Baltimore Orioles-St. Louis Cardinals & More MLB Bets & Expert Picks for May 21

Baltimore Orioles-St. Louis Cardinals & More MLB Bets & Expert Picks for May 21

This article is part of our MLB Picks series.

MLB Bets and Expert Picks for 
Tuesday, May 21

YTD 63-68-1

Prior article 2-2 (+0.31 units)


Scoring and home runs continue to be down and UNDERS are hitting at a nice clip. Oddsmakers have adjusted totals and we are seeing a lot more 7.5s and 8.0s. I will continue to focus on OVERS on pitcher-recorded outs at 15.5 or 17.5 as opportunities to get value. You can add unearned runs, hits allowed and strikeouts to the pitcher props I am focused on. Until we see a major change in offense with the weather heating up or major line/odds adjustments, I would continue to hammer pitcher props.


Always check weather for every game. Look at the temperature and wind. If the temperature/humidity is high, the ball will carry more; if the wind is blowing in or the temperature is cold the ball will stay in the ballpark.  As we enter the end of May, the temperatures and humidity are starting to rise, so keep an eye on if scoring starts to see an uptick.


You need to check bullpen usage for each team before making your plays. The starting pitching represents about 55 percent of the game, and the bullpen is 45 percent and often overlooked. The quality of the bullpen combined with availability is critical when taking a full game play vs. a F5 inning play. 


Lineups can get very tricky, especially with day games after night games. I would caution about playing any totals (especially team) before lineups come out on early games. One or two key players out of a lineup can completely change the projection of a game. I avoid all doubleheaders now as there is just too much of an unknown with how lineups will be constructed unless I am taking an UNDER.

MLB Unit Betting Guide (Here is a basic guideline that I use when it comes to betting baseball and knowing what unit value to place on each bet)

  • 1 unit (Moneyline/Run Line/Totals strongest plays, System Plays)
  • 0.75 unit (ML/RL/Totals Medium Plays, Pitcher Props – Ks, Outs; F5)
  • 0.50 unit (Pitcher Props – Earned Runs; Hitter Props – TB, HRRBI; Team Totals, F5 Run Line/Totals)
  • 0.25 unit (Parlays, HR Props, Alt Props)

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Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs  

When you see a total of 10.5 runs in Wrigley, you know it must be the wind, which is 22 mph blowing out. This takes out any Javier Assad under props, but the Cubs are 7-3 in his last 10 starts and this same matchup on May 15 went Cubs, 7-1. This is a straight play for me on the Cubs' moneyline as even with the wind, this Braves lineup has struggled in the last month with an 80 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.  

MLB Picks for Braves at Cubs 

  • Cubs ML for 1 unit (FanDuel +110)

San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds  

The Padres have a 63 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in the last 30 days, but the Reds are just as bad against right-handed pitching. I was looking at going UNDER on the full game, but Joe Musgrove has not been good with a 6.37 ERA (8.31 ERA on the road), 1.51 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.2 HR/9. 

Andrew Abbott has allowed less than 4.0 runs in every start except one – out of nine – and has a 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. The Padres only average 4.5 runs per game as a whole, so factor in their huge struggles against left-handers and you have a strong UNDER play on their team total. Normally, I would isolate the Reds' starting pitcher, but the F5 line was -140 vs. -105 on the full game. 

There is some risk taking a team total under in Great American "Smallpark" with an 88-degree forecast but the humidity is relatively normal. 

MLB Picks for Padres at Reds 

  • Padres UNDER 4.5 runs for 1 unit (DraftKings -105)

Baltimore Orioles at St. Louis Cardinals  

This line is the case of Lance Lynn being more name value than actual production as the Orioles are -148 favorites, but the F5 ML is just a bit over -100 and that is where I am going. 

Kyle Bradish has been solid in his three starts, but has only averaged 4.1 innings per start. The Orioles are 13-7 in their last 20, while the Cardinals are 8-12. Lynn's numbers in his last three starts are brutal – 7.36 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 4.3 BB/9.

The Orioles are 9-6-2 on the road in F5, while the Cardinals are just 5-11-4 in F5s at home.  

MLB Picks for Orioles at Cardinals

  • Orioles -0.5 F5 for 1 unit (DraftKings -105)

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Texas Rangers at Philadelphia Phillies  

At some point, the Phillies will go on a losing streak and not be playable. But we have not reached that point yet, as I rode them Friday night against the Nationals. This pitching matchup is a bit closer with Jon Gray against Ranger Suarez

The Rangers as a whole are not playing good baseball – with a 3-7 record in their last 10 – while the Phillies' run of 8-2, 16-4 and 24-6 in the last 10/20/30 is the best in baseball. They are 22-6 against right-handed pitching and 18-7 at home in F5s. 

Both Gray and Suarez have microscopic ERAs and I can see this being a 4-3 type of game in favor of the Phillies. 

MLB Picks for Rangers at Phillies 

  • Phillies -0.5 F5 for 1 unit (BetMGM -115)

Minnesota Twins at Washington Nationals  

The Twins are fourth in wRC+ against left-handed pitching in the last 30 days at 130. Patrick Corbin has been relatively OK in four out of his last five starts, but still his career and recent numbers are some of the worst in baseball. He does not miss a lot of bats and issues too many walks. 

The Twins have lost seven in a row and they are hitting just .199 over the last 10 games, averaging 2.8 runs per game. 

Something has to give and I will lean on the Twins' recent numbers against left-handed pitching combined with Corbin's awful history. 

MLB Picks for Twins at Nationals 

  • Twins OVER 2.5 runs F5 for 1 unit (DraftKings -110)

MLB Best Bets Today Recap

  • Cubs ML for 1 unit (FanDuel +110)
  • Padres/Reds UNDER 9.5 for 1 unit (DraftKings -120)
  • Orioles -0.5 F5 for 1 unit (DraftKings -105)
  • Phillies -0.5 F5 for 1 unit (BetMGM -115)
  • Twins OVER 2.5 runs F5 for 1 unit (DraftKings -110)

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Michael Rathburn
Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.
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