Welcome to MLB Picks, PlayPicks’ hub for the latest odds and predictions for every day of the 2021 MLB season.
This page will provide live odds from leading regulated sportsbooks across the U.S., along with the best MLB betting picks of the day from our team of experts. We’ll also spotlight the best promotions offered by the top sportsbooks available in a growing numer of states around the country.
Picks are ranked in order of confidence. Odds subject to change after picks are submitted.
MLB Betting Picks for September 20
Houston Astros (88-61) at Los Angeles Angels (72-77) – 9:38pm ET
Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) vs. Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA)
Valdez has been hittable over his last two starts, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits over 11 innings to the Padres and these same Angels. However, Valdez was dealing with a cut on his index finger in that latter start, which came 10 days ago and delayed his next turn until tonight. Valdez has been a solid road performer this season with a 3.39 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 0.8 HR/9 across 58.1 innings, but the Angels have been effective versus visiting lefties of late with a .263 average, .489 slugging percentage and .326 wOBA in that split over the last month.
Barria has been in solid form lately with a 3.38 ERA over his last four starts, including a four-inning, one-earned-run effort versus the Astros his most recent time on the hill. The right-hander is carrying a career-high 3.5 BB/9, however, which can get him into trouble on occasion. He’s also had a difficult time against current Houston hitters overall, allowing a collective .353/.435/.855 slash line with 10 doubles and eight home runs across 132 career encounters. Houston has been solid against righties on the road in the last month as well, striking out just 19.5 percent of the time while producing a .740 OPS and .320 wOBA in that split.
Although I don’t picture an overly high-scoring game, I can see each team getting some runs on the board against each starter. As such, I’m in the camp of the Over early and a solid overall total for the Astros as well.
Pick: Astros Over 5 runs (-120 on FanDuel)
Lean: Over 4.5 runs – first 5 innings (-115 on DraftKings)
Atlanta Braves (77-70) at Arizona Diamondbacks (48-101) – 9:40pm ET
Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.26 ERA) vs. Humberto Mejia (0-1, 4.91 ERA)
Ynoa has pitched better than his pedestrian record would lead one to believe, as he’s allowed just 58 hits over 77.1 innings while posting an impressive 10.0 K/9 in the process. He’s allowed three earned runs or less in 12 of his 15 appearances (14 starts), but he’s been a bit erratic on the road, where all three instances where he’s exceeded that number have unfolded. Nevertheless, the Diamondbacks don’t shape up as much of a threat on paper Monday, as they’ve posted just a .232/.292/.364 slash line, .286 wOBA and -5.8 wRAA against visiting righties over the last month.
Mejia is making his return from Triple-A Reno for this start after logging a pair of turns for the D-Backs earlier in the season during which he pitched to a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP across 11 innings. The right-hander had a rough go of it in the minors with a 5.53 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and 1.3 HR/9 belying his 7-5 mark to a notable extent. Mejia faces a motivated Braves team Monday night, as Atlanta is trying to desperately hold its two-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East, knowing that a fall to second place by season’s end will also spell being left out of the postseason picture.
Given the difference in caliber of starter here and the Braves’ increasingly desperate need for some wins after a tough start to their road trip, I like Atlanta to break out of its funk.
Pick: Braves Over 2.5 runs – first 5 innings (-115 on DraftKings)
Lean: Braves Over 5 runs (-120 on FanDuel)
Best MLB Player Prop Bets Today
Multiple props for individual players listed in order of confidence
Lane Thomas (Nationals vs. Marlins)
Over 1.5 Total Bases (+135 on DraftKings)/ At Least Two Hits (+220 on FanDuel): Thomas is always poised for a potential breakout at the plate when he faces a southpaw, as he boasts a .440 average, 1.188 OPS and .500 wOBA against lefties over 62 plate appearances this season, and a .391 average and 1.090 OPS over the course of his career against that handedness. The left-hander he faces Monday, the Marlins’ Jesus Luzardo, just happens to be one Thomas already has some success against, having posted a .600 average over six career encounters versus the young southpaw. Moreover, Luzardo has been very erratic with both the A’s and Marlins this season, and he’ll head into Monday night’s matchup having pitched to a .329 BAA, .444 wOBA and 3.0 HR/9 against right-handed hitters on the road.
