Since the trade deadline, many people have focused on which teams are getting hot at the right time and who has positioned themselves best for a deep postseason run. As a bettor, it is also worthwhile to track which sellers left themselves with rosters that are shells of what they were on Opening Day. Many teams like the Nationals and Cubs that had aspirations of division titles and deep postseason runs are now the sport’s laughing stocks that are routinely getting blown out each game. Oddsmakers are still likely questioning how steep to make particular favorites’ odds, especially when they play such teams that have been non-competitive for the last two weeks.
Between the Orioles, Nationals, Cubs, and Pirates, the four teams are 2-38 in their last 40 games. Thus, there are likely to be many lopsided games involving these teams for the remainder of the season and a lot of bettors wagering on runlines and alternate runlines against them.
The trade deadline was a thrill a minute. On the flip side, some of the sellers looks like they may never win another game.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 15, 2021
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Monday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 130-113-6 (+1.22 units)
Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 runs (-115)
The Tampa Bay Rays are coming off a disappointing series against the Minnesota Twins, as they lost two out of three games and saw their division lead trimmed by two games. The best recipe for ending a losing streak is to play the hapless Baltimore Orioles, who have lost their last 11 games and have been outscored 104-34 in that span.
The Rays had a stretch where they were on fire offensively, scoring eight or more runs in seven consecutive games. They scored just four total runs in their last two games against the Twins but are a great candidate to get back on track against the poor Orioles pitching staff.
Matt Harvey (6-11, 6.10) had a three-start stretch to end July, where he did not allow an earned run over 18.1 straight innings. However, his first two starts of August have been more like how the beginning of the season. Harvey has pitched to a 5.00 ERA and has allowed an OBA of .297 and a WHIP of 1.78. In his lone start against the Rays this year, he was tagged for six runs on seven hits in just 1.2 innings. Tampa Bay will use Colin McHugh (4-1, 1.41) as an opener, and he has not allowed an earned run in his last 27 innings.
The Rays are 26-6 in their last 32 home games against the Orioles, and the over is 4-0-1 in Harvey’s previous five starts against teams from the AL East. Each of these trends suggests Tampa Bay is in line for a big win in the series opener.
Oakland Athletics ML (-110)
The fact that the Oakland A’s are road favorites against the American League’s best home team suggests oddsmakers do not like Chicago’s chances in this one. The White Sox are 39-22 at home, and only the Giants and Padres have more home wins this season. However, we will avoid the trap of taking Chicago as home underdogs and instead side with “the house” in this series opener.
The A’s are likely to be a big contrarian play since they are coming off a series loss at the lowly Texas Rangers. However, those two losses are Oakland’s only road losses in the last seven games, and they are 7-3 in their previous ten road games against the White Sox.
Oakland’s Frankie Montas (9-8, 3.98) has pitched to a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts. His road ERA is a 3.49 compared to a 4.40 at home this year, and his OBA and WHIP are significantly better in his road starts. Chicago sends arguably their most vulnerable starting pitcher to the mound in Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel (7-6, 4.51) is 6-6 with a 3.06 ERA in 22 career appearances (20 starts) against the A’s. However, Keuchel has struggled late in seasons, as his second-half career ERA is 4.08 compared to 3.48 in the first half, and his winning percentage is .467 compared to .602.
The A’s are 4-0 in Montas’ last four road starts with the total set between 9.0-10.5, and that trend applies tonight. The White Sox are likely to be sluggish after an emotional series with the Yankees that involved the Field of Dreams game, so do not be surprised to see a hangover carry into this game.
San Francisco Giants -1.5 runs (+105)
Speaking of hangovers, the New York Mets are in an unenviable spot of having to play on Sunday Night baseball, then travel across the country to face the Giants on the road. That is a tough turnaround for any team, not to mention one coming off a three-game sweep and heading into a matchup with baseball’s best team.
Aside from the series finale, the Mets were competitive against the Dodgers, as they lost the first two games in extra innings. However, their offense struggled against the elite pitching of Walker Buehler and Max Scherzer, and they do not catch a break tonight against fellow Cy Young candidate Kevin Gausman (11-5, 2.29).
Three of Gausman’s five losses have come within his last seven starts, and all three have come at home. However, we do not expect a Mets offense that ranks 24th or worse in runs scored, batting average, and OPS to give Gausman much trouble. In addition, the Mets went 25 consecutive at-bats in the Dodgers series without a hit with men on base, so they have not been particularly adept at moving runners and causing havoc offensively.
The Mets have lost their last seven games as an underdog, and the Giants have won each of their previous four games against teams from the NL East. Therefore, we are eschewing the steep moneyline odds and expect San Francisco to take advantage of the weary and stumbling Mets.
MLB Prop Bets
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