MLB Picks Today – Free Expert Picks (5/17/2021)

Monday’s nine-game MLB slate kicks off another great week of baseball action. If you’re looking to catch some of the action on TV tonight, ESPN has the New York Mets at Atlanta Braves & ESPN+ has the Detroit Tigers at Seattle Mariners. Both of those games will be covered in today’s article.

After starting this MLB article up last week, I have a 2-4 record (-$200) on my picks this season. Here are three more free MLB betting picks to get things going in the right direction.

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MLB Picks Today – Free Expert Picks (5/17/2021)

New York Mets (+125) at Atlanta Braves (-140) – Total: 7.5

NYM: Taijuan Walker – R (3-1, 2.20 ERA/1.02 WHIP)
ATL: Max Fried – L (1-1, 6.55 ERA/1.73 WHIP)

Walker has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets so far this season, as evidenced by his 2.20 ERA in 41 innings. The right-hander has gone seven innings in three of his last four starts, and in those three starts, he’s allowed a total of two runs (one earned). Point in case, Walker is just simply doing his job and keeping runs off the scoreboard.

After a rough start to the season, Fried has put together two straight strong outings. Over the last two starts (a span of 11 innings), the lefty has allowed a combined six hits, four walks and two runs while striking out 10.

So where do we go from here? The Braves did get a slight bump in their implied run total (+0.2) while the Mets decreased (-0.2). New York does have the third-worst ISO (.116) against left-handed pitching, a metric used to quantify power hitting. In addition, the Mets have only stolen one base against lefties- that reduces the risk of any funny business. I don’t hate the under here, but I’ve got more confidence in the Braves tonight.

Betting Pick: Braves ML (-140)

Chicago White Sox (-110) at Minnesota Twins (-110) – Total: 9.5

CHW: Dallas Keuchel – L (2-1, 4.53 ERA/1.26 WHIP)
MIN: JA Happ – L (2-1, 4.26 ERA/1.11 WHIP)

We already lost the value here at 8.5, but I still think there will be more than enough offense to get us into the double-digits. The key here is the White Sox offense against the lefty Happ.

After all, Chicago is the No. 1 team in OBP (.373), wOBA (.369) and wRC+ (141) in MLB against left-handed pitching. The White Sox tore Happ apart in his last start, knocking him around for nine hits and runs over 3 1/3 innings.

Keuchel just got touched up for eight hits and six runs against this same Twins squad in his last start. Nelson Cruz owns the soft-tossing lefty over his career, going 18-for-52 (.346 avg) with six HR. I do feel more confident in Chicago doing most of the scoring, but I would expect Minnesota to make things interesting at some point.

Betting Pick: Over 9.5 runs (-105)

Detroit Tigers (+150) at Seattle Mariners (-165) – Total: 7.5

DET: Casey Mize – R (2-3, 4.19 ERA/1.27 WHIP)
SEA: Yusei Kikuchi – L (1-2, 4.30 ERA/1.09 WHIP)

We go from the best team in baseball against left-handed pitching to the absolute worst. Detroit can’t seem to get out of its own way against southpaws, with MLB-worst numbers in wOBA (.247), wRC+ (55) and K-rate (33.8%).

The Mariners find themselves as the biggest favorite of their season at -165. A lot of that has to do with their opponents, but Kikuchi is a pretty damn good pitcher when he’s on. In fact, after a pair of tough matchups, he’s rebounded to throw three straight quality starts with at least seven strikeouts in each of them. I got a good look at Seattle over the weekend, and the recent call-up of Jarred Kelenic has brought a ton of excitement to this team. Against lesser competition, look for Seattle to put a hurting on Detroit this evening.

Betting Pick: Mariners -1.5 (+110)

Al Walsh
Al Walsh Chief Sports Writer