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Friday MLB Best Bets: Odds and Picks for Rockies vs. Dodgers, Phillies vs. Braves, More (Aug. 21)

Friday MLB Best Bets: Odds and Picks for Rockies vs. Dodgers, Phillies vs. Braves, More (Aug. 21) article feature image

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

  • There are 14 MLB games on tap for Friday night but our baseball analysts have zeroed in on three: Toronto vs. Tampa Bay, Atlanta vs. Philadelphia and Colorado vs. Los Angeles.
  • Check out our favorite bets for tonight's MLB action below:

While COVID-19 robs us of tonight’s Subway Series matchup between the Yankees and Mets, there’s still plenty available for MLB bettors on Friday night.

Our experts have taken notice, too, and have picked out their favorite plays on the now 14-game slate. Check out how they’re betting the following games below.

  • Blue Jays vs. Rays (6:40 p.m. ET)
  • Phillies vs. Braves (7:05 p.m. ET)
  • Rockies vs. Dodgers (9:40 p.m. ET)

Note: Odds as of 11 a.m. ET.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BJ Cunningham: Blue Jays Team Total Over 3.5 (-117)

The Blue Jays offense has been on fire over the past week, hitting .274 with a .362 wOBA and 135 wRC+. Randal Grichuk has been scorching hot, hitting six home runs and driving in 14 runs in his last six games.

The Jays have been pretty average against left-handed pitching, with a .322 wOBA and 105 wRC+. However, they’ve been the fifth-best team in baseball against changeups and the eighth-best team against cutters, which happen to be Ryan Yarbrough’s main two pitches.

Yarbrough hasn’t been very effective through his first five starts. He’s accumulated a 5.07 xFIP and his main issue has been his cutter. So far this season, opponents are hitting .282 against it, along with a .337 wOBA, which is a problem considering he throws it 39.1% of the time.

His changeup has been fine with a .242 BAA (batting average against), but as I mentioned previously, the Blue Jays have been feasting on changeups so far this season, so Yarbrough will have to be on point on Friday.

I have the red-hot Blue Jays projected to score 4.49 runs, so I think there is some value on over 3.5 runs for the Blue Jays at -117.

Collin Wilson: Phillies Moneyline (-102) vs. Braves

Left-handed pitchers are set to throw in more than 10 games on Friday night, including Max Fried of Atlanta. The Phillies rank fourth in wRC+ and sixth in ISO (slugging percentage – batting average) against southpaws this season.

Even though Philadelphia hits left-handed pitching hard, it could not put any runs on the board against Fried on Aug. 9. The Braves’ hurler posted a 3.54 xFIP and stranded five runners in five innings, so he got lucky.

Philadelphia’s starter Aaron Nola sports the second-best xFIP in baseball at 1.95. He also ranks third in strike-out percentage and is going up against a lineup that has the fifth-highest K-rate at 26.1%.

The Braves should be without Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies, making Nola a pitcher to back and a DFS arm to roster.

Danny Donahue: Rockies vs. Dodgers Under 9.5 (-122)

A Rockies-Dodgers under doesn’t exactly scream “fun.” The two rank first and fifth in the majors in runs scored this season — perhaps why this is one of the most popular overs of the night.

But that’s also reason for there to be some value on the under.

Since 2005, unpopular unders (35% or less bets) in games between two teams with winning records have hit at a 55.1% clip on a giant sample (more than 2,600 games).

That, plus Sean Zerillo’s projection of 7.92 runs scored in this contest, is plenty for me to feel comfortable going against the masses tonight.

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