Yuli Gurriel (Astros at Angels)
Over 1.5 Total Bases (+135 on DraftKings)/ Over 1.5 Hits (+190 on BETMGM): Gurriel has pounded Angels starter Jaime Barria for a .500 average with four doubles and only one strikeout in 14 plate appearances, and he checks into Monday’s matchup wielding a red-hot bat. The veteran owns a .375 average over his last seven games, producing five multi-hit efforts over that span. Gurriel has an excellent 44 multi-hit efforts in just 131 games as well, and his career-high 9.8 percent walk rate and stellar 87.2 percent contact rate has helped lead to a tally of 226 total bases. Gurriel also boasts a .302 average against righties on the road, while Barria has given up a .288 average, 14 extra-base hits (out of 36) and .354 wOBA to righty bats, along with a 3.3 BB/9.
More MLB Picks Today From TheLines:
MLB odds for September 21, 2021
How to bet on baseball
A moneyline bet is a wager based on what team will win the game outright, irrespective of margin of victory. Moneyline bets are the most common choice for inexperienced bettors because of their straightforward nature. Each side of a moneyline bet has its own set of odds attached with the favorite having a negative line and the underdog having a positive line.
An example of an MLB moneyline would look like the following:
- New York Yankees -140
- Boston Red Sox +120
The moneyline for a favorite represents the amount you’d have to risk to win $100, while the moneyline for the underdog tells you the amount that can be won on a $100 wager. Once this is kept in mind, the math becomes simple.
The Yankees are the favorite and the team that oddsmakers deem more likley to win the game, as evidenced by their negative line. At -140, the bettor would have to risk $140 for every $100 in profit for total return of $240.
If risking a smaller amount, you’d have to lay down $14 to win $10. Boston is the underdog and has a plus-moneyline of +120. This means a $100 bet would win $120 in profit for a total of $220. Unless otherwise stipulated, all moneylines include extra innings
An over/under bet is a wager predicting whether the combined score of the game will go over or under the total set by oddsmakers. An example of an MLB total would look like this:
- Mets-Phillies Over 9.5 (-115)
- Mets-Phillies Under 9.5 (-105)
If this Mets-Phillies matchup has a total of 9.5 runs, a bet on the over would require 10 or more combined runs to cash your ticket. At -115, bettors will need to risk $115 to win $100 in profit, or $23 to win $20. A wager on the under would win if there were nine or fewer combined runs in the ballgame. With a -105 line, you’re risking $105 to win $100.
The total will be equal for the over and the under but as our example shows, the juice that accompanies the total doesn’t always matchup for both sides. While many over/unders begin around -110, they can range from -125 to +100 depending on a variety of factors including the action that sportsbooks are taking on that particular game.
The run line is baseball’s version of a point spread, which requires favorites to win by a certain amount and allows underdogs to lose a game but still potnetially win a bet. Not all teams are created equal, so the run line is used by oddsmakers to level out the game.
The biggest difference between a run line and a point spread in other sports is that urn lines are always -1.5 runs for the faovrite and +1.5 runs for the underdog. Rather than using the spread to account for the difference in quality between teams, juice accompanying the run line varies depending on how much better one team is than another. A typical MLB run line would look like this:
- Oakland Athletics -1.5 (+145)
- Seattle Mariners +1.5 (-170)
The Athletics have a -1.5 line and must win by two or more runs to cash your ticket. At +145, a $100 bet can win $145 in total profit. On thge other side, the Mariners can win the game or lose by just one run and still win the bet. But with a -170 line, bettors will have to risk $170 for every $100.
From a betting perspective, the run line takes the favorite and makes them an underdog by adding the -1.5 spread to the game. In many cases, the team that began as the moneyline favorite winds up with plus odds, and vice versa for the team that begins as the underdog and winds up with a negative line.
