MLB Picks Picks, Predictions, Odds for Monday, July 24
Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Semien, Joey Gallo, MJ Melendez
- My model continues to recommend betting against Dean Kremer (5.63 xERA or expected ERA, 94 Stuff+, 100 Pitching+) and Kyle Gibson (4.68 xERA, 91 Stuff+, 95 Pitching+), one or both of whom may get pushed out of Baltimore's rotation by a deadline acquisition
- This is a rematch from last Wednesday, a 6-3 road win for the Twins, where we successfully cashed Minnesota in both halves and the Over, and I see an edge on the identical three wagers for Monday's contest.
- Yarbrough draws a softer matchup on Monday against a Guardians lineup that ranks 26th against left-handed pitching (88 wRC+) after finishing 27th (84 wRC+) last season.
Welcome to Opening Pitch, my column that you'll find daily throughout the 2023 MLB season.
My goal for Opening Pitch is to highlight my top daily projection edges for MLB moneylines and totals, share my favorite bets and provide some betting notes and analysis, mainly as I react to opening and overnight lines while using my baseball betting model.
I will look to release a new version of Opening Pitch daily between midnight and 3 a.m. ET; after I enter my overnight bets in the Action Network App and update the MLB projections. Hopefully, you will use it as your morning betting guide to get ahead of the baseball markets.
You can also shop for the best lines on our odds page.
Expert Picks for Monday, July 24
Baltimore Orioles vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Dean Kremer vs. Cristopher Sanchez
First Pitch: 6:40 p.m. ET
My model continues to recommend betting against Dean Kremer (5.63 xERA or expected ERA, 94 Stuff+, 100 Pitching+) and Kyle Gibson (4.68 xERA, 91 Stuff+, 95 Pitching+), one or both of whom may get pushed out of Baltimore's rotation by a deadline acquisition within the next week.
Still, I'm also higher than the market on Cristopher Sanchez (3.94 xERA, 82 Stuff+, 98 Pitching+), who has made significant strides with his command compared to his first two seasons in the big leagues (17.1% K-BB% or strikeout minus walk rate vs. 10.2% from 2021-2022).
Cristopher Sánchez's 2Ks in the 1st. pic.twitter.com/ajERQogd2S
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 19, 2023
The Orioles are a tough matchup and have fared better against lefties (113 wRC+, 6th) than righties (102 wRC+, 13th) this season. The Phillies have relatively neutral splits on the year but have surprisingly ranked below average against both righties and lefties.
My model still prefers the Phillies' offensive group against righties about 10% better than the Orioles' offense, though Baltimore does make up for some of that differential defensively.
That said, back Sanchez and the Phillies to -140 for the first five innings (F5) and -133 for the full game.
Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Guardians
Ryan Yarbrough vs. Logan Allen
First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Ryan Yarbrough has performed much better as a starter (3.96 ERA, 4.88 xFIP) than a reliever (7.62 ERA, 6.50 xFIP) this season.
He posted an xERA of around 4.4 during his final two seasons (and 235 innings) in Tampa Bay. His Stuff+ metrics were slightly better last season with the Rays, but Yarbrough has shown solid command, and so long as he limits walks, he can serve as a functional back-of-the-rotation arm for the remainder of the season.
Yarbrough draws a softer matchup on Monday against a Guardians lineup that ranks 26th against left-handed pitching (88 wRC+) after finishing 27th (84 wRC+) last season.
Likewise, his opponent, Logan Allen (4.28 xERA), gets a Royals offense that ranks 27th (88 wRC+) against southpaw pitching.
Pitching models prefer Allen (91 Stuff+, 104 Location+, 100 Pitching+) to Yarbrough (77 Stuff+, 105 Location+, 95 Pitching+). Still, I set the Royals above 40% in either half of this matchup.
Bet Kansas City to +155 for the first five innings (F5) and +160 for the full game.
Additionally, bet Over 8.5 to -120 or Over 9 to even money (projected 9.32) despite the poor handedness splits for both offenses.
Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo vs. Kenta Maeda
First Pitch: 7:40 p.m. ET
This is a rematch from last Wednesday, a 6-3 road win for the Twins, where we successfully cashed Minnesota in both halves and the Over, and I see an edge on the identical three wagers for Monday's contest.
Before the last matchup, I bet the Twins at around +145 in both halves, and they closed at about +130 in either half. And our Over 7 (-120) closed at 7.5 (-120).
