MLB Betting Picks for Friday: Yankees vs. Rays, Indians vs. White Sox, Astros vs. A’s (August 7)

MLB Betting Picks for Friday: Yankees vs. Rays, Indians vs. White Sox, Astros vs. A’s (August 7) article feature image

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Chapman

  • Looking to jump on tonight's loaded baseball slate? You've come to the right place.
  • Our staff is betting the moneylines in Rays vs. Yankees, White Sox vs. Cleveland and A's vs. Astros.
  • Check out their full analysis for each Friday matchup including their picks.

A full 15-game An almost full 14-game MLB slate presents itself on Friday with first pitches spanning from 6:05 to 9:40 p.m. ET. And tonight’s docket features some pretty intriguing divisional matchups.

The American League East favorites — the Rays and Yankees — will match up at 6:40 p.m. ET in what’s essentially being listed as a pick’em. In the Central, the White Sox are slight underdogs to the Indians (8:10 p.m. ET) — both of whom are chasing the first-place Twins. And out West, the A’s will host the Astros as slight favorites in one of tonight’s final starts.

Our experts break down all three American League showdowns as tonight’s best bets.

Odds as of 11:30 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: Rays Moneyline (-108) vs. Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka had a rough 2019, posting a 4.29 xFIP — the worst mark of his career. He has a full arsenal of pitches, but his slider and split-finger were his only two effective pitches last season, as everything else got crushed. Other than his slider, none of his pitches generated a high whiff rate, which also led to his lowest K/9 rate of his career.

Tampa Bay has gotten off to a slow start offensively with a .297 wOBA and 96 wRC+. Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle have been carrying the Rays offensively to begin the season, as they are the only two with wOBAs over .400. Tanaka should provide the Rays with a good opportunity to get their offense back on track Friday.

Snell was a strikeout machine in 2019 posting a 12.36 K/9, which ranked fourth in baseball for starters. That led to an xFIP of 3.31, which ranked 10th.

Snell is predominantly a fastball pitcher, but he’s got a great one. He averages just over 95 mph on it and does a fantastic job with location, producing a 27.2 whiff rate in 2019. After that he mainly goes to his curveball and changeup, which have sick movement. His curveball was almost untouchable in 2019, producing a 54.5% whiff rate and a .174 batting average against.

The Yankees lineup is no joke, but the Rays have a significant advantage in the starting pitching and bullpen matchup in this game. I have Rays projected at -122, so I think there is value on them at -108.

Collin Wilson: White Sox Moneyline (+106) vs. Indians

Aaron Civale has looked great for the Indians in two starts through the 2020 season. Most of that success could be attributed to modification of his portfolio. Civale is throwing his fastball at a rate 10% less than 2019, while both the curve and change have had significant increases. The Twins strike out at the fourth-highest rate in baseball against right-handed pitching, and suffered through six innings and nine whiffs against Civale on August 2.

This will be the White Sox’ second time this season to see Civale. In their initial matchup on July 28th, the Indians right hander cruised through the first iteration of the lineup. When leadoff man Tim Anderson took his second at bat, though, Civale gave up his first home run. The hits continued to roll in through the second iteration of the White Sox lineup as Jose Abreu doubled and Edwin Encarnacion hit a frozen rope.

The White Sox lineup get Civale once again tonight, and with adjustments to his decrease in fastball usage there should be plenty of runs from the Southsiders.

Stuckey: A’s Moneyline (-129) vs. Astros

Greinke is just not himself right now. He couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his first start against the Mariners and said he felt fatigued after. He did look a little better in his second start but he benefited from pitcher-friendly shadows against a Trout-less Angels lineup. His fastball velocity is down 3 mph from last year. It’s going to take him some time to get back to his usual form.

I generally love the right-handed heavy A’s against lefty starters but that could work in their favor tonight against Greinke, who has had reverse splits in recent years after altering his pitch mix as he’s aged.

The biggest advantage in this game will come down to the bullpens. The A’s bear one of the best in baseball while the Astros have a completely decimated bullpen as a result of horrible injury luck. It’s gotten so bad that they had to go out and sign Fernando Rodney, who still isn’t ready to join the team.

Houston recently put closer Roberto Osuna on the IL. He joins other relievers Austin Pruitt, Joe Biagini, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski. Joe Smith is also currently not available. That leaves a bunch of rookies and Ryan Pressly, who blew the save and took a loss last night in Arizona without recording an out. Also worth noting is that George Springer will likely be out of tonight’s lineup with a wrist strain.

Give me the A’s and Chris Bassitt, who’s looked strong so far this season, allowing only one earned run in two starts (9.2 innings). Oakland just needs to keep it close and get to a battle of the bullpens.

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