Prop bets are wagers on in-game events excluding the standard moneyline, run line, and total, which are the three most conventional and popular baseball bets out there. Many MLB prop betting options are based on whether a team or individual player will exceed or fall short of a statistical milestone set by oddsmakers. Below are a few examples of typical MLB prop bets that you will come across on a typical night in the regular season:
- Gleyber Torres: Over 0.5 Hits (-160), Under 0.5 Hits (+140)
- To Hit A Home Run: Pete Alonso – Yes (+375)
- Lucas Giolito 8+ Strikeouts (+210)
- 1st Inning Run: Yes (+105), No (-120)
A good portion of these are simple over-unders or yes/no questions regarding player stats. Depending on the market, some props can have long odds and come with large payouts while others have more modest odds similar to moneylines, run lines, and totals. Bettors can also wagers on specific parts of the game including individual innings. Team totals, winning margins, and game parlays (combine winner and total) are also among the prop betting options for every MLB game.
Futures bets are wagers that settle at some point down the road. Typically, these are wagers placed before or during the season on an end-of-season result. Like prop bets, futures bets can be offered at both the player and team level with examples including but not limited to the following:
- World Series Winner
- Pennant Winner
- Division Winner
- AL/NL MVP
- AL/NL Cy Young
- Team Total Wins
- Will Team X Make Playoffs? (Yes/No)
Picking a World Series winner will come with the longest odds and the biggest payout, but it will also be the most difficult market to predict. The odds shrink as you move down to pennant winner and division winner, but the probability of winning goes up. Betting on individual award winners is much like picking a World Series champion and can be difficult with such a large pool of options, but the odds are attractive.
Some options, such as team totals and selecting whether or not a club will reach the playoffs, are only available prior to Opening Day. But that isn’t the case with all futures markets, which means you can place in-season wagers on a champion, division winner, and pennant winner.
Some futures, such as team totals and selecting whether or not a club will reach the playoffs, are only available prior to Opening Day. But that isn’t the case with all futures markets, which means you can place in-season wagers on a champion, division winner, and pennant winner. Technically, these can be considered live bets being made as oddsmakers continue to update lines while the season is in progress.
Live betting refers to placing wagers on a game that has already begun. The growth of online sportsbooks has led to an explosion in live betting because of the conveneince it offers bettors when it comes to seeking out and wagering on in-game lines. Once the first pitch of an MLB game is thrown, sportsbooks are constantly updating the odds in real-time based on the action taking place on the diamond.
This means bettors have a nearly unlimited amount of opportunities to wager on MLB games from the time it begins until the 9th inning. For example, if the Yankees are -140 against Boston, which has a line of +120. If Boston opened up an early 3-0 lead, New York could suddenly become +200 while the Red Sox drop to -265 after being staked to a three-run lead. In baseball, the live line alters with every at-bat regardless if its an out, a walk, or a home run, and there are an unlimited amount of changes any one set of odds can go through.
Live betting provides opportunities to place bets based on the action unfolding on the field rather than just pregame stats, trends, and speculation.
Advanced MLB betting strategies
Fade The Public
One strategy as old as betting itself is fading the public. This involves betting on the side opposite of the one that the masses are backing and if used prudently, it can be quite profitable.
This doesn’t mean blindly going against every team that is favored by the public, but it does mean to look for signs that the majority is going with an overvalued side. Zigging when the bulk of bettors are zagging has proven to be a money-maker for professional (sharp) bettors over time.
When it comes to MLB betting, the casual betting public tends to back favorites. This is largely because the team with the dge in the pitching matchup is usually labeled the favorite, and it’s hard for recreational bettors to go against the stronger pitcher.
What sometimes happens when favorites get backing from the public is that the line becomes inflated. For example, the Cardinals may be -160 to start out against the Pirates, which are at +130. But after most of the wagers and money come in on St. Louis, that number could skyrocket to -200 while the Pirates line shoots up to +150.
In situations like these, sharp bettors would see that value is being gained on the underdog and eventually place that wager, even if Pittsburgh. After all, professional bettors are wagering on numbers while casual bettors are selecting teams.
Another time to fade the public would be when you spot reverse line movement. This takes place when the masses are on one side, but the line actually moves in the opposite direction. If the Cardinals are -160 and the public is backing them but their line drops to -150, that’s an indication that the smaller amount of wagers is causing a line move than the majority. This could mean sharp bettors are going in the direction opposite of the public.
Before placing any MLB wagers, bettors need to be line shopping. This involves comparing odds at multiple sportsbooks and placing the bet with the site that offers the more favorable line. It’s one of the many reasons bettors would do well to create multiple online sportsbook accounts, as there’s no negative to being able to shop for lines.
