3 MLB Best Bets for Friday 6/28/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
3 MLB Best Bets for Friday 6/28/24

Baseball has you covered if you want a large inventory of options to bet.

From moneylines to run totals to first-five-inning wagers, we have plenty of ways to bet the long, arduous MLB schedule daily. Outlooks can be vastly different due to starting pitchers, and a wealth of advanced stats can let us know if an individual pitcher, a bullpen, or a team is due for positive -- or negative -- regression.

Using numberFire's projections as a guide, which MLB odds from FanDuel Sportsbook are most appealing today?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated projections.

MLB Betting Picks

New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays, 7:08 p.m. ET

Blue Jays Moneyline (-108)

Despite blasting the New York Yankees 9-2 in yesterday's series-opener, the Toronto Blue Jays only have -108 moneyline odds at home tonight. Considering the pitching matchup, this is a nice spot to back Toronto outright.

For the visitors, Marcus Stroman toes the rubber for his 17th start of the season. It's been an up-and-down season for Stro. Though he's held opponents scoreless five times, he's also let up 4+ runs five times. He's rocking a 3.15 ERA overall, but the ERA indicators -- 4.40 xERA, 4.63 xFIP, and 4.80 SIERA -- don't necessarily buy it.

Stroman's never been a big strikeout guy, but his swing-and-miss stuff is down even by his standards. He enters tonight with the lowest whiff rate (8.0%) and K rate (17.6%) since 2018, but his walk rate (10.5%) and barrel rate (7.1%) are both the highest they've ever been. The righty's been giving up more flyballs than in year's past, though a .245 BABIP and 81.4% strand rate have limited the actual damage thus far.

Still, he's not inspired much confidence with his performance to date, and this is Toronto's preferred split. Against right-handed pitchers, the Blue Jays rank 13th in wRC+ (100) and 14th in wOBA (.307).

On the opposite side, Yusei Kikuchi will look to right the ship after a rocky six-game stretch. After posting a 2.64 ERA across his first 10 starts, Kikuchi has allowed at least four runs in four of his last six outings. The last two have resulted in Blue Jays losses, and that's likely playing a role in Toronto's underdog status.

But his xFIP is only at 3.83 over that stretch, and his whiff rate has actually climbed to 14%. He's surrendered a .400 BABIP and 2.49 HR/9 across those six starts -- both significantly higher than his typical marks.

Still, the left-handed Kikuchi had no issues with the Yanks in an earlier matchup. Kikuchi pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball back in April, punching out seven in Toronto's eventual 3-0 win.

For New York, lackluster showings against southpaws has happened more than you'd think. Against that split, the Yankees drop to 13th in wRC+ (106) and 14th in wOBA (.315).

This is a case of one pitcher overperforming (Stroman) and another underperforming (Kikuchi). Considering their underlying numbers, I'll bank on the script flipping tonight.

It doesn't hurt that, while Toronto is under .500 for the season, they're 19-19 at home. The Yanks do have a league-high 28 road wins, but we already saw them drop two of three at the Rogers Centre earlier this season.

Fresh off four straight losses, look for New York to continue sliding, allowing Toronto to win outright.

Cleveland Guardians at Kansas City Royals, 8:11 p.m. ET

Royals Moneyline (-108)

The Jays aren't the only home team I'm seeing value in tonight. After taking yesterday's series opener 2-1, the Kansas City Royals have -108 moneyline odds in tonight's matchup with the Cleveland Guardians.

numberFire's projections give Kansas City a 52.1% chance to win tonight -- up from their 50% implied odds. This is another spot where I'm targeting a mismatch on the bump.

The Guardians will trot out Triston McKenzie for his 16th start. If tonight is anything like his first 15 outings, the Royals are in good shape. Though a 4.66 ERA is ugly enough on its own, his ERA indicators -- 5.24 xERA, 5.24 xFIP, and 5.06 SIERA -- suggest he's actually pitched worse than the performance-based metrics show.

Even with some luck in the BABIP (.246) and strand rate (80.3%) departments, McKenzie's been a hitter-friendly arm in 2024. He's walking hitters at an abysmal 14.1% clip, while his whiff rate is down to a career-low 9.2%. On top of that, the righty has allowed a less-than-ideal 51.9% flyball rate and 12.5% barrel rate.

Despite McKenzie's shortcomings, the Guardians are still 11-4 in his starts.

That luck could very well run out tonight. Although KC ranks just 21st in wRC+ (94) against righties, they've been one of the league's top offenses at Kauffman Stadium. At home, the Royals rank seventh in wOBA (.333) and eighth in ISO (.172), propelling them to baseball's fifth-best home record (28-15).

Even if KC doesn't crush McKenzie, they'll still have a shot to win outright thanks to Alec Marsh. The righty hasn't been spectacular this season, but KC is 9-5 when he starts, including 6-1 in his home starts.

That coincides with his home ERA (3.58) and FIP (3.56) both being significantly better than his road marks (5.21 ERA and 4.18 FIP). We've seen him handle the league's top offenses at Kauffman Stadium, too. In two home starts versus the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, Marsh gave up just four hits and zero runs.

Cleveland has hit righties well, but with the 11th-best wRC+ (105) and 12th-best wOBA (.313), they aren't exactly world-beaters.

Though they enter tonight with the American League's best record, it's hard to ignore how rough Triston McKenzie has looked this season. Coupled with Kansas City's stellar home play, this is a good spot to fade the Guardians and the Royals at plus odds.

Keep in mind there is a chance we'll get some weather-related funny business in Kansas City with rain possible and high winds likely.

Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:16 p.m. ET

Over 8.5 Runs (-118)

We'll close things out with a total that's a tick to low in tonight's Cincinnati Reds-St. Louis Cardinals matchup. Aided by warm southern temps in Missouri, we saw these sides combine for 15 runs in yesterday's series-opener. More fireworks could be in store tonight.

Frankie Montas and Andre Pallante square off on the mound, and neither arm should scare us away from the over.

Montas has pitched to a 4.48 ERA this season, backed up by a 4.52 xFIP and 4.67 SIERA. Though he's done a good job limiting barrels, he's still giving up a 23.4% line-drive rate and 40.2% hard-hit rate. That's led to him allowing a middle-of-the-road .362 expected wOBA on contact.

The righty has surrendered 3+ runs in eight of 14 starts this season, including six of his last eight.

A date with the Cardinals could add to that total. Against right-handed pitchers, St. Louis ranks 10th in wRC+ (106) and 11th in wOBA (.315).

Andre Pallante hasn't been much better. His 5.23 ERA is slightly inflated by a 66.3% strand rate, but the ERA indicators -- 4.20 xERA, 4.09 xFIP, and 4.21 SIERA -- still don't suggest he's a pitcher to fear.

Pallante is a groundball pitcher, and that's led to a .347 BABIP. He doesn't give up many barrels (3.8%), but struggles with control (10.3 BB%) and doesn't generate many whiffs (7.4 SwStr%).

That should benefit a Reds side that strikes out at the eighth-highest rate (23.8%) against righties. They don't have the greatest marks against righties, though the return of Noelvi Marte -- someone who had a .376 wOBA in that split last season -- should help.

He went 3-for-5 in his season debut and has +120 odds to record 2+ total bases tonight.

Between the high-80s temps and lackluster pitching matchup, this is a nice spot to back the over at -118 odds.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.