MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Betting Breakdowns for Yankees vs. Red Sox, Cubs vs. Dodgers, More on Friday’s Slate (July 8)
Matt Dirksen/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Thompson of the Chicago Cubs.
We’ve officially reached the half way point in the MLB season with the All-Star break only 10 days away. All 30 teams are in action on Friday night with some fascinating matchups like the Marlins and Pablo Lopez versus the Mets and Chris Bassitt or the best rivalry in sports getting renewed once again between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Rays vs. Reds, 6:40 p.m. ET
Shane McClanahan vs. Luis Castillo
This is one of the more underrated pitching matchups of the Friday night slate. For those not paying attention, Shane McClanahan has been the best starting pitcher in baseball through the first half of the season. He leads all qualified starters with an astounding 2.21 xERA & 1.97 xFIP.
Opposing hitters have only been able to muster a .196 xBA and .246 xwOBA against him. I mean McClanahan has allowed 35 total hits off of his three off-speed pitches of curveball, changeup, and slider, which he’s thrown a total of 928 times.
Shane McClanahan, Filthy 81mph Curveball. 😷 pic.twitter.com/F17kxkBQGy
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 26, 2022
So, for a Reds lineup that has been average against lefties (.320 wOBA & 100 wRC+ per fangraphs), it’s likely going to be a tough Friday night.
Luis Castillo has been really solid for a bad Reds team this season. He’s posted a 3.52 xERA, 3.48 xFIP, and a .245 xBA against him through 11 starts. His last two starts have been fantastic pitching 13 innings, giving up 11 hits, one run, and has struck out 17 batters.
He has a four pitch arsenal of fastball, changeup, sinker, and slider, which should be good against a Rays lineup that has a -26.6 combined run value against those four pitches, per Baseball Savant.
I have this game projected dead on with the current odds, so this is a pass for me, unless either team gets steamed.
Angels vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET
Reid Detmers vs. Tyler Wells
Slight value on the Orioles in this matchup for me given the edges they have on the mound. Tyler Wells has gone from the bullpen to the starting rotation and turned into the best starting pitcher the Orioles have one their roster.
Through 16 starts he’s posted a 3.42 xERA, 2.02 BB/9 rate, and opposing hitters have a .300 xwOBA against him. The reason he’s been so good is because he’s dominating with his three off-speed pitches of slider, changeup, and curveball.
All three pitches are allowing an xBA under .210 and a xwOBA under .280. The Angels are 27th against fastballs (Wells main pitch) and have a -4.8 run value against sliders, curveballs, and changeups.
Tyler Wells tied Vladdy up with back-to-back nasty changeups pic.twitter.com/forZfDs9cT
— Locked On Orioles (@LockedOnOrioles) June 16, 2022
Reid Detmers has been pretty bad this season posting a 5.03 xERA through 12 starts. His HR/9 rate is up at 1.71 and opposing hitters have a 41.7% hard hit rate against him. Now he has to face an Orioles lineup that has been improving as the season has gone on, putting up a 105 wRC+ over the last 30 days.
The Orioles will also have the edge in the bullpen over the Angels:
(stats via fangraphs)
Unless I can get the Orioles at -105 or better, this game is going to be a pass for me.
Marlins vs. Mets, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pablo Lopez vs. Chris Bassitt
This is an underrated pitching matchup for Friday night’s slate. Pablo Lopez has been overshadowed in his own rotation by Sandy Alcantara (for good reason), but he is having an equally stellar season.
The 26 year old has a 3.48 xFIP, 2.59 BB/9 rate, and only 34.5% hard hit rate allowed. He’s mainly a fastball/changeup pitcher with his changeup being by far his best pitch, producing a 40% whiff rate this season.
Pablo López, Insane Changeups. 🥴 pic.twitter.com/jSKrcKg9Pr
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 7, 2021
The problem for Lopez is the Mets absolutely crush both fastballs and changeups (+39.1 run value) and are top six in terms of wOBA and wRC+ against right handed pitching.
Chris Bassitt has been even better than Pablo Lopez, posting a 3.23 xERA, 9.54 K/9 rate, and .236 xBA against him. He brings four different kinds of fastballs (four-seam, two-seam, cutter, and sinker), which is not a good matchups against the Marlins who obliterate all kinds of fastballs (+20.9 run value).
Even though this isn’t a great matchup for Lopez, I do have the Marlins projected at +113, so I like them at +148 (BetRivers) and would bet them down to +130.
Pick: Marlins +148
Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET
Nestor Cortes vs. Connor Seabold
This line is too low for Nestor Cortes, who has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. He has a 2.59 xERA, opponents are only hitting .199 against him, and he’s only allowing a .268 xwOBA to opposing hitters, which is one of the best marks among qualified starting pitchers.