Betting odds are relatively similar across the board at various outlets, but they’re not universal and there can be some discrepancies between sportsbooks. If one site has the Dodgers -1.5 (-135) while another offers Dodgers -1.5 (-115), you want the option of being able to pick the better odds and receive some line value compared to another sportsbook. Over time, getting the more advantageous price can add up.
In some cases such as totals, there could be two things to pay attention to: the over-under, and the juice. One site may post the total at Over 8.5 (-115) and another may have Over 9 (+100). Bettors must take the total and the line into account and decide which wager is more valuable.
Let The Weather Guide You
Weather has varying degree of influence over any outdoor sport and baseball is naturally no exception. Bettors should be particularly aware of the weather report for any MLB game they’re considering placing a wager on. The most obvious impact the elements can have is causing the outright cancellation of the game itself. However, assuming a game gets underway, bettors should be aware weather can also augment or suppress run production through a variety of means.
For example, heavy winds and rain can have a huge impact on a game. Winds blowing in tend to lead to unders, while winds blowing out can lead to overs. The weather also needs to be looked at in concert with the lineups that are playing and the pitchers for both sides.
The weather in certain stadiums is also known to have a greater impact than in others. For example, the thin air at Coors Field in Colorado has long been known to create an environment highly conducive for offense. Similarly, the jetstream that blows out of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia has been a source of frustration for Phillies pitchers and opponents alike. Wrigley Field is known as a place which is very impacted by the wind in both directions. If the wind blows out the runs may flow, but a wind blowing in can kill offense.
There are other stadiums in places such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Arlington, which aren’t nearly as impacted by the wind as other parks. This can lead to over bets rolling in and totals being inflated while under bets cash. These anomalies and trends with weather show themselves over time and learning some of them can be the difference between wins and losses.
Take Advantage Of Bonus Offers
PlayPicks’ MLB Best Bets page is an excellent source for the top current promotional offers from multiple leading regulated sportsbooks. Sportsbooks are known for appealing promotions designed to attract new customers. One of the ways that sites are able to do this is by offering generous welcome offers for new players, and there are two main types of bonuses:
- Deposit Bonus: Also known as a deposit match, this is one of the most common welcome offers a bettor can receive. It involves the sportsbook matching your initial investment a certain percentage of the way in site credit. Some sportsbooks offer a 100 percent match while others may offer a lesser amount. For example, a site may offer a 100 percent deposit bonus up to $500. This means that bettors can essentialy double their investment with half of it coming in site credit.
- Risk-Free Bet: Another wildly popular welcome bonus, this offer minimizes risk on your very first wager with the sportsbook up to a certain amount. All you need to do is sign up and deposite into your new account before placing your first bet on the site. If that first bet loses, the site will refund you in site credit. Some sites are known to offer risk-free bets up to $1,000!
While much of the attention is on attracting new customers, sportsbooks are investing in keeping their existing customer base satisfied as well. One of the most common promotions that betting sites offer is an odds boost, which enhances the odds of an operator enhancing the betting line a certain amount. Some odds boosts may be 10 percent, while others could be 100 percent.
Odds boosts often represent an excellent opportunity for a level of profit that would normally require a higher investment were odds not enhanced. Most are in the 20 to 50 percent rage when offered, but it depends on the sportsbook as well.
Another well-known promotion is known as a ‘Bet & Get’ and it involves the bettor receiving a free bet or site credit of some kind as a reward for placing a specific kind of bet or wagering on a specific game. For example, DraftKings may offer a $10 free bet to anyone who places a $50+ moneyline bet on Game 4 of the NBA Finals. These deals are quite common around playoffs and at the start of seasons.
In addition to being weather-savvy, having a good grasp on the possible effect a venue can have on an MLB game is also important for bettors. The quickest way to generate the offense needed to make a moneyline, run line or over/under bet a potential winner is naturally through a home run. Certain ballparks are configured to be much more amenable to the big hit than others. When those stadiums are hosting a game a bettor is considering placing a wager(s) on, they should therefore take the quality of the hitting/pitching environment into consideration.
