MLB Odds, Picks | Best Bets for Angels vs. Astros & More

MLB Odds, Picks | Best Bets for Angels vs. Astros & More article feature image

Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)

The All-Star break is officially over, which means we're finally into the second half of the MLB season.

Tonight, our MLB experts get us set for a full slate of games by providing their five best bets.

So, dive in below to formulate your MLB betting card for Friday evening.

Friday 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.

6:05 p.m. ET
Bryce Harper Over 0.5 Home Runs
7:05 p.m. ET
Orioles TT Over 4
7:10 p.m. ET
Under 8.5
8:05 p.m. ET
Red Sox -120
9:38 p.m. ET
Shohei Ohtani Over 6.5 Strikeouts
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.

Padres vs. Phillies

Friday, July 14
6:05 p.m. ET
Bryce Harper Over 0.5 Home Runs

By Tony Sartori

Right-hander Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Padres and should be a good fade candidate. Through 15 starts this season, he's 5-6 with a 4.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.

He entered the All-Star break on a particularly sour note, going 1-2 with a 7.17 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over his past four outings. Darvish has particularly struggled with keeping the ball in the park, allowing 11 homers over his past 11 starts.

This trend could continue against the Phillies — specifically, Bryce Harper. Harper's power-numbers have certainly taken a mighty dip in his limited campaign, homering just three times through 56 games.

With that said, this matchup could be a great opportunity to buy low, especially considering his track record against Darvish. Through 15 career plate appearances against the right-hander, Harper boasts a .250 BA, .750 SLG and .425 wOBA with two homers.

Almost all of his success comes against right-handed pitching, possessing a .320 BA, .607 SLG and 1.025 OPS when facing right-handers since 2021.

Perhaps the All-Star break is what he needed to get back on track during the second half of this season.

Pick: Bryce Harper Over 0.5 Home Runs (+360) (0.5 Units)

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Orioles vs. Marlins

Friday, July 14
7:05 p.m. ET
Orioles Over 4

By D.J. James

Dean Kremer and the Orioles play host to Sandy Alcántara and the Marlins out of the All-Star break.

Alcántara is not the same pitcher we witnessed during his Cy Young season in 2022. His strikeout rate dropped 3.7% and his walk rate increased 1.3%. His average exit velocity is also up 1.5 mph, his barrel rate is up 1.1% and his hard-hit rate is up 2%.

Nothing seems to be improving for him, either.

Although he holds a 3.86 ERA over his last two appearances, he held a 4.59 ERA in the month of June. His current ERA is 4.72 against a 4.35 xERA. He should expect a bit of positive regression, but not enough to make a difference.

The Orioles have hit righties well lately. Since July 1, they have a 115 wRC+ with a 9% walk rate and a collective .770 OPS. Seven batters have eclipsed a .320 xwOBA in the last month, as well.

They come out of the break with a fully healthy lineup, so this is just an added boost.

Given that the Marlins have a solid bullpen, this is the one area that might jeopardize a team total hitting for the O’s.

That said, the Marlins have a few questionable middle relievers who can allow runs to a good hitting team.

Take the Orioles team total to 4.5 (-125). They should score most of their runs off of Alcántara.

Pick: Orioles Team Total Over 4 (-118)

Dodgers vs. Mets

Friday, July 14
7:10 p.m. ET
Apple TV+
Under 8.5

By Anthony Dabbundo

In the last 30 days, Justin Verlander ranks inside the top 12 for starting pitcher Stuff+. This is notable because at no point last year did Verlander's stuff rank inside the top 10, and his declining whiff rates and strikeout numbers suggested a real skills loss, even as he won the Cy Young in Houston last year.

Verlander's swinging strike rate cleared 9.6% in four of his last six starts, which only happened in two of his first six to begin the season.

There's been a lot of talk about the decline for Verlander and Max Scherzer at the top of the Mets' rotation, but Verlander has a 3.49 xERA over the entire season despite a sub 20% strikeout rate.

As the strikeouts make a small renaissance in his profile from the improved stuff, Verlander is still near a top tier starting pitcher.

Julio Urias had a dominant return from the injured list against the Pirates — eight strikeouts — and now he gets to face a Mets lineup that's still just 17th in wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

Neither bullpen has any depth at all, but fresh off the All-Star break, all of the top bullpen arms will be deployed if this is a close game.

As a result, I'd bet under 8.5 at -115 or better.

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Red Sox vs. Cubs

Friday, July 14
8:05 p.m. ET
Red Sox -120

By Tanner McGrath

Last year’s Red Sox rotation caved due to injuries and poor performance. I’m afraid the same thing is happening this year, as Chris Sale, Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock have all hit the IL.

However, the Sox have found a bright spot amid the chaos — Brayan Bello is developing into an ace.

Chaim Bloom and the front office believed Bello had ace-level stuff when they brought him on six years ago, and the young righty is proving them right.

His sinker-change mix forces a unique combination of whiffs and ground balls, his fastball-slider combo keeps hitters honest, and he’s harnessed full command and control of this electric arsenal.

Bello has a 2.35 ERA and a 56% ground-ball rate over his past 12 starts. He produced a season-high eight whiffs on the change in his last start against the Rangers. His first-pitch strike rate and zone rate have jumped. He added a cutter that's shown promise in a small sample size.

Bello is putting it all together.

Brayan Bello’s last 5 starts:

34.2 IP (6.8 IP / GS)
.185 OPP AVG
24 K
7 BB
1.82 ERA

Not enough of the baseball world is talking about what Bello is doing.

— BallPark Buzz (@BallParkBuzz) July 6, 2023

I could talk about Bello all day, but actions speak louder than words. Behind Bello, I love the Sox as short-road Wrigley Field favorites.

The Cubbies played well into the All-Star break, but I don’t love them in this matchup.

Kyle Hendricks has pitched well since returning, but I doubt he’ll be a 3.04-ERA guy behind a 14.9% strikeout rate.

The Cubs' lineup isn’t anything to write home about. I’m buying stocks of Seiya Suzuki, but the team boasts an 87 wRC+ since June began.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox can still grind through lineups and produce above-average results.

Chicago does have a bullpen advantage, but I’m banking on Bello handing the game to Boston’s back-end duo of Chris Martin and Kenley Jansen. Those two are reliable.

The Red Sox won eight of nine to close the first half. Expect them to open the second half with another victory behind their new-found ace.

I'd play this to -140.

Pick: Red Sox -120 (-140 or Better)

Astros vs. Angels

Friday, July 14
9:38 p.m. ET
Shohei Ohtani Over 6.5 Strikeouts

By Nick Shlain

One of my favorite bets on the slate for Friday is Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani to go over 6.5 strikeouts at -112 on BetRivers Sportsbook.

Ohtani has a home matchup with the Astros here.

It’s important that Ohtani is starting at home tonight because he’s been significantly better when pitching in Anaheim this season. Ohtani has a 2.35 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 57.1 innings at home this year compared to a 4.60 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 43 innings on the road.

While the Astros have the reputation for being a lineup that doesn’t strike out very much, Houston is without two of its best hitters in Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez.

The Astros' lineup is also almost entirely made up of right-handed hitters without Alvarez. Houston right-handed hitters in their projected lineup tonight have combined for a 22% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching this season.

Ohtani has a 34% strikeout percentage against right-handed batters this season and should be able to cover this over tonight.

Pick: Shohei Ohtani Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-112)

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