Monday’s Major League Baseball Hot Picks

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A robust slate of 13 games grace the Major League Baseball schedule for Monday night. And while there are other games worthy of possible wagering attention, there are three that jump out an offer not only great possibilities individually, but also as a possible three-team parlay play. Take a look.

7:40 p.m. ET – Cubs at Brewers (-135) O/U: 8.5

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Chicago Cubs +1½ (-170) +115 O 8½ (-110)
Milwaukee Brewers -1½ (+140) -135 U 8½ (-110)

The 4-5 Cubs travel to Milwaukee on Monday night to take on the 5-4 Brewers for their second series of the early season. Milwaukee won two of three at Wrigley Field in Chicago to win the first series of the year, outscoring the Cubs 11-7 throughout that series. The teams appear to be headed in different directions with Chicago losing two of three to the Pirates and being outscored 15-3 in the process. The Cubs have lost four out of their last five and have been unable to get anything going on offense. Meanwhile, the Brewers have won four of their last five since starting the season 1-3. They won their last two games against the Cardinals to pick up a big series win over the preseason National League Central favorites.

Chicago has scored just nine runs in its last five games and currently ranks 27th in Major League Baseball in OPS (On-Base + Slugging) at .604. Unders are 7-2 in Cubs’ games this season, largely due to their ineptitude in the batter’s box. The Cubs’ success this season leans on the two corner infield stars who both have their contracts up at the end of the season with no extensions currently in sight in third baseman Kris Bryant and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Javier Baez currently leads the team in hits and he only has eight, which ranks 74th in the National League. The bottom line is, if Chicago wants to win this game, and many others this season, the bats are going to have to wake up.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee has started to hit the ball well, scoring 27 runs in their past five games and boasting a +14-run differential over that span. Unfortunately for the Brewers, former MVP Christian Yelich is likely to miss Monday night’s contest with back soreness. Milwaukee has had trouble over the last two years against right-handed pitching but seems to have eased some of those concerns over its last two games with huge offensive outbursts against righties Daniel Ponce de Leon and Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals.

The starting pitching matchup on Monday night will see right-hander Adbert Alzolay of the Cubs going against right-hander Freddy Peralta of the Brewers. Alzolay has been one of Chicago’s top pitching prospects for a few years and had some solid outings in the big leagues before working his way into the starting rotation this season. However, his opening start of the season was not a good one, as he allowed four runs on four hits and two walks over five innings against this same Milwaukee team. A main reason Alzolay was tagged with the loss in that game was Peralta, who shut down the Cubs lineup for five innings while picking up eight strikeouts and surrendering only one hit.

There is no reason to overthink this game. Chicago cannot hit a baseball right now and Milwaukee can. Peralta is the more established and consistent big-league pitcher than Alzolay and while the Cubs should scratch at least one run of off him this time around; it almost certainly will not be enough. The Brewers are returning home and should be able to keep their bats hot enough to best the struggling offense on the North side of Chicago. Take the Brewers at anything under -150 to improve to 3-1 against the Cubs this year on Monday night.

The Pick:

8:10 p.m. ET – Angels (-115) at Royals O/U: 9

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Los Angeles Angels -1½ (+135) -115 O 9 (-105)
Kansas City Royals +1½ (-160) -105 U 9 (-115)

One of the more intriguing matchups on Monday night will take place between two early season overachievers at Kauffman Stadium. The 6-3 Angels head into Kansas City to take on the 4-3 Royals. Los Angeles had Sunday off after losing 15-1 on Saturday against the Blue Jays. And despite that, the Angels picked up their second series win of the year. Kansas City came from behind late on Sunday to win in extra innings over the preseason American League Central favorite White Sox, 4-3, in 10 innings.

The Angels’ lineup has been led by no other than outfielder Mike Trout, the two-time MVP and four-time runner up for the award. Trout has come out the gate strong this year, batting .414 with three home runs and six runs batted in through his first nine games. Trout has reached base on over 56 percent of his plate appearances this season.

Trout has received help in the early season from fellow stars Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon, while first baseman Jared Walsh has been a pleasant surprise, batting .385 with three home runs and nine RBI. Unfortunately for Los Angeles on Monday night, they will likely be without Rendon, who has been deemed doubtful to play with a groin injury.