After swapping home field — based on the odds from last week — one would expect the Twins to open around +115 and close around +102 for the same matchup at home.
I had set the Twins as +115 underdogs (46.5% implied) for last week's matchup, compared to consensus closing odds of +133 (42.9% implied) — a difference of 3.6%. And I see a similar discrepancy between Minnesota's current and projected odds for Monday: +102 consensus (49.5% implied) vs. -117 projected (53.9% implied), a difference of 4.4%.
To reiterate some of my points about the pitching matchup:
- Luis Castillo (3.04 ERA, 3.8 xERA, 3.66 xFIP) has lost a tick on his fastball and is an obvious regression candidate primarily due to his .254 BABIP (.281 career).
- Castillo has increased his four-seam fastball and slider usage at the expense of his sinker and changeup, leading to a career-high fly ball rate (41.7%, vs. 30% career) and his worst home run rate (1.45 HR/9) since 2018 (1.07 career).
- In 65 innings with the Mariners last year, Castillo had a 103 Stuff+ rating (112 fastball, 115 slider, 104 changeup). His Stuff+ has dropped to 97 this season (99 fastball, 114 slider, 83 changeup).
- Kenta Maeda has posted similar underlying metrics in eight starts this season (3.88 xERA, 21.7% K-BB%) as he did before Tommy John surgery in 2021 (3.73 xERA, 17.9% K-BB%).
- Maeda owns a higher Stuff+ rating (104) than Castillo, thanks to a dominant splitter (132 Stuff+).
Bet the Twins to -113 in the first half (F5), -107 for the full game and play the Over 7.5 to -122 or Over 8 to -103 (projected 8.33).
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros
Jon Gray vs. Brandon Bielak
First Pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
While Jon Gray owns a career-best ERA (3.31), his underlying numbers have taken a step back this season (4.43 xERA).
Gray's strikeout rate has fallen by about 6%, year over year, and he now carries a below-average 11.7% K-BB%. A high strand rate (80.3% vs. 70.6% career) and a low BABIP (.269 vs. .307 career) have disguised some otherwise concerning performance indicators for the veteran righty.
Under the hood, Gray (95 Stuff+, 99 Pitching+) is showing concerning signs, too (100 Stuff+, 102 Pitching+ in 2022). His slider remains an elite offering — and the only pitch to net a positive return on a per-pitch basis throughout his career. Otherwise, Gray is a league-average arm whose best skill is his ability to make 25 starts per season.
Still, Gray looks significantly more capable than his opponent, Brandon Bielak (5.48 xERA, 9.4% K-BB%, 84 Stuff+, 91 Pitching+), who rates as a replacement-level arm.
Texas has the better offense in this matchup (118 wrC+ vs. righties, 2nd vs. 99 wrC+, 17th for Houston), and is the superior defensive club, too (2nd vs. 14th in Defensive Runs Saved).
Typically, the Astros would have the starting pitching advantage in these crucial head-to-head matchups with their in-state rivals, but that's not the case on Monday.
Back the Rangers in both halves, to -130 (F5) and -110 (full game).
Zerillo's Bets for Monday, July 24
For additional bet notifications, follow me in the Action Network App.
- Arizona Diamondbacks F5 (-130, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -143)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (-130, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -132)
- Colorado Rockies F5 (+120, 0.5u) at WynnBet (Bet to +118)
- Colorado Rockies (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet (Bet to +110)
- Colorado Rockies / Washington Nationals, Over 9.5 (-104, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to 10, -110)
- Kansas City Royals F5 (+160, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to +155)
- Kansas City Royals (+170, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +160)
- Kansas City Royals / Cleveland Guardians, Over 8.5 (-110, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -120 or 9, +100)
- Milwaukee Brewers (-110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -115)
- Minnesota Twins F5 (-104, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -113)
- Minnesota Twins (+106, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -107)
- Minnesota Twins / Seattle Mariners, Over 7.5 (-115, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -122 or 8, -103)
- Philadelphia Phillies F5 (-140, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -140)
- Philadelphia Phillies (-125, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to -133)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+215, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to +210)
- San Francisco Giants / Detroit Tigers, Over 8.5 (-110, 0.5u) at Caesars (bet to -112)
- Texas Rangers F5 (-128, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -130)
- Texas Rangers (-110, 0.5u) at WynnBet (bet to -110)