Major League Baseball betting can be the best or most challenging sport to wager on, depending on your views. There is plenty of money to be made in betting underdogs, as the best teams in baseball annually lose at least 60+ games, while the worst teams can win 60 or more. Baseball is one of the trendiest sports given its large sample size of games, as teams routinely go on long winning streaks or losing streaks often throughout the season. Thus, when getting onside a team on a streak, there is money to be made, but it is also impossible to know when to tail a streak or if the day you wager on it is the day the streak ends.
A perfect example of this thought is the Detroit Tigers, who surprisingly have the major’s longest active winning streak at seven games. ESPN Stats & Info summarized how surprising this streak is.
The Tigers lead 4-0 over the Rangers.
They are seeking to be the 5th team in MLB history to win at least 7 straight games coming out of the All-Star Break after entering it 10+ games under .500 (1998 Orioles, 1989 White Sox, 1987 Orioles and 1935 Reds). pic.twitter.com/y9TcEESNLj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2021
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Friday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 112-101-5 (-3.94 units)
Washington Nationals ML (-130)
The week ahead is a big week for the Nationals, as it is for many teams around the league. At five games under .500 but just six games out of first place in the NL East, the Washington front office may completely shift their thinking of approaching the trade deadline with a successful or poor week. However, the Nationals can start a positive week by taking advantage of an Orioles team that is the worst in the American League.
Many think Washington’s Patrick Corbin’s best days are behind him. Through 18 starts, Corbin (6-8, 5.66) is on pace for a career-worst ERA, FIP, HR/9, and SO/9. However, Corbin has improved his numbers by pitching to a 4.79 ERA over his last seven starts. Five of those were against winning teams, with his last three coming against the National League’s two best offenses in the Dodgers and Padres. Thus, one can give Corbin a pass for his 13 earned runs allowed over his last 16 innings. He did allow a season-high 11 hits in a May 23rd home start against the Orioles, but he has lowered his ERA every month since a poor April where he pitched to a 10.47 ERA. Thus, we look for him to find relief in facing a Baltimore offense that entered Thursday ranked 24th or worse in runs scored, OBP, and OPS.
Baltimore’s Jorge Lopez (2-12, 6.04) has the most losses of any pitcher in baseball, and his WHIP of 1.63 would rank second-worst of all starting pitchers if he had enough innings to qualify. He faces a Nationals lineup that has hit .282 against him in 40 combined career plate appearances and is led by Juan Soto, who has hit seven home runs in his last 11 games.
The Nationals have won their last four games against the Orioles, and Baltimore is the perfect opponent for them to break their four-game Friday winless streak against.
Cardinals-Reds OVER 9.5 runs (-115)
Just like the Nationals need a big week as the trade deadline approaches, the Cincinnati Reds must also have a sense of urgency as they start a three-game series against the rival Cardinals. After briefly separating themselves from the bottom three teams in the division for second place in the NL Central, the Cardinals are breathing down their necks all of a sudden after taking three of four games from the Cubs. However, given St. Louis’s struggles on the road and Cincinnati’s pitcher’s struggles at home, the over provides the best value.
St. Louis’s Wade LeBlanc (0-2, 4.31) is one of the biggest reasons the Cardinals will likely look for starting pitching help at the trade deadline. He has started in just five of his 14 appearances and has not completed six innings in any game this year. Five of LeBlanc’s last six appearances have been against the worst offenses in baseball (DET, PIT, ARI, COL, CHC), so a Reds lineup that ranks in the top 12 of the league in every major category should give him fits.
Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle (7-3, 3.93) has pitched to a 6.37 ERA in eight home starts. Though his OBA allowed to St. Louis hitters is just .238 in 143 combined plate appearances, his .415 slugging percentage allowed is worrisome, as 12 of the 31 hits he has allowed to Cardinals hitters have gone for extra bases.
The over is 4-0 in St. Louis’s last four series openers and is 5-1-1 in the previous seven meetings between these teams in Cincinnati. With closer Amir Garrett and the rest of the Reds bullpen especially struggling, another shootout should be in store.
White Sox-Brewers UNDER 7.5 runs (-105)
The Chicago White Sox have played many high-scoring games of late, as the over is 7-2 in their last nine road games and is 18-7-1 in their previous 26 games overall. However, just six of their last 26 games have come against teams with a winning record. In the six games (three apiece) played against the Astros and Mariners, Chicago’s offense topped four runs just once, and they were held to three runs or fewer three times. Starting with tonight’s series opener against a solid Brewers pitching staff, look for many low-scoring games in this series once again.
Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta (7-3, 2.39) always possesses “swing and miss” stuff. His seven strikeouts of White Sox hitters in 17 combined plate appearances suggest Chicago’s hitters will once again have difficulty putting their bat on the ball. Chicago’s Lucas Giolito (8-6, 3.90) has held current Brewers hitters to a .194 batting average in 37 combined plate appearances and has allowed just two extra-base hits (two solo home runs) in that span. Given that he has allowed just one home run in his last 19.1 innings, the trend suggests he should be able to keep Milwaukee’s hitters in the yard tonight.
The under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in Milwaukee between these teams, and an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel should unfold in this one.
The Brewers are planning to give Freddy Peralta a little break to help manage his innings. His first start of the second half is likely to fall during the White Sox series at the end of next week.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 16, 2021
MLB Prop Bets
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