Significant weather-driven factors discussed in the previous section can make even a ballpark with neutral dimensions more hitter-friendly. However, there are other stadiums that are simply hot spots for offense because of shorter outfield fences, for example. Evaluating the statistic known as Park Factor can be particularly informative in this regard.
The Park Factor metric essentially indicates the difference between runs scored in a team’s home games compared to their road games. It’s calculated by dividing all runs scored by or against a team in their home park (per game) with all runs scored on the road (per game). The higher over 1 the number generated by that calculation is, the more offense-friendly the ballpark is. The same formula can is also utilized to determine how more or less frequent hits such as doubles, triples and home runs are in a team’s home park compared to their road games.
Situational betting is a concept that has strong correlation to the previously discussed strategy of fading public sentiment. Like conventional sports fans, bettors can also have short memories and get swept away by recency bias. In betting, this can manifest itself in the form of the public flocking or shying away from wagering on a certain team that’s either running hot or cold.
Heavy action by the public on a “trendy” team can certainly help generate an even better price at sportsbooks on the opposition. The oddsmakers will have an interest in making the team seeing significantly less action more attractive to avoid overexposure on the more popular team. If a bettor’s research indicates the underdog team has a reasonable chance of producing a winning bet at a good price, the scenario shapes up as a potentially profitable opportunity.
Say the Dodgers – already a darling of the betting public due to their elite talent and sky-high expectations – are living up to the hype early in the season and rip off nine wins over their first 10 games. Los Angeles then heads into a road date against the Padres having played on six consecutive nights. The young but still relatively unproven ace of the Padres staff, Chris Paddack, is on the hill for San Diego. Los Angeles trots out fifth starter Ross Stripling, who posted a 6.75 ERA over four starts against the Padres in 2019.
San Diego’s home stadium of Petco Park happens to be known as one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly venues. It could go a long way toward nullifying Los Angeles’ potent lineup. The public is heavy on the Dodgers’ run line at -2.5. A bettor could roll the dice on the Padres at +2.5 based on a belief the aforementioned combination of factors — possible Dodger sluggishness, an offense-suppressing ballpark, a potentially advantageous pitching matchup for the home-field Padres — could lead to a closer game than expected.
Best MLB betting apps
DraftKings’ meteoric rise in the betting realm has closely paralleled their path to success in daily fantasy sports (DFS). Since its August 2018 rollout in New Jersey, DK Sportsbook has quickly expanded its reach across the burgeoning sports betting landscape. A few years later, it remains perhaps the biggest name in the industry.
DraftKings is known for a huge range of MLB betting markets including tons of player, game, and team props. The site is legal and available during the MLB season to those physically located within the following states:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
DK Sportsbook has a generous sign-up bonus offer for new customers that can be worth up to $1,050. New users receive a $50 free bet for a deposit of $5 or more, plus a 20% match bonus up to $1,000 on their first deposit. And if you’re an existing customer, you can still benefit from MLB betting with draftkings thanks to daily odds and profit boosts, plus frequent Bet & Get deals.
Much like its daily fantasy archrival DraftKings, FanDuel was aggressive about entering into the new legalized sports betting realm in 2018. Fast forward a few years, and FanDuel hasn’t lost its spot as one of the most popular sportsbooks out there. Baseball bettors flock to fanduel for a huge variety of betting options including the notorious Same Game Parlay, which can lead to a huge payday. Bettors can use FanDuel in several states including:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
For new customers, FanDuel is all about the risk-free bet as a welcome bonusl. It offers a risk-free bet up to $1,000 perhaps the largest bonus of its kind in the industry. This means that after creating a new account and making your first deposit, the iniital bet placed on FanDuel is protected. If it loses, the sportsbook will reimburse the bettors in site credit up to $1,000.
BetMGM Sportsbooks was forced to play catch-up comapred to sites like DraftKings and FanDuel, but it has exploded in popularity and spread like wildfire over the past few years. This is another operator known for offering many different promotions and tons of MLB betting options, incluing some exclusive props that aren’t available at competitor sites. Currently, BetMGM is in double-digit states in some capacity including the following:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- Washington D.C.
BetMGM rotates welcome offers but is currently presenting new players with a huge $600 risk-free bet. But bettors should be aware that they can easily earn an additional weekly $10 free bet to use on MLB games, all they need to do is place $50 worth of eligible wagers throughout the week.