MLB Underdog Picks Today | Odds, Predictions for Rays vs Royals, Guardians vs Rangers (Friday, July 14)
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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.
Rays vs. Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET
Tyler Glasnow vs. Alec Marsh
Have you ever watched the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode when they go to Cabo and Jeff says, "You're not going to get me to say anything bad about Mickey?"
You're not going to get me to say anything good about Alec Marsh. He is not a major-league starting pitcher, and I think his command is reliever level. His Stuff+ says that he's OK; he's around the league average in Stuff+. His strikeout rate is OK in the sample that we've seen; 23.8% is respectable, but his lack of command is a real concern. With a 16% walk rate through his first few outings, I'm a little bit alarmed to back him.
However, Tyler Glasnow, in his current form, should not be -300 on the road against any major-league ball club.
I think this line has gotten way too out of hand on Glasnow. He did see some improved whiff rates and Stuff+ in his last outing, so he saw a little bit of a jump in his strikeout rate. However, he left the game with some tightness when he cramped up. So where are we on Glasnow right now with his velocity not being back to normal?
What that means is he is more vulnerable to get jumped. If he tries to sit on that fastball and pound the zone with the heaters a mile or two less than normal, you're going to see reflected in barrel rate and homers allowed. Sure enough, he's allowed 17 barrels in his first 95 batted balls this year.
There is certainly a concern with Glasnow. I don't think he is a 4.60 pitcher, which is what his xERA would tell you, but I don't think he is a sub-four pitcher right now with his ERA, which is what some of the projection systems have him for and why the markets are pricing him very highly.
The Royals are going to have trouble getting 27 outs; there's a reason they're +240 at home. However, this number has gotten too out of hand, so I'm going to have to take the Royals.
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Guardians vs. Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET
Aaron Civale vs. Jon Gray
Charlie DiSturco: I am handing out Cleveland on the moneyline. Like Tampa, Texas has a vaunted lineup, but I think, when you look at this matchup, the edges point towards Cleveland, and this should be closer to a +110 to +115 range rather than +130, where it's at right now.
Aaron Civale is an underrated pitcher. Over the last 30 days, he's top 10 in Stuff+. Across the board, Civale has really taken strides compared to last year's struggles. He's got a sub-5% barrel rate, and his hard hit rate is back down to around his 2019 and 2020 lows that he posted.
He's a way different pitcher than he has been in the last couple of years. While his strikeouts are down a bit, it's not that concerning given where he sits in his Stuff+ over the last 30 days. Walks are the biggest issue when it comes to him.
When you look at this matchup, Jon Gray is a pitcher that I have continually faded start after start after a dominant first couple of months. He's got a lot of issues; while he does limit barrels and hard hits, he does have a low strikeout rate, and he doesn't generate many swings and misses.
I think the biggest key is that he forces a lot fewer ground balls this year, and, given the fact that he is striking out fewer batters as well, there's going to be more opportunities for dangerous spots for the Cleveland offense to take advantage of.
They're an offense that has been trending upwards over the last 15-20 days. They've been around the league average rank, as opposed to the 25-30 range they've been in all season long. They don't strike out, and they put the ball in play. That's something that Gray has been able to mitigate, but I don't think it's going to happen here. Jon Gray's xBA is his worst since 2020, and his xSLG is back up above .400.
When you look at the pitching matchups, I think Civale is a significantly better pitcher than Jon Gray, and I give the edge in the bullpens to Cleveland, even with Clase's step back this season. Even with fully rested 'pens, I still give the edge to Cleveland here.
Yes, Texas' offense is obviously going to be better than Cleveland's, but I think that, at this price, Cleveland is too long of an underdog. I would back them down to about the +115 to +110 range.
Payoff Pitch Underdog Picks for Friday, July 14
- Royals moneyline
- Guardians moneyline
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