MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (July 8)

MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (July 8) article feature image
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Welcome to Opening Pitch, our daily column that you'll find throughout the 2024 MLB season.

The goal for Opening Pitch is to highlight top daily projection edges for MLB moneylines and totals, share favorite bets and provide some betting notes and analysis.

As a reminder, you can find all my bets in the Action Network App and get live alerts every time I log a new bet.

You can find expert projections for every MLB game on Friday in the Action App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub.

You can also shop for the best lines on our MLB Odds page.

Here are my favorite bets for Monday, July 8.

MLB Predictions Monday | Expert Picks, Odds, Preview Today (July 8)

Monday, July 8
12:35 p.m. ET
SportsNet PT
Mets Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+150
8.5
-115o / -105u
-108
Pirates Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-182
8.5
-115o / -105u
-108
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Christian Scott (NYM) vs. Mitch Keller (PIT)

I don't project a substantial difference between Christian Scott (3.94 xERA, 14% K-BB%, 99 Stuff+, 99 Pitching+) and Mitch Keller (3.92 xERA, 15.5% K-BB%, 101 Stuff+, 100 Pitching+).

Projection systems also view them equally, with either pitcher showing a projected rest-of-season FIP range between 3.83 and 4.04, a relatively narrow set of forecasts.

Christian Scott generated 18 Whiffs in his fantastic MLB debut

Here are all of them: pic.twitter.com/kTQG6qa5fz

— Thomas Nestico (@TJStats) May 5, 2024

The Mets have the better offense against right-handed pitching (9th vs. 27th in wRC+) on the season (112 vs. 88 wRC+); the gap has only widened of late, with the Mets ranking 3rd, and the Pirates 20th against right-handed pitching since June 1 (135 vs. 94 wRC+).

Offensively, the Pirates have ranked better against lefties (96 wRC+, 19th) than righties all season.

Typically, the Mets would have a clear bullpen advantage. Still, the reliever projections for Monday afternoon are far more comparable, with key relievers Edwin Diaz, Dedniel Nunez and Reed Garrett throwing on consecutive days for the Mets.

As a result, I align with the full-game pricing but show an edge on the Mets in the first half or first five innings (F5) only.

Bets: Mets F5 Moneyline (-105 or better)

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Monday, July 8
7:10 p.m. ET
BSOH
Rockies Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-130
9.5
-100o / -122u
+160
Reds Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+108
9.5
-100o / -122u
-190
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Ryan Feltner (COL) vs. Andrew Abbott (CIN)

Ryan Feltner has popped up in this space several times in 2024.

The quick Feltner summary: he's a potential league-average arm under the hood (4.14 xERA, 13.1% K-BB%, 98 Stuff+, 100 Location+) who has been victimized by a brutal home environment (career .336 BABIP, 58% strand rate) at Coors Field.

Feltner owns superior strikeout and walk numbers and pitch modeling metrics compared to Andrew Abbott (9.5% K-BB%, 92 Stuff+, 96 Pitching+), who is an odd pitcher to profile. Indicators suggest that Abbott is a below-average arm — and a lesser pitcher than Feltner. However, he generates weak contact (91st percentile in hard-hit rate) and seems like a potential outlier from a forecasting standpoint.

Abbott has a 3.50 xERA compared to a 4.94 xFIP; projection systems expect his rest-of-season FIP to fall between 4.39 and 4.73. If Abbott can maintain a low hard-hit rate (30.6% in 2024; 42.5% last season) and .232 BABIP (.302 in 2023), he will continue to pitch well despite subpar strikeout and walk rates.

Still, the correction could be devastating if Abbott experienced BABIP regression and more hits fell against the Reds' porous defense (26th in Defensive Runs Saved, 20th in Outs Above Average).

Colorado has the defensive advantage in this series (16th in DRS, 14th in OAA), but will need to mind baseball's No. 1 baserunning team (Cincinnati at +12.4 BSR; Milwaukee second at +10.7) on the defensive end.

Bets: Rockies Full-Game Moneyline (+155 or better)

Monday, July 8
8:10 p.m. ET
BSN
Twins Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
-118
9
-115o / -105u
-184
White Sox Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-102
9
-115o / -105u
+154
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Chris Paddack (MIN) vs. Chris Flexen (CHW)

Chris Paddack will reportedly return to the Twins rotation on Monday after an IL stint for arm fatigue.

In his last start before the IL stint, Paddack's fastball velocity dipped to 91.4 mph (93.4 on the season), and he was roughed up in his last two outings against Oakland (combined 7 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 4 BB, 3 K).

