MLB Odds, Picks & Best Bets: Our Top 5 Plays for Monday, Featuring Giants vs. Diamondbacks & Pirates vs. Cubs (July 25)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Belt.
- Monday's MLB slate features 12 games, but there's plenty of betting value across the board.
- Our staff came through with five best bets for Monday, including Giants vs. Diamondbacks, Cubs vs. Pirates, Guardians vs. Red Sox and Phillies vs. Braves.
- Check out all five of our best MLB bets for Monday below.
Monday’s MLB slate isn’t as large as it is most days, but there are still 12 games on the docket and plenty of betting value across the board.
From moneyline and run-line bets to first five inning totals and sides, our staff found value on five bets for four games on Monday: Braves vs. Phillies, Guardians vs. Red Sox, Pirates vs. Cubs and Giants vs. Diamondbacks.
Check out all five of our best bets below, and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more action.
MLB Odds & Picks
Braves vs. Phillies
Jules Posner: The Braves travel to Philadelphia to open a pivotal three-game series against the Phillies. While there’s already a fair amount of distance between the two teams in the NL East, this could be an excellent opportunity for the Braves to bury the Phillies for good.
Max Fried takes the mound for the Braves, and he’s been utterly dominant on the road this season. So far, he’s posted a 2.51 ERA, 2.02 FIP and 2.92 xFIP. The Phillies offense has fared relatively well against left-handed pitching at home, but Fried is not an average lefty. He’s particularly good away from Atlanta.
Ranger Suarez gets the ball for the Phillies, and he’s been awful at home this season. He’s posted a 5.15 ERA, 4.37 FIP and 4.41 xFIP, which leads me to believe that Alec Bohm may not be the only Phil muttering that he “hates this place” to himself.
The Braves offense has been dominant against LHPs on the road this season, posting a 129 team wRC+ to rank second in MLB. They’ve also been hot lately, posting a 133 wRC+ against lefties on the road over past month.
The Braves’ run line opened at +105 and has already dropped to -110 overnight. Play this to -120 or better. If it moves to -2.5 and back to plus money, I say go for it.
Guardians vs. Red Sox
Tony Sartori: We have the first matchup of this four-game series, as the AL East‘s Boston Red Sox host the AL Central‘s Cleveland Guardians. Cleveland has won eight of its last 13 games (62%), while Boston has lost 10 of its last 13 games (77%).
I expect both of these trends to continue as right-hander Nick Pivetta takes the mound for Boston. Pivetta owns an 8-7 record with a 4.50 ERA and 1.26 WHIP through 19 starts this season.
Pivetta has been in particularly poor form recently. Over his last three starts, he’s gone 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA and 2.29 WHIP.
Following Pivetta is one of the weaker bullpens in baseball. Since June 1, Boston’s relief pitching ranks just 28th in ERA, 18th in BA and 19th in wOBA.
This pitching staff may not receive much run support in this game either, as the Red Sox have struggled at the plate recently. Over their last 10 contests, the Red Sox are averaging just three runs scored and three extra-base hits per game.
I believe we’re getting a lot of value on Cleveland in this game due to some recognition bias, as the Red Sox are one of the most popular teams in the league. This is evidenced with the fact that 60% of the tickets and 72% of the handle has landed wagered on Boston despite its awful form recently.
Until they turn it around, the Red Sox will continue to be fade-worthy. I would play this line up to -120.
Pirates vs. Cubs
Charlie DiSturco: I’m not one to shy away from my affinity for JT Brubaker, and with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field on Monday night, it’s a perfect spot to back an under.
Brubaker enters fresh off his best outing of the season, a seven-inning shutout of the Miami Marlins. After a rocky start to the year, Brubaker has regressed to normal, as expected indicators now sit around his current ERA of 4.02.
While his walk rate is up in 2022, he has improved in nearly every other area. His hard-hit rate has dipped, he’s been barreled less and opponents have mustered just a .230 xBA against the right-hander.
Opposite him stands Adrian Sampson, who has been a bright spot since joining the Cubs’ rotation in June. While he doesn’t strike many batters out, command isn’t an issue for the right-hander.
Sampson pitches to contact, and it’s worked thus far. Opponents have a .243 xBA against him, and he ranks in the top 25% of all pitchers in both hard-hit and barrel rate. His xERA (3.69) sits right around his actual ERA (3.34), too.
I think Monday night is a perfect opportunity to back both of these pitchers in what should be a relatively quiet game. The wind is blowing in, and both Sampson and Brubaker generate ground balls over 40% of the time.
I don’t trust either bullpen in this matchup either, as both rank inside the bottom 10 in ERA. So instead of the full-game under, I’m eyeing the first five under of 4.5 runs.
I’ll continue to bang the drum for Brubaker, and I don’t see Pittsburgh’s anemic offense generating much against Sampson, either. Give me a low-scoring start to the game.
Pirates vs. Cubs
Sean Zerillo: I have bet on the Cubs a lot in recent weeks and expect to keep betting on them frequently in the second half. Chicago has a league-average offense (15th in wRC+) and a top-five bullpen (4th in xFIP, 5th in K-BB%).
It also has several effective starting pitchers, including Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele and Monday’s starter, Adrian Sampson.
Preseason projections weren’t kind to Sampson (projected FIP range 5.04-5.11); granted, he has a career 4.89 ERA and 5.04 xFIP in 220 MLB innings. Still, the 30-year-old world-traveler, who spent time in the KBO, has modified his pitch mix this season, exchanging four-seam fastballs for sinkers.
In turn, Sampson’s hard-hit rate (41.3% career) has dropped substantially (26%), and batted-ball data placed his expected ERA or xERA at 3.69 (4.47 xFIP, 4.42 SIERA).
Although I’m high on JT Brubaker — who I often find myself betting on — I view the starting pitching in this matchup as a wash and give the Cubs a significant advantage both on offense (Pittsburgh 28th in wrC+) and in the bullpen (Pittsburgh 25th and 26th per xFIP and K-BB%.)
I projected the Cubs as 62.3% favorites (-165 implied) for the first five innings on Monday, and I’m happy to bet that line up to -152 (60.3% implied), at a 2% edge compared to my projection.
Since I like both starting pitchers, you can also play the F5 Under 4.5 (to -120), compared to my projection closer to 4. And you can bet the Cubs’ full game moneyline up to -143.
Giants vs. Diamondbacks
Kenny Ducey: I think this has gotten a little out of hand. Sure, the Giants may not have that even year magic this season and were unable to take a game from the Dodgers this weekend, but this price is a little insane.
The Giants have figured out how to get good innings out of Jakob Junis this season. The former Royals hurler has pitched to a career-best 47.6% ground-ball rate thus far, seeing his expected batting average dip to .250 and his ERA to 3.06. He’s been better in every category across the board, junkballing his way to four wins.
The Diamondbacks have been a very average offense at best, coming in ranked 14th in wRC+ over the last two weeks and sporting a high 43.6% ground-ball rate for the season. Junis should be able to take care of his end well enough.
Then, there’s Tyler Gilbert, a left-hander who has been a disaster in 2022. He’s hardly struck anyone out, and his 5.34 ERA is no fluke considering his .298 xBA and .432 xwOBA on contact — both of which are in the bottom 10% of the league.
San Francisco ranks eighth in wRC+ to lefties and should get the job done here. The Giants are being slighted a bit by this line.