MLB Odds, Pick, Predictions for Friday: Our 3 Best Bets, Including Athletics vs. Mariners (July 23)
Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Yusei Kikuchi.
- Our team of MLB betting analysts have identified three games across three time zones on Friday night for bettors to find value.
- The Cardinals start things off, as they look to stay hot against the Reds, before Yusei Kikuchi faces the A's to close the night.
- Check out how our staff is betting these three games below.
Our Friday best bets cover three time zones and three intriguing matchups in Major League Baseball.
The Reds, believe it or not, are the closest challengers to the Brewers in the National League Central and are in need of a big-time winning streak to make up ground. St. Louis, meanwhile, has won five of six entering what on paper isn't exactly a sexy pitching matchup.
In Kansas City, the Tigers look to maintain their recent status as one of bettors' favorite teams with Wily Peralta on the mound. Then, out west, Yusei Kikuchi is out to keep the Mariners' unlikely postseason hopes alive against the A's, who are in control of an American League wild-card spot.
MLB Odds & Picks
Cardinals at Reds
Brad Cunningham: Wade LeBlanc may not be the best starting pitcher in the Major Leagues, but he hasn't been that bad this season.
LeBlanc's xERA and xFIP are both over 5.00, and he's allowing a hard contact rate over 40%, but this is a fantastic matchup for him because the Reds cannot hit left-handed pitching. Cincinnati is hitting .226 and has only 86 wRC+ against southpaws, LeBlanc may actually have some success against their lineup.
Tyler Mahle has been excellent so far this season posting a 3.61 xERA and a xFIP of 3.63. Mahle is mainly a fastball pitcher, going to the heater 52.7% of the time. He's been pretty effective with it, as it's allowing only a .284 xwOBA. The Cardinals are 28th in both wOBA against right-handed pitching and fastballs, so Mahle should also have a good matchup tonight.
Tigers at Royals
Kenny Ducey: It terrifies me to back the Detroit Tigers on a seven-game winning streak, with a loss surely around the corner any day now, but this pitching matchup is too good to ignore.
One of the best stories in baseball will resume on Friday when Wily Peralta gets the ball for Detroit. The veteran right-hander has a microscopic 1.64 ERA in seven outings this year, earning a spot in a rotation that had been looking for answers all season long. His xwOBA on contact stands at an impressive — and elite — .302. He’s brought his walk rate back down from the highs it had seen over his previous three big-league seasons, and he’s figured out how to pitch to contact again.
Peralta won’t have a difficult task ahead of him with this Royals lineup, considering its 97 wRC+ over the last week and its weak contact profile. I have full confidence that Peralta should be able to navigate the order, particularly with guys like Carlos Santana going through slumps.
On the other hand, Kris Bubic is in the midst of a very brutal season yet again. He ranks in the bottom 16% of the league in hard-hit rate and his .363 xwOBA ranks in the bottom 8% of the league. He may be a left-hander, which isn’t ideal for Detroit, but the way the Tigers are hitting at the moment is undeniable. Giving them these odds with a clear edge in the pitching department is pretty ridiculous.
Athletics at Mariners
Tanner McGrath: It’s Yusei Kikuchi Day!
While he’s had two disastrous outings in a row — against the Yankees and Angels — Kikuchi has mostly been on a roll this season. He posted a 1.90 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP during June and got his season-long ERA below 4.00 and his WHIP below 1.15.
But not only has Kikuchi been excellent, the Mariners have made a real jump lately. Seattle’s recent performance has it five games over .500 and tied in the wild-card race with the Yankees — both are 4.5 games back of Oakland for the second spot.
Combine Kikuchi’s performances with the Mariners surge recently, and it’s not hard to believe Kikuchi has been one of the most profitable starting pitchers on the F5 ML this season:
As a home underdog against an Oakland offense that ranks second-to-last in wRC+ over the past 30 days (83), I love Kikuchi to bounce-back in this spot and continue this trend.