MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 4 Best Bets for Thursday, Including Brewers vs. Braves & Astros vs. Giants (July 30)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Framber Valdez.
- Our team of betting analysts have targeted three games on Friday night for their four best bets.
- The Brewers open a series vs. the Braves, while the Mariners face the Rangers and Astros take on San Francisco.
- Check out their picks and matchup breakdowns below.
After the dust settles on the MLB trade deadline, there is still baseball to be played on Friday night.
After all the big names are traded and prospects moved around, our team of MLB betting analysts have identified four best bets in three games on Friday night, all including teams that are in the thick of a postseason push.
The Brewers open a three-game series in Atlanta, while Seattle looks to continue its improbable run toward a wild-card spot in Arlington. Lastly, two strong starters take the mound in the Bay Area when the Astros face the Giants.
MLB Odds & Picks
Brewers vs. Braves
Brad Cunningham: Corbin Burnes has been one of the best pitchers in baseball that nobody is talking about.
Through 17 starts and over 100 innings pitched, he has an xERA at 1.82, has a K/9 rate at 12.88, a BB/9 rate at 1.59, and a HR/9 rate at 0.26. The reason Burnes has been so good this season is because he’s been dominating with his two main off-speed pitches of curveball and slider. Both are allowing an xwOBA under .165 and have a whiff rate over 47%. In fact, both have allowed a combined 11 hits this season.
Touki Toussaint may have pitched well in his first two starts of 2021, but he has a xFIP for his career at 4.72 and had issues with his control throughout his entire career, since his BB/9 rate in the majors is at 5.38. He’s been relying on his sinker way more often in 2021 than he ever has, which will be a bad matchup against this Brewers lineup, since they have a +6 run value against them.
Brewers vs. Braves
Sean Zerillo: Corbin Burnes has had a pretty ridiculous season. So much so that he’s the only pitcher whose expected indicators (1.82 xERA, 2.18 xFIP, 2.43 SIERA) come close to Jacob deGrom (1.57 xERA, 1.62 xFIP, 1.72 SIERA).
Even after a hot start to the year, Burnes has sustained his elite level throughout the entire season, pitching to a 1.53 FIP over the past two months (eight starts), with the second-best K-BB% (26.9%) over that period.
The righty throws his cutter 52.7% of the time this season, more often than any starter in baseball and an increase of 21.3% year over year. It’s also the hardest cutter in baseball by 2.5 mph (95.3 mph, vs. Nathan Eovaldi at 92.8 mph). Burnes’ cutter has netted more total value (+16.1 pitch value) than any other individual pitch in baseball, and it ranks fifth amongst cutters on a per-pitch basis.
Moreover, Burnes features an above-average slider (seventh on a per-pitch value basis) and curveball (sixth) as complimentary offerings.
Touki Toussaint has pitched very well in limited action for the Braves (13.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 15 K) and may finally be fulfilling his vast potential. Still, his velocity (average 92.6 mph) is down more than a tick relative to last season, and he hasn’t made any drastic changes to his pitch mix in his two recent outings.
As a result, it’s hard to project Toussaint as a significantly better pitcher than the market projections (FIP range of 4.25 to 4.49). At that level, the Brewers offer a substantial amount of value on Friday night.
I projected Burnes and the Brewers as a 67.4% favorite for the first five innings (F5) on Friday, and I would bet their F5 moneyline up to -180.
Furthermore, I projected their full game moneyline at 61.3% and would consider playing that line to -145; however, I show a much more significant edge on the Brewers F5 moneyline, and that’s where I’m allocating my entire bet on this matchup.
Mariners vs. Rangers
Collin Whitchurch: Logan Gilbert has had a really solid rookie season for Seattle. His 3.81 ERA is backed up by a 3.58 xERA and 2.95 FIP. He’s striking out nearly 11 batters per nine innings and walking only two, which is extremely impressive for someone with only 12 MLB starts under his belt.
Kolby Allard was once a top prospect but has had a miserable start to his career. After a decent start to the season, he’s fallen on hard times of late and pitching more to his career norms. In his last three starts, Allard has allowed 16 runs in just 15 1/3 innings and allowed a whopping six home runs.
The Mariners are coming off two tough losses to the rival Astros but are still in the thick of the playoff hunt, while the Rangers are selling and will likely see some players removed from the roster between the time of this writing and the start of the game.
Even in Arlington, Seattle is the superior team with the superior starting pitcher, and I think they should be favored by more than the current line. I’ve seen some -125 out there but -130 is the most commonly found line as of Friday around noon ET, and I would bet the Mariners’ moneyline down to that number.
Astros vs. Giants
Mike Ianniello: Kevin Gausman has been one of the best pitchers in the league this season, sitting with a 9-4 record and 2.21 ERA. But Framber Valdez isn’t far behind him. The Astros’ lefty is 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA on the year.
Valdez started the season on the injured list but has already made a career-high 11 starts. His curveball has been nearly unhittable this season, allowing just a .089 batting average with a 46.1% strikeout rate. He has 47 strikeouts with his breaking ball and has allowed just eight hits.
Offensively, both of these teams have been excellent. Houston leads the league in wOBA and wRC+ this season. They have scored the most runs and have the best team batting average.
San Francisco has been good as well, ranking fifth in wOBA and sixth in wRC+. However, the Giants are significantly better against right-handed pitchers. Against Southpaw’s like Valdez, they rank 15th in wOBA and 13th in wRC+.
I think this game is pretty much a coin flip. In my opinion Houston has a larger advantage on offense than San Francisco has in starting pitching in this matchup so at +114, I will back the Astros and would play them at +105 or better.