Marlins vs Padres Picks and Predictions: Nothing fishy About Luzardo's Start

MLB bettors may be expecting regression from Jesus Luzardo, but could his strong start with Miami be for real? We're backing another quality outing for the road starter's redemption season with our Marlins vs. Padres picks.

Last Updated: May 5, 2022 3:38 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jesus Luzardo Miami Marlins MLB
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Once winners of seven straight and owners of a 12-8 record, the Miami Marlins (12-12, 9th in National League) have now dropped four straight, including a three-game sweep by the rebuilding Diamondbacks. 

The Marlins will look to reverse their luck against the San Diego Padres (16-9, 4th in National League), who return home after walking away with a 6-2 record during their eight-game road trip. Can the Marlins turn things around on Thursday night or will the Padres keep things rolling in their return to Petco Park?

Continue reading for free MLB picks and predictions for the Marlins vs Padres matchup on Thursday, May 5th.

Marlins vs Padres odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Padres opened as -130 favorites and have moved all the way to being slight underdogs at most books. The total opened at 7 and has since moved to a 7.5 that is juiced to the Under.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Marlins vs Padres predictions

Picks made on 5/5/2022 at 2:16 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Marlins vs Padres game info

Location: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Date: Thursday, May 5, 2022
First pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Florida, Bally Sports San Diego

Marlins vs Padres betting preview

Starting pitchers

Jesus Luzardo (2-1, 3.10 ERA): Luzardo was once a very hyped prospect in the Athletics' farm system but struggled to find his footing in his first 2.5 seasons there, and landed in Miami in a trade last year finishing with a 6.44 ERA in 12 starts for the Marlins. He has seemingly turned things around in 2022, notching three starts and allowing just one earned run in each.

Nick Martinez (1-2, 4.12 ERA): Prior to this year, Martinez last pitched in the majors in 2017. His career 4.74 ERA and 18-32 record speak for themselves, and the Padres are really only leaning on Martinez due to extensive injuries to their rotation. To his credit, Martinez has been decent as a fill-in, allowing two or less earned runs in three of his four starts thus far.


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Marlins: Joey Wendle 3B (Questionable), Jordan Holloway RP (Questionable).
Padres: Luke Voit 1B (Out), Jose Castillo RP (Out), Michael Baez RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Padres are the fourth-friendliest Unders team at home at 7-3 while Miami is the fourth-friendliest on the road at 8-3. Find more MLB betting trends for Marlins vs. Padres

Marlins vs Padres picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

To no fault to Jesus Luzardo, the pressure in Oakland to be the next great call-up to the rotation may have been too much to handle. He made his (short) major league debut in 2019 pitching out of the bullpen, allowing just two earned runs across 12 innings in six games. That little taste further fueled the hype for Luzardo's eventual jump to the rotation.

But that jump saw diminishing returns over his last year and a half in Oakland (4.12 ERA in 2020, 6.61 ERA in 2021) and with the A's looking to push in their chips amidst a playoff push, they sent Luzardo to the Marlins in return for a half-season rental of Starling Marte. Luzardo largely struggled in his 12 starts with Miami last year, finishing with a 6.44 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.

Amidst his poor performance and the excitement surrounding Miami's other young and budding rotation arms — Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, and even the impending Max Meyer — there was very little vocalized excitement or even expectation of Luzardo, arguably the least of his young career. Without the chatter and pressure, Luzardo has put together a solid 2022 thus far.

The 24-year-old has already notched three one-run starts, slashing his ERA by over half (3.10) in the process. The big change has been his ability to strike batters out, logging 12.39 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (K/9) - the fourth-best mark in the MLB among starters (min. 20 IP). When zooming out, it's no surprise that his strikeout rate dropping to 9.00 in 2020 and 9.25 in 2021 were large driving factors to his WHIP and ERA ballooning during those seasons, especially given that his 12.00 K/9 rate in 2019 aligned with a 1.50 ERA.

That improvement has come via the ramping up of his curveball usage — his new primary pitch. Despite it being his best pitch over the years by many metrics (BA allowed, whiff percentage, put away percentage, etc.), it wasn't until last year that it began to be his most used. But even last year, he was still only deploying it 28.6% of the time, which was only marginally higher than his sinker (26.0%) and fastball (25.1%). This year, Luzardo has jumped the usage rate to 44.2% while adding velocity to his fastball and sinker, and the results have been staggering.

Expect Luzardo to surprise the Padres — who might have their guard down after returning home following a nine-game road trip, especially after yesterday's doubleheader.

Prediction: Miami moneyline (-110 at UniBet)

Over/Under analysis   

Both teams have played slightly to the Under, with Miami going 13-11 (54.2%) and San Diego going 13-12 (52.0%). However, their performances are a bit more pronounced when looking at home and road splits. The Padres are the fourth-friendliest Unders team at home at 7-3 (70.0%) while Miami is the fourth-friendliest on the road at 8-3 (72.7%). Small samples aside, there are other reasons to believe this game will go Under. 

Nick Martinez, who will take the mound for the Padres on Thursday night, has also had a surprising 2022. Martinez last pitched in the majors in 2017 for the Texas Rangers and spent the last few years in Japan reinventing himself. So far, things have looked much different for the 31-year-old.

He too has seen a jump in his strikeout rate, going from his career mark of 5.3 to 8.2 this year. His chase percentage is in the 65th percentile and his whiff percentage is in the 73rd percentile, the latter being extremely notable considering he ranked in the 2nd percentile in his last season in the MLB before going to Japan.

And given that Martinez and Luzardo have seen these opposing batters for a combined 23 plate appearances, there is a notable uncertainty here that will likely require opposing batters to take a plate appearance or two to get a grasp of what they're looking at.

Prediction: Under 7.5 (-115 at PointsBet)

Best bet

Despite Nick Martinez's "reinvention", the Marlins still have the edge here. There are still a good amount of red flags in Martinez's underlying metrics. He ranks unfavorably in fastball velocity (21st percentile), barrel rate (5th), walk rate (13th), expected batting average (15th), and expected ERA (8th).

For comparison, Luzardo ranks above the 50th percentile in all of those metrics, particularly shining in fastball velocity (94th percentile). He also, as previously alluded to, possesses a 90th percentile strikeout rate thus far.

And while the Padres may rank second in runs per game, the Marlins bats seem to be coming alive. Even in losing four straight, Miami has at least scored three or more runs in each of those four games. In fact, the Marlins averaged five runs per contest across the three-game sweep the Diamondbacks just handed them.

Run allowance has been the issue (25 runs allowed during this losing streak), and that is something Luzardo can clean up. They're 9-3 this year when allowing three or fewer runs, a mark they can conceivably manage tonight.

Pick: Miami moneyline (-110 at UniBet)

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