MLB Underdog Picks, Odds | Predictions for Angels vs Blue Jays & More

MLB Underdog Picks, Odds | Predictions for Angels vs Blue Jays & More article feature image

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani

The Payoff Pitch podcast MLB experts break down their favorite picks from the day's slate every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, including each analyst's favorite underdog on the slate, and they've got two more to recommend today.

You can read about their picks below, and be sure to subscribe to Payoff Pitch for MLB picks and predictions all season long.

Angels vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

Lucas Giolito vs. Kevin Gausman

B.J. CunninghamIt's all about the price here. I think it's a little too high on the Blue Jays and Gausman.

Giolito has been average this season with a 4.44 xERA. He's nothing special, and the trade they made for him was a little one-sided for the White Sox, but that's OK.

Giolito's Pitching+ is 102 this season, so he's been a little above average. He's been on point with his location. His slider has really improved this season. He's been very effective with it, allowing under a .300 weighted OBP and producing over a 37% whiff rate with a Stuff+ rating of 107.

What he's doing a great job of is, since his fastball is very average, kind of reeling back throwing his fastball less. He's throwing his slider about 7% more this season than he was last season. Throwing your more effective pitches is always a good sign of improvement.

Gausman is a pitcher I've loved for a very long time. He's been good this season with a 3.60 xERA. However, his average exit velocity allowed and hard-hit rate are a tad concerning at this point. What he struggles with is getting lefties out. He has an amazing splitter that goes in on righties but goes away on lefties. Lefties hit that pitch harder. The pitch has a 3.70 xFIP against lefties and a 2.40 xFIP against righties.

The Angels have the ability to throw six left-handed bats against him, including the best left-handed bat in all of baseball.

In terms of a price point, I have the Angels projected at +159. The best price you can find out there is +175. I would not go below +175 on this price. It has come down a little bit; the Angels opened at +190 and have been bet down to +175, so that's my cutoff point.

This is simply a little bit of a projection edge on the Angels, who I don't think have a significant gap in terms of offensive splits between them and the Blue Jays.

Tigers vs. Marlins, 6:40 p.m. ET

Reese Olson vs. Braxton Garrett

Charlie DiSturco: I am on the Tigers for the full game tonight.

Reese Olson takes the mound for the Tigers tonight. He's very interesting; if you look at his numbers across the board, he has a 1.5 HR/9 rate and a high barrel rate. Those have been his biggest issues since he's come to the majors. However, his peripherals are pretty impressive. He has a 3.88 xFIP, compared to a 4.50 ERA and an xERA around the 4.60 mark.

He has elite control and has above-average chase and strikeout rates. That's been coming along as of late, especially as a starter. He's been working both as a starter and out of the 'pen in long relief. He's about the league average in just about all the major categories, such as hard-hit rate, xBA, and whiff rate.

Braxton Garrett is another one of those guys who doesn't give free passes and generates a lot of chases. His biggest issue is that he gives up a lot of hard hits. His average exit velocity is right around 91.5 mph, which is up 2.5 mph from the last couple of years. His hard-hit rate is near 50% this season.

Look, it's the Tigers, and their offense is abysmal. They played a doubleheader yesterday and scored four runs in the two games. However, I think these pitchers are about comparable, and I think Olson might have a slight edge here.

The biggest thing for me from the doubleheader was, while you would think their bullpen would be deteriorated, they didn't use any of their high-leverage arms because they were losing and the game was out of reach by the time their starters exited the games.

They threw a long reliever in the first game who pitched four innings and was put out there to get shelled. In the second game, they threw in their front-end guys just to get the job done and get out of that series with Los Angeles.

I like the Tigers over the full game +140 and would back it down to +125. Olson is one of those guys who I'm looking to buy, and I think he bounces back from his last start.

Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Friday, July 28

At FanDuel, this parlay would pay out at +496 at the time of this writing.

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