MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets From Friday’s Slate, Including Reds vs. Cardinals, Brewers vs. Giants (July 15)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Rowdy Tellez
- There's 14 games of MLB action tonight and our analysts have bets on five of them.
- These include Royals-Blue Jays after Kansas City pulled off a huge upset on Thursday, as well as another AL Central battle between the White Sox and Twins.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of all of our best bets from Friday night's MLB slate.
Day baseball was canceled on Friday, as our one afternoon game between the Mets and Cubs was postponed because of rain.
Still, there are 14 other games taking place tonight, and plenty of opportunities to find betting value. Our analysts are on five games from the slate with a myriad of options.
Here are our five best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Royals vs. Blue Jays
Jules Posner: After getting stunned by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays look to bounce back on Friday night. The Jays are 3-7 in their last 10 games and they are taking on a Royals team that is 7-3 over their last ten. However, the Jays have their ace, Alek Manoah, on the hill and they hope he can help them change course.
Manoah has been dominant at home this season. He has a 2.21 ERA, 2.69 FIP and a 3.73 xFIP over 53 home innings, and following two road starts where he didn’t have his best stuff, Manoah is probably looking forward to some home cooking. I think poutine is what they eat up there. Gravy fries.
Speaking of gravy, the Jays’ offense gets to face Zack Greinke and he has been horrific on the road this season. He has a 7.46 ERA, a 6.02 FIP and a 5.10 xFIP in 35 road innings this season. He’s also facing a right-handed heavy Jays line up and Greinke has been getting crushed by right handed hitters on the road this season to the tune of a .337/.364/.620 slash line.
Additionally, the Royals pen is among the worst in the league and Thursday night could be the wake up call the Jays needed to turn things around.
The Royals have quietly been one of the better road offenses against RHP this season, but Julesyboy labs (my cat, Duane, our intern who is a kitten, Josie, and myself), favor Manoah to be able to suppress the Royals offense tonight.
Most books have the Jays’ run line at -1.5 in the -160 range, and while -2.5 is a risky play, it’s at -105, which is a great value. The public seems a little sheepish on the Jays after Thursday night’s loss, but take the value while it’s there and play it as long as it hovers around even odds.
Tigers vs. Guardians
Tony Sartori: This game is the 11th meeting between these two teams this season and there have been eight or fewer total runs scored in seven of the first 10 matchups (70%).
I expect this trend to continue in this matchup as we have two starting pitchers who are entering this game in good form. For Detroit, right-hander Drew Hutchison is slated to take the mound.
Through 14 pitching appearances this season, Hutchison is 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. While those numbers are not particularly impressive, he has been much better since joining the starting rotation.
Over his four starts, Hutchison possesses a 3.66 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. One of those starts came against Cleveland, which was a tremendous outing as Hutchison allowed just one earned run on five hits in five innings.
On the other side, we have right-hander Zach Plesac slated to take the mound for Cleveland. Through 16 starts this season, Plesac is 2-7 with a 3.99 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
In his one start against Detroit this season, Plesac allowed just two earned runs on six hits in six innings. Like Hutchison, Plesac has been in great form recently as he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his last eight starts.
These two pitchers also have the advantage of facing two lineups that have not been anything special recently. Since June 1st, both teams fail to crack the top-12 in the league in SLG, OPS or wOBA.
There have now been eight or fewer total runs scored in eight of Detroit’s last 13 games (62%) and in 10 of Cleveland’s last 14 (71%).
I would play this line up to -120.
White Sox vs. Twins
DJ James: Michael Kopech seems like he might be going through a period of “dead arm” for the Chicago White Sox, although he still has a nasty arsenal and will be the better pitcher on the hill between the two starters, when facing Devin Smeltzer and the Minnesota Twins.
Kopech, who usually had been an accurate arm, has struggled with location, which has led to some runs lately. In his two July starts, he owns a 7.20 ERA. That said, his xERA overall is better than Smeltzer’s: 3.95 vs. 4.66. Smeltzer has come back to earth a bit from a strong start to the season. He owns a 9.64 ERA over two starts in July.
All that aside, the angle here is the White Sox on the team total. They may own a 101 wRC+ off of lefties in the last month, but this is not in line with how the majority of the lineup will usually fare against southpaws.
In that same timeframe, the Sox have seven batters over the .330 xwOBA mark off of lefties. This is more than enough to get through to a struggling Smeltzer. Minnesota also has their weak spots in the bullpen, where Chicago can tack more runs on with a 3.95 xFIP in the past month.
Take the White Sox over 4 (-110) to 5 (-125).
Reds vs. Cardinals
Charlie DiSturco: Fresh off a series win against the daunted New YorkYankees, the Cincinnati Reds open up a three-game series on the road in St. Louis.
Hunter Greene has been Jekyll & Hyde all season long, but I think this is the perfect spot to back the 22-year-old rookie. While his ERA sits at 5.70, expected indicators sit in the low 4s, showing he’s been unfortunate in the opening months of the season.
Greene has an elite strikeout rate around 30 percent and is in the top third of all pitchers in xBA. There’s no denying the potential Greene possesses, it’s just a matter of when that shows.
His biggest issue has been preventing the long ball, where he has a 20 percent HR/FB ratio and is barreled over 10 percent of the time. But when he’s on and that fireball heater is working, there’s not much the opposition can do.
Opposite him is Andre Pallante, a pitcher I’m looking to fade over his next few starts. While he ranks in the top two percent in barrel rate, Pallante has a 45.3 percent hard-hit rate. He also ranks in the bottom 10 percent in strikeout rate, relying on contact and the St. Louis defense to escape jams.
While limiting barrels, opponents have a .282 xBA against the right-hander. Pallante has also stranded an unsustainable 84.3 percent of baserunners given his alarming advanced metrics.
Tack on the fact that the Reds bats are heating up — they’re top 10 in wRC+ and wOBA over the last week — and I think this is the perfect spot to back the Reds over the first five run line. While I don’t trust the Reds bullpen, Greene should win this battle of rookie right-handers.
Cincinnati has advantage on the mound and with St. Louis bats slumping, the Reds should continue to roll on Friday night.
Brewers vs. Giants
Kenny Ducey: On the surface, it hasn’t exactly been the best season for Alex Wood. He owns a 4.43 ERA, a lower strikeout rate than he had last year by about 3% and a relatively high .384 xwOBA on contact.
One thing Wood has done well, though, is limit walks — issuing a free pass to just 5.9% of hitters — and his strikeout rate still sits above average. Because of this, his expected ERA is a pretty unassuming 3.63, and I think he will see some of that positive regression he’s been searching for on Friday night.
The Brewers are ranked 22nd in wRC+ to left-handed pitching with a high 23.7% strikeout rate and haven’t exactly torn the cover off the ball against anyone all season. That’s been especially true over the last week, where Milwaukee owns a 101 wRC+.
The Giants have performed considerably better at the dish with a 131 wRC+ during the same time, but Brandon Woodruff and his bat-missing ways will stand in their way here, considering San Francisco has had some serious struggles with striking out this week and all season (23.1%).
I don’t really love this spot for either offense and think we get some value in the total here.
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