona uniform on Monday as Greinke was shelled for seven runs and nine hits, three homers, over four innings with just two strikeouts in a home loss to Colorado.

Rockies rookie Trevor Story took Greinke yard twice. It was the most runs allowed in a game by Greinke since May 26, 2012, and his most homers allowed since Aug. 19, 2009. Last year while leading the majors with a 1.66 ERA with the Dodgers, Greinke sometimes didn't give up those totals in a month. He was pitching with the flu, apparently, on Monday. Greinke threw six shutout innings in 2015 in his lone start vs. the Cubs.

Dexter Fowler is just 2-for-18 career off him. Jason Heyward 2-for-11 with four strikeouts. It's No. 5 starter Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs. He was 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA last year. Hendricks pitched once vs. Arizona and allowed a run in five innings. Only one Diamondback has more than two at-bats against him: Jean Segura is 3-for-14. 'Under' as I'm assuming Greinke has a huge bounce-back start. The 'under' is Hendricks' past five starts. 

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2991430, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,92,238,169,349], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
MLB Pick:  Cubs Under 8 -110 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline