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Cardinals to best reeling Mets at home

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We have a 10-game slate on the docket to begin the week. Let's waste no time diving into a few of my favorite spots.

Mets (+105) @ Cardinals (-125)

The Mets enter this game ice-cold, having dropped three in a row and seven of the past 10. I don't see things getting much better Monday night.

Taking the bump for the Mets will be Sean Manaea. Although his numbers look good on the surface, the underlying metrics indicate he's a prime candidate to regress.

Manaea owns a sky-high .386 xwOBA over his past four starts and has thrown more called balls than strikes in that time. He's not locating his pitches well and is giving up a lot of good contact. He just hasn't paid the price for it yet.

It's only a matter of time before the contact he gives up starts turning into production. With how many free passes he doles out, he'll be in real trouble when the hits inevitably come against him.

Led by Paul Goldschmidt, Willson Contreras, and Brendan Donovan, the Cardinals have a few guys who hit lefties very well. There's enough talent there to do damage to Manaea.

Conversely, the Cardinals should feel pretty good about having Kyle Gibson on the bump. He's done a great job of eating innings this season and has induced a ton of ground balls into an improved defense.

His numbers are trending upward as well. He's allowed just one run in three straight starts, and right-handed bats - of which the Mets have many - own a .271 xwOBA against him in that span.

Look for a pitching advantage to translate into a win for the Redbirds.

Bet: Cardinals (-125)

Angels (+125) @ Pirates (-145)

The Angels have completely fallen apart of late. They own a 2-8 record over the past 10 games and recently lost their best player, Mike Trout, to injury.

Meanwhile, the Pirates own a 3-7 record over the same span and have plated two runs or fewer in six of the last seven.

Sounds like the perfect time for an under, right? Wrong! I see value in backing the offenses in this game.

Tyler Anderson owns a .367 xwOBA over his last five starts, ranking him ahead of only Alex Wood and Michael Soroka among today's projected pitchers. That's not the company you want to be keeping.

The Pirates have also hit lefties fairly well this season. They sit ninth in xwOBA versus left-handed pitching and have posted better-than-average numbers in terms of batting average, walk rate, and barrel percentage. They should be able to generate some offense against a guy who's pitched above his head all season long.

I also like the Angels to chip in offensively against Mitch Keller. He's allowed at least two runs in every start this season and given up four-plus in four of seven games.

He's giving up plenty of hard contact - his line-drive rate is nearly 10% higher than average over the past month - and walking a lot of batters, to boot. That's not a good way to keep runs off the board.

I think we see both teams contribute a few runs en route to a decently high-scoring game.

Bet: Over 7.5 runs (-125)

Jack Flaherty: Under 1.5 walks

Flaherty's control has been excellent this season. He's walked multiple batters in only one of six starts thus far, doling out two free passes over 28 at-bats against a Twins team that ranks top-10 in xwOBA and walk rate since that matchup versus Flaherty.

He's gone under the number in every other start, which includes games against the Athletics and Cardinals - two of the league's best teams at drawing walks against right-handed pitching.

I don't think the Guardians will be able to test Flaherty's ability to control the zone and avoid walks.

Only six teams have generated walks at a lesser rate than the Guardians this season. That likely stems from their swing-heavy approach, with the team sitting fifth in swing rate versus righties this season.

It's easier to avoid walks when your opponent's offense is built on generating contact and hoping the ball lands in a favorable spot.

Expect another clean outing from Flaherty.

Odds: -120 (playable to -140)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X at @ToddCordell.

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