His K-BB% (15.1%) and pitch modeling metrics (90 Stuff+, 106 Location+, 104 Pitching+) represent an above-average arm due to elite command. Still, arm fatigue is highly concerning for a pitcher after his second Tommy John surgery, with 83 combined innings since last season.

It's entirely possible — if not likely — that Paddack is still less than 100% healthy as he returns from the IL, which may hinder his command — Paddack's carrying tool — more than anything.

Chicago's offense has struggled all year but primarily suffered in April and May (72 wRC+, 30th) before improving lately (90 wRC+ since June 1).

Minnesota leads MLB with a 138 WRC+ since June 1; it ranks fourth on the season (115 wRC+). Chris Flexen (4.49 xERA, 8.2% K-BB%, 52 Stuff+, 99 Location+, 93 Pitching+) is also a desirable matchup.

I set this total at around 9.7 runs.

Bets: Over 9 (-118 or 9.5, +100 or better)

Monday, July 8
9:38 p.m. ET
BSW
Rangers Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
+116
8.5
-120o / -102u
-142
Angels Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
-140
8.5
-120o / -102u
+120
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Jon Gray (TEX) vs. Davis Daniel (LAA)

Jon Gray's velocity has dipped in the past two seasons, and his Stuff+ ratings have tumbled, too, down from 102 in 2022 to 97 last season and 83 in 2024.

Gray has posted an xERA in the mid-fours for the past two seasons (4.48 in 2023, 4.65 in 2024), and that's about where I would place his current level — a No. 4 starter.

I'm not exceptionally high on Davis Daniel, who has posted a pair of solid starts alongside a 75 Stuff+ figure. Daniel has a sharp slider (121 Stuff+) and good command, but pitching models don't see much otherwise. His walk rate in Triple-A (7.4%) and the minors (7.6%) was solid, but not elite.

An eight-inning shutout for Davis Daniel in his first career start 💪#RepTheHalopic.twitter.com/WXItEhdOEk

— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 28, 2024

The Rangers' most significant difference this season is their offense (93 wRC+ vs. 114 in 2024), particularly at home (126 wRC+ in 2023, 94 in 2024), which may force the defending World Series champions to sell off pieces before the trade deadline.

Bets: Angels Full-Game Moneyline (+119 or better)

Monday, July 8
9:40 p.m. ET
MLB Network
Braves Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-1.5
-120
8.5
104o / -128u
-194
Diamondbacks Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+1.5
+100
8.5
104o / -128u
+162
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Chris Sale (ATL) vs. Yilber Diaz (ARI)

Yilber Diaz will make his major league debut on Monday after a dominant effort in Triple-A this week, where he had everything working:

Yilber Diaz (@Dbacks No. 16) was on another level tonight!

🔥 Career-high 13 strikeouts across 6 hitless innings
🔥 Tied the Triple-A @Aces single-game K record
🔥 Fanned 7 batters in a row pic.twitter.com/gu3jsbglUm

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 2, 2024

The 23-year-old righty posted high strikeout and walk numbers in the minors (29.9% K%, 12.6% BB%) with a fastball that explodes from his 6′ frame and touches triple digits. Diaz also throws a sharp cutter or slider (Diaz calls it a cutter, but it looks like a slider — either way, it's effective) and he has made significant strides with his curveball.

I've bet on Chris Sale (2.57 xERA, 27.8% K-BB%, 104 Stuff+) a lot this season, particularly in the first five innings. Sale's xERA is at its lowest point since 2018, and his Stuff+ rating is up 10 points year over year (94 in 203).

Arizona has a clear baserunning advantage in this series (6th vs. 25th in baserunning value). Even though he's a lefty, Sale has never excelled at holding runners (career 70.6% stolen base success rate) — and the Diamondbacks may need to put their limited baserunners in motion.

Bets: Diamondbacks Full-Game Moneyline (+162 or better)

Zerillo's Bets for Monday, July 8

For additional bet notifications, follow me in the Action Network App.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks (+180, 0.5u) at DraftKings (bet to +162)
  • Chicago White Sox / Minnesota Twins, Over 9 (-105, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -118 or 9.5, +100)
  • Colorado Rockies (+165, 0.5u) at BetMGM (bet to +155)
  • Los Angeles Angels (+128, 0.5u) at Superbook (bet to +119)
  • New York Mets F5 (-102, 0.5u) at FanDuel (bet to -105)

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