MLB weekly betting preview: Padres, Musgrove on upset alert

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

After a solid start to last week, we went 1-2 over the weekend to settle with a .500 record for the week. Here are our favorite bets heading into the upcoming slate:

Brewers (+140) @ Padres (-160)
April 19, 10:10 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers: Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 2.12 ERA) vs. Joe Musgrove (2-1, 0.47)

I get it - nobody wants to bet against No-Hit Joe and the Padres' exhilarating lineup, especially with Fernando Tatis Jr. back in the fold. Yet there's no reason to give the Brewers such a solid price in this matchup.

Few starters have been more profitable over the last three seasons than Woodruff, who ranks seventh among qualified starters in FIP (1.57) and is in the 86th percentile in xERA (2.29), xwOBA (.189), and xSLG (.287). That baseline success - especially at limiting extra-base hits - is paramount against a San Diego lineup that ranks first in hard-hit rate but has struggled to turn that power into results.

Conversely, Musgrove has dominated the Diamondbacks, Rangers, and Pirates by shelving his fastball in favor of his filthy off-speed offerings. Will that work against the Brewers, who rarely chase and make hard contact when they do connect? At these odds, it's worth a shot.

Pick: Brewers +140

Diamondbacks @ Reds (N/A)
April 20, 6:40 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.25) vs. Luis Castillo (1-1, 7.04)

This game is setting up perfectly as an under affair, and don't let Castillo's gaudy ERA convince you otherwise.

The Reds ace was taken deep twice in the first inning in his last start before subsequently retiring 11 of the next 12 batters he faced with seven strikeouts and zero walks. He's still getting hitters to chase at an elite rate (36.1%), and he ranks 15th in first-pitch strike rate (65.7%). That's significant against the Diamondbacks, who rank dead last in first-pitch swing rate (56%).

On the other side, Gallen is as steady as they come. He's allowed three or fewer runs in 26 of his 28 career starts, and he struck out eight batters through four innings in his 2021 debut last Tuesday. Neither lineup is potent enough to fear betting the under with these two on the mound.

Pick: Under (TBD)

Orioles @ Marlins (N/A)
April 21, 1:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Bruce Zimmerman (1-1, 4.24) vs. Trevor Rogers (1-1, 2.40)

If you haven't heard of Rogers before, you may want to start paying attention. The Marlins lefty has been electric through three starts, allowing two runs or less in each with a combined 18.5% swinging strike rate - which ranks fourth among all qualified starters.

If that's how he performed against the Cardinals, Mets, and Braves, I can only offer well wishes to the free-swinging Orioles, who rank among the six worst teams in swing rate (50.4%), whiff rate (29.2%), and chase rate (29.5%). If Rogers starts in this one, the matchup is too good to ignore.

Pick: Marlins (TBD)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

MLB weekly betting preview: Padres, Musgrove on upset alert
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