Connor Seabold is a Triple A starting pitcher at best and will probably be going back down there once Chris Sale is back. The last two seasons in the minors his xFIP has been above 4.40, which is not what you want when you’re facing one of the best lineups in baseball. Seabold mainly throws a fastball, changeup, and slider, which is bad news against the Yankees who have a +52.7 run value against those three pitches this season.
I have the Yankees projected at -170 for the full game and -197 for the first five innings, so I think there is tremendous value on them for the first five innings at -137 and full game at -143, which are both available at BetRivers.
Pick: Yankees First Five Innings -137 & Full Game -143
Nationals vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m. ET
Erick Fedde vs. Charlie Morton
The Braves are deserving favorites and the hottest team in baseball at the moment, but I do believe they are overvalued in this matchup because of the Nationals offense.
Charlie Morton has been good, but far from elite this season. His xERA is sitting at 3.93 and he’s allowing a ton of hard contact, with hit hard hit rate allowed up at 39.5% and a sweet spot percentage at 40.6%, both of which are the highest of his career. He’s also struggling with his fastball and sinker, as both are allowing a xwOBA over .360. The Nationals have had success against both fastballs and sinkers (+5.5 run value) and against right handed pitching (16th in wOBA).
I’m not going to try and tell you Erick Fedde is a good starting pitcher, but he’s not as bad as this line is suggesting. His xERA is only at 4.23 and opponents only have a .262 xBA against him. The Braves are by far the best four-seam fastball hitting team in baseball, but Fedde doesn’t throw a four-seamer. He mainly uses a sinker, cutter, slider combination, which the Braves only have a +9 run value against this year.
I only have the Braves projected at -160, so I like the value on them for the first five innings at +225 and I am going to avoid the full game line to avoid the massive bullpen mismatch.
Pick: Nationals First Five Innings (+225)
Twins vs. Rangers, 8:10 p.m. ET
Sonny Gray vs. Jon Gray
Welcome to the battle of the Grays.
Sonny Gray has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season. In a little over 50 innings he has a 2.94 xERA, 2.30 BB/9 rate, and is allowing a .285 xwOBA. He’s been pretty dominant with both his fastball and sinker as both are allowing an xBA under .260. That is good news against the Rangers, who are terrible against those two pitches (-21 run value).
Sonny Gray, Painted 93mph Back Door Two Seamer. 🖌️🎨 pic.twitter.com/d0aSGZPJS3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 28, 2022
Jon Gray has been decent, but nowhere near Sonny Gray. Jon Gray is sitting at a 3.85 xERA and has allowed a 39% hard hit rate to opposing hitters. The matchup against the Twins is terrible for him because not only do the Twins obliterate fastballs to the tune of a +24.5 run value (a pitch that Gray goes to over 50% of the time), but they also fourth in baseball in terms of wOBA against right handed pitching.
Since I have Sonny Gray projected at -136 for the first five innings, I like the value on the Twins at -115 (BetRivers) and would play it up to -120.
Pick: Twins First Five Innings -115
Guardians vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET
Aaron Civale vs. Brady Singer
Things have not been going good for Aaron Civale, who has an ERA over seven. Now, it’s not as bad as it looks, but an xERA over five is still pretty bad. The main problem is opposing hitters are squaring the ball up far too easily on him. His barrel rate allowed is at 11.1% and his sweet spot % allowed is at 41%, both of which are in the bottom 15% among MLB starting pitchers.
The Royals have actually been hitting the ball pretty well over the past 30 days (.330 wOBA & 114 wRC+), so I have no doubt they’ll have success against Civale, just like did back in April when they knocked him out after only 3 and 1/3rds innings.
Brady Singer has improved a lot with his control, bringing his BB/9 rate below 2.00 for the first time in his career, but he’s still got a ways to go because his HR/9 rate is up at 1.53. Much like Civale, opposing hitters are finding the sweet spot far too easily on Singer. His barrel rate allowed is over 11% and his hard hit rate allowed is over 40%.
Since I have 5.14 runs projected for the first five innings, I like the value on Over 4.5 runs at -120 (PointsBet) or better.
Pick: First Five Innings Over 4.5 runs (-120)
Tigers vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET
Tarik Skubal vs. Lucas Giolito
Tarik Skubal has been, as the kids would say, low-key fire this season for the Tigers. He has a 3.47 xERA and 3.34 xFIP through 16 starts with a 9.14 K/9 rate. The problem for him in this matchup is the White Sox absolutely drill left handed pitching, as they’re top two against lefties in both wOBA and wRC+.
This season has not gone as planned for Lucas Giolito, who has seen his ERA and xERA balloon up over 4.50 for the first time since 2018. The main problem is he’s allowing way too much hard contact, with his hard rate allowed is at an astonishing 44.9%, which is one of the highest marks among qualified MLB starting pitchers. Most his bad form has been lately too because he’s allowed an insane 30 earned runs over his last eight starts.
So, it’s kind of crazy that Giolito is this big of favorite, even if the Tigers lineup is one of the worst in baseball.
