MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Saturday: 2 Best Bets, Including Phillies vs. Pirates & Tigers vs. Orioles (July 31)
David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Manning
Now that the dust has settled after the MLB Trade Deadline, teams will shift their focus to the stretch run.
Our baseball betting analysts have found value on a pair of games on Saturday night, including a cross-state showdown between the Pirates and Phillies.
Check out our favorite MLB bets for Saturday, July 31 below:
MLB Odds & Picks
Orioles vs. Tigers
Tanner McGrath: I’m not ready to write off either of these starting pitchers yet.
While John Means is coming off the IL, we all know what he can do when he’s healthy. At one point, Means had the sixth-best odds to win the AL Cy Young.
Means has had two poor starts in a row, allowing a total of nine earned runs over 11 2/3 innings to the Nationals and Rays. He’ll have a tough test today, as the Tigers rank third in wRC+ against LHPs over the past 30 days (136), but I still think the market is undervaluing him a tad.
Meanwhile, Rookie arm Matt Manning has tossed five quality starts in his seven outings. If it weren’t for June 28 against Cleveland (9 ER in 3 2/3 innings) and July 26 against Minnesota (4 ER in 5 innings), Manning’s ERA would be closer to sub-3.00 than sub-6.00.
Today, Manning gets a Baltimore offense that ranks just 25th in wRC+ over the last 30 days (93) and posted just a .647 OPS on the road in July. I like the young righty to put together a quality start here.
I think the market is undervaluing both these starters in this spot. DraftKings currently has the first five innings total set at 5, which is a tad too high and presents value on the under.
Phillies vs. Pirates
Sean Zerillo: This week, the Pirates got a lot worse after trading away a pair of name-brand players in Adam Frazier and Richard Rodriguez.
However, they still feature Bryan Reynolds (3+ WAR in two of three MLB seasons), future All-Star Ke'Bryan Hayes, a red-hot John Nogowski (134 wRC+ in July), and the underrated Jacob Stallings (1.7 WAR) in their lineup. The Pirates' offense has been hot of late, putting up a 105 wRC+ in July (13th in MLB over that span), compared to a mark of 85 for the season (28th).
J.T. Brubaker is arguably the Pirates' most effective starting pitcher (4.46 xERA, 3.85 xFIP, 3.81 SIERA), and he'll take the ball on Saturday against the Phillies Aaron Nola (3.77 xERA, 3.41 xFIP, 3.30 SIERA).
Now, you don't need to know a ton about sports betting to understand why a cellar dweller like the Pirates may not draw a ton of betting action against a team in the playoff hunt with their Ace on the mound.
That said, while I make the Phillies a solid road favorite on Saturday night (57% for the first five innings (F5) and 54.5% for the whole game), I think the line is a bit inflated. Bet Pittsburgh down to +145 on the F5 moneyline and +135 for the full game.
My model projection has these two bullpens rated about the same for Saturday, so if Brubaker can keep it close against Nola, the Pirates have a decent chance to pull an upset.