MLB Best Bets | 3 Picks for Astros vs. Angels, White Sox vs. Braves & More (Saturday, July 15)
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Framber Valdez (Astros)
Another Saturday means another loaded slate of baseball as we continue the second half of the MLB campaign.
Our staff has three best bets for Saturday, which includes the vast majority of the slate beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET or later.
Dive in below and formulate your Saturday MLB betting card.
Saturday MLB Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Guardians vs. Rangers
By D.J. James
Andrew Heaney started off as a reliable starting pitcher for the Rangers, but the southpaw is allowing much harder contact lately. Riding that wave moving forward would be wise.
He holds a 4.71 ERA against a 4.94 xERA. His average exit velocity ranks in the 20th percentile, and his walk rate is 9.7%.
His opponent is Gavin Williams and the Guardians. Williams is a top-rated pitching prospect for a reason, but on the season, he owns a 4.01 ERA against a 4.35 xERA.
Yes, he's only appeared in four games, but aside from one start against the Braves, he's faced the Royals twice and the A’s in the other game. This is not necessarily the toughest of competition, and he's still coming away with subpar results.
His sub-20% strikeout rate may not help against one of the best offenses in the league.
The Rangers have a 17.3% strikeout rate, 6.5% walk rate, .843 OPS and 128 wRC+ off of righties in the last month.
The Guardians have been great against lefties — like Heaney — too. Yes, they have only 82 plate appearances off of lefties in July, but they're above average with a 109 wRC+ and .760 OPS.
In relief, both teams have been pretty solid — with collective xFIPs below a 4.00 — but since both of these starters may have a tendency to get hit hard or allow some walks, betting the over in this game is the right call.
Take it to 9 (-125).
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White Sox vs. Braves
Lance Lynn is a pitcher that I'm absolutely buying in the second half of the season, and that starts as a massive road underdog in Atlanta against the league's best current starter.
Even though Lynn has a career-worst 6.03 ERA, it's paired with his career-high strikeout rate of 11.1 per nine. He’s allowed a home run on 20% of his fly balls, which is a major positive regression indicator for the second half.
Lynn has also allowed a 5.9% career barrel rate, and yet, in 2023, the righty is getting barreled nearly twice that much.
Lynn has seen a drop off in his overall Stuff+, but it hasn’t shown up in more contact on pitches inside the zone. His 14.1% swinging strike rate is a career high, and his zone contact rate allowed is third-best amongst all MLB starters.
Everything you'd want to see in his underlying profile to suggest a second-half surge is present, and it's time to buy Lynn at the floor of his price here.
He's pitching too well to be +280 against anyone, even Spencer Strider and the red-hot Braves.
Astros vs. Angels
By Kenny Ducey
I’m generally a huge fan of backing Reid Detmers. The lefty has some serious talent and can rack up strikeouts in a hurry.
The issue is that Saturday’s matchup is a very poor one for him and his team.
Detmers surrendered four earned runs on six hits and two walks the last time he faced the Astros, which was just about a month ago. In that start, he struck out a season-low two hitters.
The issue for Detmers is that he pitches to fly balls, and the Astros are a team that loves to hit fly balls. They’re sporting a 38.3% fly-ball rate over the last 30 days and will be heading into a ballpark that ranks fourth in park factor for home runs.
On top of that, Houston has an excellent 20.7% strikeout rate for the season, which ranks fourth-best in the bigs.
On the other side of the coin, the Angels are an extreme fly-ball team — ranking in the top five of the league — and will be going against arguably the best ground-ball pitcher in the game in Framber Valdez.
The lefty had one of his best starts of the season against the Angels — when he spun seven shutout innings just a month ago — and he should continue to have success rolling up ground-ball outs on Saturday.
While this line screamed Angels to me at first, the Astros are deserving favorites and should handle business here.