MLB Expert Predictions for Monday: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets, Including Astros vs. Angels

Credit:

Rick Ostenski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Griffin Canning

  • MLB begins its first full week after the All-Star break with 11 games.
  • Our experts detail their favorite bets of the day, including an intriguing pitching matchup in Astros vs. Angels (10:07 p.m. ET).

Collin Wilson: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

Lucas Giolito (11-3, 3.15 ERA) vs. Jakob Junis (4-8, 5.33 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -121
  • Home Moneyline: +110
  • Over/Under: 9
  • First pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET

To the blind eye, this price may be a little short. Giolito has ben superb this season, with a WAR of 3.1 and a K:9 rate of 10.8.

The White Sox ace struck out 11 Royals over 7.2 inning in Kauffman Stadium back on June 8, a 2-0 victory over Brad Keller. While this would be a great basis for an under or White Sox betting ticket, it is the Southsiders’ sticks that need inspection.

Jakob Junis will face a White Sox offense that has the highest strikeout rate against right handers since May 1. That number becomes even more glaring as the White Sox are dead last in walk percentage against righties in the same time frame.

Junis has not lost his ability to strike batters out, but has given up plenty more home runs than 2018. The White Sox are 27th in fly ball percentage and third in ground ball percentage against right handers. This all sets up to be Junis’s best outing of the season.

The PICK: Royals +110

Evan Abrams: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels

Josh James (4-0, 4.91 ERA) vs. Griffin Canning (3-5, 4.43 ERA)

  • Astros Moneyline: -122
  • Angels Moneyline: +112
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 10:07 p.m. ET

The Astros have decided to go with relief pitcher Josh James as a “Opener” against the Angels, so Houston is able to rest and reset its rotation going forward. Manager A.J. Hinch is planning on bringing in Framber Valdez against the bottom half of the lineup after James (hopefully for Hinch) gets through the top-half of the lineup.

James has never opened before and this season he has a 4.91 ERA in 47.2 innings, but opponents are hitting just .192 BA against him. When looking at Valdez, he has a 5.28 ERA this season, including allowing 15 earned runs in 7 innings pitched in his last three starts, which may be the real opportunity here for bettors.

On the flip side, Griffin Canning has been a completely different starter when looking at his home/away splits. He has a 3.41 ERA at home, including a 35-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, compared to a 5.58 ERA with opponents hitting 50 points higher against him on the road.

The Angels are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Mariners and are home dogs against the Astros without one of their aces the mound — I will be on the Angels.

The PICK: Angels (+112)

Sean Zerillo: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels

Josh James(4-0, 4.91 ERA) vs. Griffin Canning (3-5, 4.43 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -121
  • Home Moneyline: +110
  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First pitch: 10:07 p.m. ET

This total opened at 10 and was quickly bet down to 9.5 across the market.

I projected the total at 8.1 runs, and see upside in two young pitchers who each have one clear weakness to address.

Josh James will open for the Astros — you might remember him from the 2018 playoffs, dominating in relief with his 100 mph fastball and wicked secondary stuff:

The young righty recently made an adjustment to his delivery, and that has helped to alleviate some command issues. James has 76 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched (14.35 K/9) this season, but that has also come alongside 30 walks (5.66 BB/9).

If he can harness his command, James has star potential.

Angels rookie Griffin Canning has shown excellent command of the strike zone through 12 MLB starts (9.55 K/9, 2.35 BB/9) but he has also allowed 13 home runs in just 65 innings pitched (1.80 HR/9) on a 15% HR/FB rate.

Canning’s home run rate should regress, but he’s also going to need to increase his groundball to flyball ratio to survive the launch angle onslaught at the big league level.

The PICK: Under 9.5

John Ewing: Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers

Max Fried (9-4, 4.29 ERA) vs. Adrian Houser (2-3, 4.01 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: -104
  • Home Moneyline: -106
  • Over/Under: 10
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

When betting strikeout props, it is advantageous to wager against teams that swing and miss a lot. The Brewers are one such squad. Milwaukee has whiffed 899 times this season, fourth most in baseball and have the sixth highest K% (24.5%).

Today they face a young lefty in Max Fried, who has had success at fanning opposing batters. In his past six starts for the Braves, Fried has racked up six or more strikeouts in five games.

Oddsmakers have posted Fried’s over/under for strikeouts at 5.5. The Action Network’s prop tool projects him to have 8.2 Ks on average. The 2.8 difference between projected strikeouts and the betting line is the largest on Monday’s slate, making Fried’s over appealing.

The PICK: Over 5.5 Ks for Fried

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