Best MLB Bets Today – Free (Friday 5/17)


Friday is a great day for MLB action, and it’s a great day to watch Paul Skenes throw a baseball. That’s a fairly large hint for the first bet in the article, but we have a full slate to choose from, so let’s start digging in to see what we like.

MLB Best Bets

Paul Skenes Over 6.5 Strikeouts

(+105, DraftKings Sportsbook)

Some may call me a homer here, and that’s fine, but there is a strong reason to believe Paul Skenes can strike out seven Cubs. First, he just did so in four innings in his first start when he threw 85 pitches. He does need to have some level of efficiency because the pitch count will be a real thing from Pittsburgh. It’s a big reason why I’d be careful doing any sort of ladder but in the first start, he registered a 35% K rate, a 14.3% swinging strike rate, and a 31% CSW. The craziest part of those numbers is the four-seam wasn’t even that great –

Of the 33 four-seam fastballs he threw, 14 of them were outside the zone. He also either tried too hard or had such poor control over it that most of the pitches were down. When you can throw a ball over 100 mph routinely, a little high heat never hurts. If he can get those results with a four-seam that was average at best, I’ll bet on the same number again.

Kyle Harrison Over 5.5 Strikeouts

(-105, MGM Sportsbook)

As a general rule, home/road splits don’t do much for me, but there are exceptions. Pitchers who pitch for San Francisco and have strong splits get my attention, and Kyle Harrison is on the bump at home on Friday. He also faces the Rockies, who are a far more obvious team to look at differently when they are not in the elevation of Coors Field. When they face a lefty and they’re on the road this year, the Rockies have a 26% K rate while Harrison has a 28.4% K rate and 3.48 xFIP at home compared to 16.5% and 5.01 on the road. Now, you may argue that we’re only in May and you’d be right. However, Harrison has shown these splits throughout his (admittedly short) career. He’s thrown 41.1 innings at home and 43.1 on the road in the majors. In that time, his K rate at home was 27.4% and on the road, it’s 17.7% while all the production allowed is better in San Francisco. Even though Harrison throws his four-seam 64.4% of the time, it has 31 of his 45 strikeouts and a 22% whiff rate.

Previous NBA Postseason Best Bets (5/16) Next How to Bet the 2024 Preakness Stakes