Since give me the Tigers first five innings at +155 (PointsBet) and full game at +150 (BetMGM) and would play them both down to +125.
Pick: Tigers First Five Innings (+150) & Full Game (+155)
Pirates vs. Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET
JT Brubaker vs. Aaron Ashby
Listen Aaron Ashby has some nasty stuff and is due for a lot of positive regression (4.80 ERA vs. 3.23 xERA), but just because someone is due for positive regression doesn’t mean there is automatically value on them. Sure, Pittsburgh is bottom five in every metric against lefties and over the past 30 days, but +185 with JT Brubaker on the mound is too high even if Milwaukee tagged him for four runs on June 30th.
Brubaker has been solid all season long posting a 3.83 xERA and opponents only have a .246 xBA against him. His slider has by far been his best pitch, allowing only a .201 xBA and producing a whiff rate over 40%. The Brewers only have a +3 run value against sliders this season.
So, I like the value on the Pirates at +188 (FanDuel) and would play them down to +180.
Pick: Pirates +188
Phillies vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET
Zack Wheeler vs. Adam Wainwright
This line doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
Zack Wheeler is leaps and bounds better than 40-year old Adam Wainwright:
As you can see Wheeler is a top five pitcher in baseball right now, while Wainwright is just average.
In terms of matchups, this is not a great one for the Cardinals offense. because the one pitch they struggle against is sliders (-13.5 run value) and Wheeler has a nasty one that is only allowing a .212 xBA. Wheeler also just tossed seven scoreless innings against the Cardinals in his last start, while Wainwright got lit up by the Phillies for eight hits and four earned runs.
I think the Phillies are drastically undervalued based on my projections for both the first five innings (-135) (BetMGM) and the full game (-118) (BetRivers), so double me up on the Phillies tonight.
Pick: Phillies First Five Innings (-135) & Full Game (-118)
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks, 8:15 p.m. ET
Chad Kuhl vs. Zac Gallen
Zac Gallen is a deserving favorite here, but the market has priced me out of one of my favorite starting pitchers. Chad Kuhl isn’t that bad (4.10 xERA) and the DBacks are 20th in MLB in terms of wOBA against right handed pitching. So, if Colorado floats to +165 or better, I may have to pull the trigger, but other than that, this one is a pass for me.
Astros vs. Athletics, 9:40 p.m. ET
Jose Urquidy vs. Paul Blackburn
The Astros are a tad overvalued here against Paul Blackburn. Jose Urquidy is due for a lot of negative regression, as his ERA is currently sitting at 4.15, but his xERA is over a full run higher at 5.39. Urquidy is also allowing one of the highest hard hit rates (45.2%), average exit velocity (91.2 mph), and expected slugging percentage (.551), per Baseball Savant.
Paul Blackburn on the other hand has actually been really solid for Oakland this season. His xERA is at 3.64, opponents only have 4.5% barrel rate against him, and he’s only allowing a .315 xwOBA.
So, given the starting pitching matchup actually favors Oakland, I like them at +156 (FanDuel) for the full game and +140 for the first five innings (BetMGM.
Pick: A’s First Five Innings +140 & Full Game +156
Giants vs. Padres, 9:40 p.m. ET
Sam Long vs. Blake Snell
Sam Long is likely to be an opener and not go too long in this matchup. Blake Snell is one of the biggest positive regression candidates out there with his ERA sitting at 5.13 and his xERA all the way down at 3.72. However, the market has priced that in here, so this one is a pass for me, as I have moneyline and total projected dead on with where the market is at.
Cubs vs. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET
Keegan Thompson vs. Tyler Anderson
Tyler Anderson should not be this big of a favorite, but the game we play with Dodgers night in and night out. Anderson has been good this year, his xERA is at 3.26, his BB/9 rate is at 1.60, and a hard hit rate allowed at 31.7%. The Cubs are actually pretty good against left handed pitching (.321 wOBA, 11th in MLB) and against Anderson’s top three pitches of fastball, changeup, and cutter (+1.2 run value).
Keegan Thompson has actually been really good for the Cubs, posting a 3.70 xERA, 4.13 xFIP, and opponents only have a .242 xBA against him. He faced the Dodgers out of the bullpen in May, going 2 and 2/3rds innings, giving up one hit, one run, and struck out four batters.
I don’t think enough people are talking about how good the Cubs bullpen has been this season. They are top five in MLB in terms of xFIP, K/9 rate, and K/BB rate. So, the Dodgers will not have a big advantage in the later innings.
I only have the Dodgers projected as -138 favorites, so I like the value on the Cubs at +188 (BetRivers) and would play it down to +160.
Pick: Cubs +188
Blue Jays vs. Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET
Ross Stripling vs. George Kirby
No value for me on this matchup, as I have the Blue Jays projected around -110 for both the first five and full game with a total of 8.55.