MLB Best Bets Today | Odds, Picks for Red Sox vs Mariners, More (Monday, July 31)
Pictured: Nick Pivetta. (Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)
It's a new week in Major League Baseball, and our staff has is MLB Best Bets ready for today. The clock is ticking on the trade deadline, which is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.
There are 10 games on today's slate as teams gear up for the final two months of the season, and our analysts have found a bounty of value. We have five picks on four games, including Phillies vs. Marlins, Reds vs. Cubs, Guardians vs. Astros and Red Sox vs. Mariners.
Here are our best bets from the MLB slate on Monday, July 31st.
Monday's 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.|
Phillies vs. Marlins
Taijuan Walker is really starting to regress as we reach the second half of the season. He had a rough start to the season, but in May and June really found his form mainly because he limited his BB/9 rate under 3. Well, over the month of June his BB/9 rate is 4.94 and his Stuff+ rating has gone from 93 over the first half of the season to just 89 in July.
The things about Walker is when he’s at his best he’s getting a lot of swings and misses down in the zone along with ground balls. His main three pitches are a splitter, sinker and fastball. His splitter has been decently effective, but his sinker and fastball have not been effective and the Stuff+ ratings on all three pitches are below 95.
Edward Cabrera is a positive regression candidate with his ERA sitting at 4.74, but his expected ERA down at 3.92. Cabrera is a very interesting profile because he’s got an incredibly high 10.9 K/9 rate, and Stuff+ rating is 102. However, Cabrera has an insanely high 5.59 BB/9 rate.
The good news for him in this matchup is that the Phillies have a bottom-10 BB% and have the third-highest chase rate in baseball. Cabrera’s main pitch is a changeup that he likes to throw low and inside to lefties and is very effective against them as opposed to righties. He’s allowing a .297 wOBA against lefties and a .349 wOBA against righties.
Cabrera also pitches much better at home than he does on the road. He has a 3.21 xFIP in Miami versus a 4.97 xFIP away from loanDepot Park.
I have the Marlins projected at -131 for the first five innings, so I like the value on them at -108.
Pick: Marlins F5 ML (-108)
Phillies vs. Marlins
By Tony Sartori
Right-hander Taijuan Walker is slated to take the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies and should be a solid fade candidate in this matchup. Through 21 starts this season, Walker possesses a 4.06 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.
His underlying metrics are also underwhelming, ranking in the 49th percentile or lower in HardHit%, xERA/xwOBA and xBA. Through 11 career appearances on the mound against the Miami Marlins, Walker possesses a 3.48 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.
Meanwhile, up-and-coming pitching prospect Edward Cabrera takes the mound for the Marlins. Now could be a great time to buy low on the right-hander, considering his poor surface-level stats but terrific underlying metrics.
Currently, Cabrera ranks in the 73rd percentile or higher in Average Exit Velocity, xBA, xSLG, K%, Whiff% and Chase Rate. This expected positive regression could come against Philadelphia, a team in which he boasts a 2.25 ERA against through three career starts.
Both teams are comparable in the hitting and bullpen departments, so I will gladly back Miami at home at -108. The Marlins have won four of the six meetings between these two clubs this season.
Pick: Marlins ML (-108)
Reds vs. Cubs
I love this starting pitching matchup.
Marcus Stroman finally saw some regression after allowing seven earned over three innings to the White Sox, but I think that was a one-off performance. Stroman’s ability to avoid barrels and feed ground balls to his stud infield defenders (Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner) is a sustainable strategy.
He’ll face off against up-and-coming southpaw Andrew Abbott. He’s due for regression, but three of his four pitches have returned a positive Run Value, and you can’t argue with solid command and a sub-1.00 WHIP.
More importantly, Abbott’s left-handedness puts the Cubs in their worse split. The Cubbies have been smashing righties but boast a below-average wRC+ against lefties over the past month (96).
During the same timeframe, the Reds check in with a below-average wRC+ against righties (94).
The wind is blowing in from right field at Wrigley, so we’re getting pitcher-friendly conditions in the Windy City.
Our own Sean Zerilo projects only 7.5 runs in this one, and I’m digging the Under 8 at close to even money.
Guardians vs. Astros
By Kenny Ducey
I’m normally a big fan of J.P. France and most ground-ball pitchers, but against a team like the Cleveland Guardians you’re bound to struggle if you’re pitching to contact. Cleveland has the third-highest expected batting average in the game, and on top of that it’s been a top-10 offense by the numbers over the last two weeks.
The Astros, on the other hand, have not. They’re sporting a meek 106 wRC+ over that span and hitting just .244. While my initial inclination was to fade both pitchers here given Noah Syndergaard’s struggles, I’m not entirely convinced the Astros can get to him. They rank just 18th in pitch value per 100 sinkers, and they will see a heavy dose of them as Syndergaard continues to turn himself into a successful sinker-baller.
Given the Guardians have been the stronger of the two offenses lately and should be in a good spot against a ground ball pitcher, I think there’s a ton of value in taking them at this price.
Pick: Guardians ML (+155)
Red Sox vs. Mariners
By D.J. James
George Kirby has been one of the Seattle Mariners’ most reliable starters this season. He has a 3.49 ERA against a 3.89 xERA. That said, his Average Exit Velocity and his Hard Hit Rate rank in the bottom half of the league. His walk rate is under 3%, which is phenomenal.
His opponent will be the Boston Red Sox and Nick Pivetta. Pivetta has been lockdown this month, and he has even pitched out of the bullpen, when the Red Sox have needed him. In July, he holds a 1.29 ERA over 21 innings. In his last outing, he held the Atlanta Braves to three hits and one walk over five innings. Not many pitchers have been able to keep that lineup in check.
Boston has been better, or at least comparable, off of righties in July. The BoSox have a .833 OPS and a 121 wRC+ off of righties this month. Seattle has a .782 OPS and a 121 wRC+. Triston Casas has been a huge piece for this Boston squad with a .509 xwOBA off of righties, so he could have a good game with Kirby throwing.
Seattle typically carries a massive bullpen advantage. The Mariners have a 3.22 xFIP this month, but Boston has a 3.73 xFIP in relief. This essentially wipes out much of that advantage for the Mariners.
This line should be closer to even money. Take Boston to -110.