Top MLB Betting Picks & Predictions of the Week – May 21st Edition

Posted by Jordan Walters on Monday,May 21, 2018 12:44, EDT in

Is the career of Jose Bautista over? Sure looks like it might be. Once one of the most feared sluggers in the game, Bautista was waived by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday after playing just 12 games and hitting only .143. Just three years ago, the guy hit 40 homers for the Blue Jays, but sometimes when it goes it goes fast. Here’s a look at two intriguing matchups this week. Check back for MLB betting odds.

Top MLB Betting Picks & Predictions of the Week – May 21st Edition

Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs

When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN)

This will be a perhaps painful trip for Indians manager Terry Francona and any player who was on his 2016 team. Of course, the Indians and Cubs played in that year’s World Series and this is Cleveland’s first visit to Wrigley since. The Tribe won Game 3 of the Fall Classic at Wrigley 1-0 and then Game 4 7-2 to take a commanding 3-1 lead. However, the Cubs took Game 5 3-2 there as Aroldis Chapman had the first eight out save of his career – he’s back with the Yankees now.

A white flag with a blue “W” was raised atop Wrigley Field after a Series win for the first time since Oct. 8, 1945, in Game 6 over Detroit. The Cubs would then win Game 6 and an epic Game 7, both in Cleveland, to end the longest championship drought in American sports. The Cubs were the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals and the first to do it by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.

These teams did play two games in Cleveland in April and split. It’s quite possible the teams meet in this year’s World Series. The Indians should win the horrid AL Central, while the Cubs are favored to repeat in the NL Central.

Chicago returns home after going 4-2 on a road trip through Atlanta and Cincinnati. In Sunday’s win over the Reds, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez gave Chicago its first set of back-to-back homers this season. Cubs star third baseman Kris Bryant sat out as he was sore after sliding hard into bases a couple of times during Saturday’s doubleheader. Bryant should be back in there Tuesday.

It’s Tyler Chatwood (3-3, 3.14) for Chicago. He allowed a run on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts through 5.1 innings in a no-decision Wednesday against Atlanta. After walking 18 batters in his last four starts, Chatwood dialed up his control, but he was pulled after allowing a hit in the sixth inning so the Cubs could set up left-on-left matchups between reliever Brian Duensing and Braves hitters Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Duensing induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Markakis. Chatwood is averaging just 5.1 innings per start with a poor 40:34 K:BB, but he still owns a good ERA. Chatwood is 1-1 with a save and a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances, including three starts, vs. the Indians. He won in Cleveland on April 24.

The Tribe’s Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.59) picked up the win over the Tigers in dominant fashion Wednesday, scattering four hits over eight scoreless innings while striking out 10. Bauer threw 70 of 108 pitches for strikes while recording double-digit Ks for the second time in his last four starts, pushing his K:BB on the year up to a stellar 67:21 in 59 innings. He beat the Cubs on April 25, allowing one run over 6.2 innings.

San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros

Are the Astros a safe bet this week in MLB?

When: Wednesday, 2:10 PM ET (MLB Extra Innings)

These former NL West rivals square off in an interleague matchup – the Giants will add the designated hitter in the American League park. The Giants remain without second baseman Joe Panik, ace Madison Bumgarner and closer Mark Melancon. Panik is ahead of schedule and could wind up missing less than five weeks of action. Panik’s timetable was set at six weeks following surgery to repair a torn UCL in his left thumb, but he has progressed rapidly. The second baseman is expected to begin a rehab assignment by Memorial Day. Bumgarner (finger) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Saturday and will probably need three rehab starts before making his season debut. Melancon (forearm) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Sacramento on Monday. He has been a mega-bust after signing a big free agent deal before last season.

Here, it’s Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 6.30). Samardzija didn’t factor into the decision against the Rockies on Thursday, giving up three earned runs on five hits over 6.2 innings, striking out three and walking three as the Giants eventually fell 5-3 in extra innings. After getting tagged for five earned runs in back-to-back outings, Samardzija was able bounce back with a quality start. He has really struggled otherwise this year with just 23 strikeouts to 18 walks over 30 innings. Samardzija’s track record against the Astros is a successful one. In 22 appearances against them he has a 6-3 record with a 3.51 ERA. However, only seven of those outings have been starts.

It’s Astros ace and leading AL Cy Young contender Justin Verlander (5-2, 1.05). Verlander allowed just five hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in a complete-game shutout victory Wednesday over the Angels. Verlander has lasted eight innings twice — April 15 against Texas and May 1 against the Yankees — but Wednesday marked Verlander’s first complete game of 2018 and his first shutout since August 26, 2015 with the Tigers. The fastball was dominant for Verlander, as it topped out at 98.4 mph and induced 10 of his 14 swinging strikes.

Verlander, whose 1.05 ERA leads the AL, will make his second career regular-season start against the Giants, his first since 2008. On May 16 against the Angels, Verlander completed his first shutout since August 2015.

Expert MLB Betting Predictions

Cubbies beat the Indians, and Verlander dominates the Giants.