MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 3 Monday Bets for Reds vs. Cubs & White Sox vs. Royals (July 26)
John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Abreu
- A new MLB week is upon us, with nine games scheduled including a Mets-Braves doubleheader.
- Our analysts have found angles on three games with three betting picks.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets from Monday's MLB slate.
Welcome to Trade Deadline Week in Major League Baseball. By the end of the week, many players will have changed teams and the uneven postseason landscape could change as contenders gear up for the pennant race.
While we wait on the big moves to happen, our MLB analysts have their eyes on a number of games, including the two Chicago teams in divisional battles.
Here are our best bets from Monday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Reds vs. Cubs
Kenny Ducey: As they fade into oblivion and actively shop their biggest stars, things have continued to trend down for the Cubs’ offense. Over the last two weeks, Chicago owns just an 89 wRC+, ranking in the bottom five of baseball as a firmly below-average group. Strikeouts continue to be a huge issue for the Cubs; the walks have dissipated, and the a .176 ISO isn’t nearly enough to make up for sporadic hitting.
The opposite can be said of Kyle Hendricks, who is in the midst of turning his disappointing season around. Aside from a tough start in late June against the Brewers, the righty has been excellent at limiting the damage and, for the most part, has returned to walking just a handful of hitters.
Hendricks is successfully pitching to contact now, bringing his hard-hit rate down close to his career average and firmly below league average. He’s done it against some quality lineups too, like the Cardinals, Giants, Padres and these Cincinnati Reds.
A good hurler and a poor lineup gives me a ton of confidence in the Cubs to help keep the game under, and I think with the 21st-ranked offense over the past two weeks and Wade Miley, the Reds possess the same here. We should be in for a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel.
Reds vs. Cubs
Brad Cunningham: Wade Miley, somehow at age 34, is having the best season of his career, posting a 3.76 xERA and 3.74 xFIP. The reason for his improvement is because he’s lowered his BB/9 considerably from 5.65 in 2020 to 2.45 this season. He also isn’t allowing a lot of hard contact. His average exit velocity allowed is in the 96th percentile and his hit hard % allowed is only at 25.6%. The Cubs are pretty average against left-handed pitching, as they have the 14th best wOBA.
Kyle Hendricks has really fallen off a cliff this year. His xERA (4.69) and xFIP (4.46) are both over 4 for the first time in his career. His biggest issue is that he’s giving up way too many home runs and way too much hard contact. His HR/9 rate is up at 1.53, which is a career high and his hard hit % allowed is at 34.4%, which is also a career high. Tonight, he’s facing one of the best right-handed hitting teams in baseball as the Reds are top five in wOBA and have hit the fourth-most HRs against righties.
The Reds have also had success against Hendricks’ main two pitches of sinker and changeup, with a +8.5 run value against sinkers and a +10.7 run value against changeups.
White Sox vs. Royals
Tanner McGrath: I’ve been bearish on Dallas Keuchel all season, even as he continues to produce much-needed innings for the back-half of the White Sox rotation.
However, his softball approach is just not cutting it this year. His strikeout rate is down (14.6%) while his walk rate is up (7.5%) and he’s allowing the highest expected batting average of his career (.292).
That sinker that has been so productive in the past is getting mashed this season. He’s allowing a .288 BA and a .508 SLG on his most-used pitch this season, adding up to a .383 wOBA.
Enter a Royals lineup that A) has produced a .333 wOBA and a 109 wRC+ against southpaws over the last 30 days and B) leads MLB in weighted sinker runs created (7.6). Keuchel is in for a long day.
Plus, it’s always enticing to see five Action PRO signals on the same side of a matchup. Royals ML in this spot has produced all five, including Sharp Money (18% of bets, 30% of money) and Model Projections (+107 listed line, -113 PRO line).