MLB Odds & Best Bets: 3 Picks, Including Tigers vs. Rangers & Dodgers vs. Giants (Monday, July 19)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images. Pictured: Darin Ruf.
- Why would two of our MLB analysts be betting against the Dodgers on Monday?
- Find out below in our staff's best bets, which also includes a pick on Rangers-Tigers.
A new week of the season is upon us with a number of new matchups getting started, including the always exciting NL West rivalry clash between the Giants and Dodgers.
Two of our analysts are on that game, while another went with a sneaky-good pitching matchup in Detroit as Kyle Gibson and the Rangers battle Casey Mize and the Tigers.
Here are our staff’s three best bets from Monday’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Rangers vs. Tigers
Collin Whitchurch: This is a rematch of a pitching matchup we saw right before the All-Star break on July 7, with the Tigers prevailing 5-3 in what was neither Kyle Gibson’s nor Casey Mize’s most impressive outing of the season.
Mize lasted just four innings and gave up a pair of home runs, while most of the scoring against Gibson came when he was left in for the seventh inning, gave up a pair of hits and a walk, and then saw the bullpen allow all of his inherited runners to score.
This is still a solid pitching matchup though, and since I don’t have faith in either bullpen, I’m going to stick with the first five innings total in Detroit. This might be Gibson’s last start as a Ranger, and he continues his improbable run toward the Cy Young conversation with no real signs of turning back into a pumpkin, while Mize has somewhat quietly put together a solid sophomore campaign despite missing not nearly as many bats as the Tigers likely envisioned when they made him the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.
Either way, these are two of the weaker offenses in baseball, ranking 22nd (Detroit) and 24th (Texas) in the majors by wRC+. The Tigers are all the way down in 27th at home, while Texas is 21st on the road.
I just simply don’t see either offense getting to Mize or Gibson through the first five innings. On July 7, this total would have pushed, so I think there’s great value at under four against at plus money. I would bet it down to -105.
Giants vs. Dodgers
Brad Cunningham: Kevin Gausman has been excellent through 18 starts this season. He’s posted a 2.35 xERA and 3.32 xFIP, which are two of the best marks in baseball. His control has been impeccable, as his K/9 is over 10, his BB/9 rate is under 2.5, his HR/9 rate is under 0.70, and his WHIP is an incredible 0.82.
Now what is the reason for his success? His split finger is one of the best pitches in all of baseball. It’s allowed only a .142 wOBA, has a 50.1% whiff rate, and has accumulated 95 strikeouts, while also only allowing 20 hits total.
Tony Gonsolin has been fine this season, but has only pitched 25 1/3 innings. He mainly goes to his fastball (45.6% thrown in 2021), but it has average velocity (93.4 mph) without a lot of movement, which has allowed opposing hitters to tag it for a .397 wOBA.
The Giants’ offense has been crushing right-handed pitching in general, as they are top five in wOBA and wRC+ and they have also been absolutely crushing fastballs, as they are the second in the league with a +43.8 run value against fastballs.
I have the Giants projected at -136 for the first five innings, so I think there is plenty of value on them at +100 and would play it to -115.
Giants vs. Dodgers
Kenny Ducey: I’ve never been one to bet with injuries in mind, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t extra-concerned about the Dodgers on Monday with Gavin Lux now sidelined with a hamstring injury and Mookie Betts dealing with a hip issue.
You need close to full strength if you’re going to bother Kevin Gausman. The righty’s 1.73 ERA isn’t very fluke-y at all considering his elite peripherals — a 2.79 xERA which ranks in the top 9% of baseball, a .337 xwOBA on contact and an impressive 30.5% strikeout rate. The only way through Gausman has been with walks — he has issued a free pass to 6.9% of batters he’s faced, and that would generally be an issue when facing a team as elite in that department as the Dodgers.
Well, that hasn’t necessarily been true lately. The Dodgers are only walking 8.5% of the time over the last two weeks, a far cry from their 10.7% mark for the season, which ranks second in baseball. I don’t know if they’ll have much joy in facing Gausman — who doesn’t give up a ton of rockets — with the bases relatively empty.
Los Angeles has won five of seven, but those wins have come against the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Marlins. This will be one of their toughest tests to date, and against a Giants offense that is nearly as hot, but has a little more ground to stand on with some quality wins, I think they will fall.
It should be added that Tony Gonsolin has walked almost 14% of the hitters he’s faced, and the Giants have actually done the opposite of the Dodgers over that 14-day span and walked at a 10.3% rate. SF should be able to hit LA where it hurts.
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