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Monday MLB Best Bets: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Betting Picks, Including Braves vs. Rays & White Sox vs. Indians (July 27)

Monday MLB Best Bets: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Betting Picks, Including Braves vs. Rays & White Sox vs. Indians (July 27) article feature image

Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Eloy Jimenez

  • MLB's restart continues on Monday with action starting at 3:40 p.m. ET.
  • Our staff put together their favorite bets on the slate, including White Sox-Indians, Braves-Rays and D'Backs-Padres.
  • Get our best picks for Monday below.

We’re officially one-twentieth of the way through the 2020 MLB regular season. And amazingly, every single team has either exactly one or two wins through the first few days — there was not a single sweep on the opening weekend.

Most teams have moved onto series number two on the short schedule, but a few are sticking around to finish off a four-game set, like the Diamondbacks and Padres.

That also happens to be where we’ll be starting off with our staff’s favorite Monday bets …

All odds current as of 11:35 a.m. ET.

Stuckey: Diamondbacks Full Game (+110) and F5 (+107) Moneyline vs. Padres

Give me the Snakes here, split between the game and first five.

I think Luke Weaver is poised for a solid season and love this Diamondbacks lineup against lefties. Last year, they had a top-five lineup against southpaws in terms of both wOBA and OPS, and they added right-handed bat Starling Marte in the offseason. They also have a full season of right-handed slugger Kevin Kron, who hit 38 homers in 82 games with Reno last season.

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.

Arizona will face lefty starter Joey Luchessi today. Not surprisingly, the Snakes have hit him hard in the past. In seven career starts against the D-backs, Luchessi is 1-5 with a 5.19 ERA. Luchessi also looked very poor in his last start before the regular season. He needed 79 pitches to labor through four innings, struggling with control throughout.

It does also help that Kirby Yates, arguably the best closer in all of baseball, might not be available for the Fathers. Yates pitched the past two days, including a rough 28-pitch outing yesterday.

I do also fancy the over. I like the patient approach the Padres have been taking at the plate and the Diamondbacks’ pen definitely has questions.

If you’re looking for a few other dogs, take a peek at the White Sox (see below) and/or Angels. Two pitchers I’m high on for breakout years are Griffin Canning (who looked excellent his last time out with six scoreless innings) and Dylan Cease.

Danny Donahue: Rays (-140) vs. Braves

This play has little nothing to do with my personal ability to analyze how the Rays and Braves match up on the field, and everything to do with reading what the betting market — both in terms of the actual odds and how bettors react to those odds — can tell us.

To be more specific, it probably doesn’t feel like you should be able to get the Braves at +126 against the Rays. Nor does it feel like you should have to lay -140 to play Tampa — a team for which I’m assuming most folks would have trouble naming three position players — against one that won 97 games and the NL East last season.

Typically, though, when such a strange line comes around, there’s good reason for it. And you’ll generally find the head-scratching side to be the one with value.

Since 2005, in games where favorites of more than -130 receive less than 40% of moneyline bets, those teams have gone 256-152, winning 24.3 units for a 6% return on investment.

I’m going to trust the oddsmakers over the bettors again tonight.

Collin Wilson: White Sox (+114) vs. Indians

The South Siders’ tough schedule continues from an opening set with Minnesota straight into Cleveland.

The White Sox have penciled in Dylan Cease on the mound after a tumultuous 2019. But digging deeper into last season, Cease had an xFIP -1.37 lower than his ERA while giving up an astounding HR/FB rate of 21.4%. There should be correction in those numbers, as Cease looked better leading up to the start of the season.

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.

The exact opposite could be said in the xFIP department when it comes to Aaron Civale. The right-hander had a 2.34 ERA in parallel with a 4.61 xFIP in 10 games started during 2019. A K/9 rate of 7.18 was on par with his minor league numbers, but a correction in his low BABIP of .250 is anticipated. Civale was reported to be close to getting to 100 pitches, so expect the Cleveland bullpen to get involved in this game.

Simply put, this number should be closer to a pick, but there is value on the White Sox after a series against Minnesota where Cleveland comes off Kansas City.

BJ Cunningham: White Sox-Indians Over 9.5 (-110)

It was a rough first year in the show for Dylan Cease. He had some concerning numbers, like a 1.55 WHIP, 4.32 BB/9 and 1.85 HR/9. Much of his issues were because of his fastball, which got shelled last season. Although Cease has a lot of velocity on his fastball, it doesn’t have a lot of movement. Opponents teed off on that lack of movement with a .448 wOBA last season.

The White Sox offense saw some major upgrades in the offseason, adding Edwin Encarnacion, Yasmani Grandal and their coveted prospect, Luis Robert. The addition of those three guys now propels the White Sox to the second-best projected offense in the AL Central.

Aaron Civale had an interesting first season in the show. He posted a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts, but his xFIP was all the way up to 4.61, indicating he was pretty lucky in 2019. He’s mainly a sinker ball guy, with a nasty wipe-out slider. His slider was so good that opponents recorded just two hits off it in 124 pitches last season. But Civale doesn’t project out very well this season, with an ERA and FIP well over 4.

The top of Indians lineup is one of the best in the American League, but it drops off once you get past the five hole. If the Indians are going to win the AL Central, the bottom of their lineup will have to outproduce their projections.

With two below-average starting pitchers going up against two above-average offenses, this game is the perfect recipe for a lot of runs. Since I have 10.94 runs projected for this game, I am going to back Over 9.5 runs.

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