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The Houston Astros can become the first American League team to clinch a playoff spot when they host the Oakland Athletics on Friday at Minute Maid Park. The Astros (94-50) have the best record in the AL, 6.5 games ahead of the Yankees (87-56). On Friday, Justin Verlander (16-3, 1.84 ERA) returns to the mound for the first time since leaving his Aug. 28 start prematurely with a minor calf issue. Houston is a -385 favorite in the latest Astros vs. Athletics odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while Oakland is a +300 underdog. The over/under for runs scored is 7.5.

First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET in Houston. The game is one of 15 on the MLB schedule for Friday. Elsewhere in the majors, the Blue Jays and Orioles open a three-game series in Toronto, and the Guardians and Twins begin a five-game series in Cleveland. Before making any MLB picks or parlays, be sure to see the predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every MLB game 10,000 times, and it is a 316-272 on top-rated MLB money-line picks since the start of the 2021 season. This is the same model that pegged the 2021 Atlanta Braves at 10-1 as one of three best bets to win the World Series. Anybody who has followed the model has seen profitable returns.

Now, the model has locked in three confident MLB best bets for Friday. They all involve games at 8:10 p.m. ET or later, so there's still time to get these MLB picks in. If you successfully parlay the picks, you'd be looking at a payout of almost 33-1. You can only see the model's MLB picks at SportsLine

Top MLB picks today

The model, which ran 10,000 simulations on each of Friday's games, likes Arizona (+158) to knock off San Diego. On Thursday, the Diamondbacks (68-75) shut out the Padres (78-66) in the first game of the four-game series, 4-0, behind seven scoreless innings from Drey Jameson, who was making his major league debut. Ketel Marte, Emmanuel Rivera and Carson Kelly hit solo homers for Arizona.

San Diego has struggled at the plate recently, having scored just nine runs over the last five games. The Padres are just 11-for-75 (.147) with runners in scoring position over their past 12 games. And Juan Soto, who was famously acquired at the trade deadline in a blockbuster deal with the Nationals, is 3-for-48 over his last 14 games. See who else to back right here.

Featured Game | Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres

How to make MLB picks and parlays for Friday

The model also locked in two other best bets for Friday, including plays on two even bigger underdogs. You can see the model's MLB Friday best bets and parlay only at SportsLine.

What MLB picks should you target for a payout of almost 33-1? And what underdogs does the model like on Friday? Visit SportsLine now to see the MLB best bets from an advanced model that is on a 316-272 run on top-rated MLB money-line picks since the start of 2021.