MLB Friday Night Lines: Best baseball bets, including A’s going for 12 straight and Dodgers striking back

Welcome back to the third installment of Friday Night Lines, where the ultimate goal is to be a weekly home for casual baseball bettors or even baseball fans who don’t want to gamble but just enjoy reading picks for Friday night. Many of you have gone through a long week at work and now it’s time to kick back with some of America’s pastime on a Friday night with a beverage of your choosing. 

We’ve had a humbling start to this thing, but it’s early-season baseball where there’s all kinds of funkiness. I’m confident that I’ll hit my stride in the very near future and start turning that record around. As we often say about hitters in a slump, I’ve had good process and bad results. 

Well, with one exception. Last week, I originally had the Red Sox over the White Sox for my third pick of the night. It ended up being rained out and the Red Sox won the same pitching matchup the next day. I was that close to being 2-1. Alas, a Friday night bet doesn’t count for Saturday. Even though FNL was already published and live on the site, I wanted to have three actual picks. So about an hour after the first entry was up on CBS Sports, I replaced the postponed game with Yankees over Rays. And I cost myself. That was bad process and I’m furious at myself for it. I’m cool with the other losses so far. The other loss last week was picking the Padres to win in a game that they didn’t lose until the 12th inning.

With last week’s idiocy in mind, I’m not going to force myself to get to three picks a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll have more, but if I only feel strongly about one or two games, so be it.

The tide shall turn! I just need to avoid another bad process. 

Season record: 2-4 (1-2 last week)

All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook. 

And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends. 

Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET

Pitching matchup: Yu Darvish (1-1, 2.55) vs. Clayton Kershaw (3-1, 2.19)

Featured Game | Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres

The Dodgers were obviously never going to keep up the pace of their 13-2 start. Just for fun, we’ll point out that was on pace for a 140-22 record over the 162 marathon. Even the most ardent baseball or even Dodgers haters would have to admit it would be funny to see a team make such a mockery over every historical record like that. 

Things have flipped, of course. The Dodgers’ offense has struggled to find its way over the course of the past week. They’ve scored 2, 2, 3, 1, 2 and 2 runs over their past six games, respectively. They’ve also lost four of their last five games and are now only on pace to win 113 games. The horror! 

Padres starter Yu Darvish is doing very well right now, having pitched to a 1.35 ERA with 22 strikeouts against four walks in 20 innings across his last three starts. 

Knowing all this, anyone would be justified to take the Padres or at least peer in the general direction of the under (a very-low 6.5). 

Me? I like a bust-out game for the Dodgers to get back on track. There’s not much behind it other than a gut feeling and knowing that the Dodgers are too good be stuck in a rut for too long. 

Pick: Dodgers moneyline (-145)

Pitching matchup: Cole Irvin (1-2, 4.60) vs. Jorge Lopez (1-2, 8.56)  

Featured Game | Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics

On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of evening out, we have the A’s. They started 0-6 and then 1-7. The latter was on April 8. A lot has happened since then, right? Something that hasn’t happened is an A’s loss. They have won 11 games in a row. They had absolutely no business transpiring a 13-12 win in 10 innings on Wednesday, so it might inspire some to grab the Orioles here in a bit of a “hangover” game, especially with the A’s having to fly across the country. 

Not so fast, my friend, says this Hoosier. 

First off, the A’s had a whole day off. They flew to Baltimore after the afternoon win on Wednesday and had Thursday to relax. There’s no reason to believe there’s any kind of carry-over effect in Friday night’s matchup. 

Further, the Orioles are a worse team than their record indicates. They are playing like a 72-win team and I’ve got them around a 62-win true talent team. 

Orioles starter Jorge Lopez, meanwhile, has a 6.17 career ERA in 242 innings. Camden Yards plays hitter-friendly, generally, and the A’s bats are scorching hot with power, especially first baseman Matt Olson

I don’t necessarily have much faith in A’s starter Cole Irvin, but I don’t think I need to. Runs won’t be at a premium here and the A’s win with runs to spare.

Pick: A’s -1.5 (+115)

Pitching matchup: Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81)  

Featured Game | Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels

The Astros headed into Thursday the polar opposite of the A’s. They started 6-1 but then lost nine of 10. They got back on track Thursday night with an 8-2 beatdown of the Angels. They now have Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman off the COVID-19 injured list and it’s possible Jose Altuve joins them on Friday.

Even if he doesn’t, we love Greinke here.  

The Angels’ offense is already missing Anthony Rendon and it’s possible Mike Trout misses Friday night’s game due to being hit hard in the left elbow with a pitch on Thursday (he left the game early but said he hopes to play Friday). The offense isn’t too deep as it is, but to remove Rendon and have a compromised Trout — if it has Trout at all — provides a pretty good road map for Greinke’s trip to the hill.

Small-sample caveats apply, of course, but the Astros have crushed lefties (.292/.360/.455) so far this season and they shouldn’t have much trouble with the maddeningly inconsistent Heaney.

Pick: Astros moneyline (-135)

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