The Royals are a team with the original modest goal of simply making a return to the American League playoff picture in 2022. However, with all of their young talent quickly rising to the surface, many around the game are starting to take notice of the raw talent their young players possess, bumping up the postseason aspirations in the early going. Although there obviously is still a very long way to go, those with an eye toward the long play and the patience to ride it out might want to consider the Royals’ odds to finish atop the AL Central Division (+2600) or win the American League pennant (+4000). For the really bold bettors, they could consider the young Royals’ chances of shocking the world by winning the World Series at what currently would be a profitable 80-1 return.

Leading the way is veteran Whit Merrifield, who is batting .393 with three home runs and 10 RBI this season. Offseason acquisition Michael A. Taylor is batting .370, while the other big acquisitions have struggled out of the gate, with Andrew Benintendi and Carlos Santana both batting under .207. Both hitters typically have greater success against right-handed pitching and could finally break out of their slumps on Monday night.

The pitching matchup on Monday features Los Angeles’ right-hander Alex Cobb going up against 2018 first-rounder Brady Singer, also a right-hander, for Kansas City. Cobb was solid in his first start of the year against the White Sox, going six innings and allowing only three earned runs. While he did not pick up the win, he did tally eight strikeouts while only walking one batter. Singer did not have similar success in his first start of the 2021 campaign, going only 3.1 innings and allowing five earned runs against the Rangers. The 24-year-old should be able to put that start behind him quickly and prepare to attack an Angels’ lineup that has been hot to start the season.

The best bet for this game is to take the home team to come out victorious. Los Angeles has seen production from guys they cannot count on throughout the course of a 162-game season. Meanwhile, the Royals have yet to get production from their proven big-league bats in Benintendi and Santana. Brady Singer has some of the best stuff of any right-handed pitcher in the American League and he should be eager to bounce back from a shaky first start. Expect Kansas City to hop on Alex Cobb early, and Singer to hold the Angels down long enough to get his first win of the season.

The Pick:
The Long Play: Royals to win the AL Central Division (+2600) Odds courtesy of MyBookie

9:45 p.m. ET – Reds at Giants (-115) O/U: 8.5

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Cincinnati Reds +1½ (-210) -110 O 8½ (-105)
San Francisco Giants -1½ (+175) -110 U 8½ (-115)

The 6-3 Reds stay out west as they travel to San Francisco to take on the 6-3 Giants on Monday night. Cincinnati lost two in a row in Arizona to the Diamondbacks, after starting the season by winning six of its first seven games. Meanwhile, trending in the other direction, San Francisco has won four in a row after starting the season 2-3. The Giants picked up a three-game sweep against the Rockies over the weekend, outscoring them 11-4.

The Reds lead Major League Baseball in runs scored per game average at 7.3, and currently have four batters batting over .300 in their lineup. Offseason acquisition Tyler Naquin is tied for the major league lead in home runs with five, and also boasts a batting average of .290. Jonathan India, the 24-year-old rookie second baseman for Cincinnati who was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft, leads the team with a .379 batting average and has been a pleasant surprise to a lineup laced up and down with power threats, some of whom have yet to get hot.

The Giants’ lineup does not boast nearly the same firepower that the Reds have, largely in part to Mike Yastrzemski getting off to a slow start. He is batting .125 with only one RBI through his first nine games this season. Also not helping is the decision to keep the team’s top prospect, catcher Joey Bart, down in the minors to preserve his service time for the time being. Long-time big league third baseman Evan Longoria has done his part for San Francisco this season, leading the team in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.

The pitching matchup by the Bay on Monday night is left-hander Wade Miley for Cincinnati vs. right-hander Aaron Sanchez for the Giants. Miley threw six shutout innings in his first start of the season, allowing only two hits while striking out six batters. Sanchez was also effective in his first start of the year, but was unable to pick up the win with five innings of one-run baseball and four strikeouts against the division rival Padres.

This game is truly a contrast of style with the Reds leading Major League Baseball in runs scored per game and the Giants ranking third in runs allowed per game. Expect the Reds to play less like the team we saw in Arizona and more like the team we saw prior to that. Cincinnati has the ability to put lots of runs on the board. With the way the Giants struggle to do so, it is worth betting the short road underdogs. Back Wade Miley to keep the San Francisco offense down long enough for the Reds to pull away and pick up a nice road win to open the series on Monday night.

The Pick:
The Parlay Plays: Take the Reds (+1½), Royals (+1½) and Brewers (-1½) on a three-way parlay (+475). Odds courtesy of MyBookie
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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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