MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets From Saturday’s Afternoon Slate, Including Mariners vs. A’s, Angels vs. Astros (July 2)
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: José Urquidy.
It’s a holiday weekend, which means it’s the perfect time to sit back and bet on some afternoon baseball. There are a number of day games on Saturday and our analysts have found some betting value.
We’ve targeted an over, an under and an underdog to get your weekend started.
Here’s a look at our best bets from the Saturday afternoon slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays
DJ James: The Toronto Blue Jays are hosting the Tampa Bays Rays in a Saturday doubleheader. Kevin Gausman will go for the Blue Jays against Shane McClanahan of the Rays in Game 1.
McClanahan is elite, but the Blue Jays crush lefties. Toronto has a 163 wRC+ off of southpaws in the past month. Meanwhile, the Rays have struggled to hit righties lately, but did manage to tag Gausman for three earned runs in seven innings (four runs total) back in May. In the month of June, Gausman had a 3.96 ERA and two of his four starts were below expectations. Since the Rays have seen his arsenal, they should be able to push across some runs.
Additionally, both of these bullpens are depleted. The Rays have a pair of pitchers on the restricted list and only have two active relievers with a sub-4.00 xFIP over the past month. The Blue Jays are in a similar spot as the Toronto relievers own a 4.26 xFIP over the past month and Trent Thornton is the ONLY Blue Jays reliever with a sub-4.00 xFIP in that span. With both bullpens depleted, a doubleheader is the last thing either of these teams need. Expect consistent scoring throughout both games and take the over at plus money in Game 1 and bet it up to 8 (-110). If you really want to dive in on this matchup, you can take the over in Game 2 as well.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Houston Astros
Tony Sartori: We have the second matchup of this three-game AL West intradivisional series as the Houston Astros host the Los Angeles Angels. Despite a lot of firepower in each lineup, I am looking at the under.
Right-hander Jose Urquidy is slated to take the mound for Houston and could be a great guy to buy low on at this point in the season. Through 14 starts, Urquidy possesses a 4.36 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
However, Urquidy has looked dominant in each of his past two starts against two powerful offenses. Against the Yankees, Urquidy allowed just one run on one hit through seven innings. Against the Mets, Urquidy had a similar stat line as he allowed just one run on four hits through six innings. In his one start against the Angels this season, Urquidy allowed just one run on four hits through five innings with the total only reaching five in that contest.
Through 40 career plate appearances against Urquidy, this current Angels lineup possesses a mere .237 BA, .368 SLG and a .278 wOBA. Following Urquidy is one of the league’s best bullpens. Since June 1st, the Astros’ relief pitching ranks 10th in the league in ERA, fourth in BA, second in SLG and eighth in wOBA.
On the other side of this matchup, we’ve got left-hander Patrick Sandoval slated to take the mound for the Angels. Through 12 starts this season, Sandoval is 3-2 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Sandoval has been in particularly great form of late as he has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his past seven starts. Sandoval’s metrics suggest regression should not be looming anytime soon as he boasts a .328 xwOBA, .259 xBA and a .401 xSLG.
In his one start against Houston this season, Sandoval threw four scoreless innings. Based on Urquidy’s surface-level numbers this season and the fact that each of these teams possess some of the best hitters in baseball while these two starters are not household names, I expect the public to be on the over. It will be fascinating to see what the line movement will be overnight, but as long as the total stays at 8.5 (or higher) I think the under is the right play. I would play this up to (-125).
Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics
DJ James: Paul Blackburn has been one of the lone bright spots in the Oakland Athletics’ season. He will throw against George Kirby of the Seattle Mariners. This is one of these hold-your-nose bets, but Blackburn does own a 3.12 ERA against a 3.85 xERA. This says he has been a little lucky, but he has still been solid.
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Outside of walk rate, Kirby has not displayed much at the MLB level. He has brutal peripherals. He ranks in the 12th percentile of Average Exit Velocity and the 25th percentile in Hard-Hit Percentage. Oakland does not necessarily crush the ball, but they have six active batters with a xwOBA over .325 off of righties in the past month. This should be more than enough to work the count and find a good pitch against Kirby, especially with their ace at the helm.
One issue is Oakland’s bullpen ranks second-to-last in xFIP in the past month. They have four arms under a 4.00 xFIP. This should be enough when Blackburn exits the game. He will probably go five-to-seven innings strong. Take Oakland from +158 and play them down to +135. This line is overrating Seattle.
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