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Top MLB Betting Picks for Monday, August 23rd (2021)

by August 23, 2021
Alek Manoah

For the first time this season, I heard the term “magic number” uttered this weekend. It served as a reminder that we are inching closer to the playoffs, and several division races are about to get real interesting. Those of you who have team futures bets are likely to analyze team schedules for the remainder of the season and determine how likely it is that your teams end the regular season on a positive note.

Though there are just six games on today’s MLB slate, a couple of them are pretty intriguing. First, the Yankees and Braves open a two-game series that will likely leave fans wanting more. They both enter with nine-game winning streaks, which are the two longest active streaks in baseball. And along with the Dodgers, they have been two of the best since the All-Star Break. Then, in the nightcap, the Mariners and Athletics begin a two-game series with significant AL Wild Card ramifications.

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Monday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 137-120-7 (+1.51 units)

White Sox-Blue Jays First Five Innings UNDER 4.5 runs (-120)

The Chicago White Sox have lost three out of their last four series, with the latest coming after dropping two out of three games at Tampa Bay. However, there is not likely to be a lot of panic in the Windy City, especially since FanGraphs still gives them a 100% chance to make the playoffs. They have an excellent opportunity to get their new series against the Toronto Blue Jays off on the right foot when they send Lance Lynn to the mound.

Lynn (10-3, 2.26) is still the current leader at DraftKings with -165 odds to win the AL Cy Young Award but will want a good start to feel better about fighting off the hard-charging Gerrit Cole. Lynn has not lost any of his last nine starts but has not been the innings-eater of late that he is accustomed to being. He has lasted more than five innings just once in his previous five starts, although his last start of four innings was because he was ejected for throwing his belt at an umpire during an equipment check. He has allowed more than three runs just once in his last nine starts and has an OBA of just .190 in three August starts.

Lynn is opposed by Toronto rookie Alek Manoah (5-2, 3.34), who is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in five home starts. In 28.1 home innings this year, Manoah has a 0.95 WHIP and a.170 OBA. 

Given that Lynn has not gone deep into games lately and that the Blue Jays bullpen cannot be trusted, the first five innings under is the safest play. In addition, the under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings between these teams and is 3-0-1 in Manoah’s previous four starts as an underdog. These trends have us feeling better about the game being low-scoring early.

New York Yankees ML (+100)

As stated in the opening of this article, the Yankees and Braves have won 18 consecutive games between them. Per Jessica Brand on Twitter, that stacks up with one of the longest combined winning streaks between two opponents all-time.

Both starting pitchers, Jordan Montgomery (4-5, 3.77) and Huascar Ynoa (4-2, 2.70), are making their second starts after having some time off. Montgomery had a 16-day layoff before his last start as he was on the COVID-19 IL, while Ynoa missed three months with a fractured hand. Therefore, Montgomery should be the sharper pitcher tonight, given the extent of the injuries and the length of their IL stints.

Another small thing the Yankees have in their favor is the benefit of an off-day yesterday as their series finale against the Twins was rained out. Manager Aaron Boone now has a rested stable of relievers that he can trot out if needed, and all should be available to pitch. The Braves are just 2-3 when they have a rest disadvantage against their opponents.

With all due respect to Atlanta’s nine-game winning streak and franchise-record 13 straight road wins, the Braves have beaten up on the likes of the Nationals, Marlins, and Orioles. Conversely, the Yankees have taken series against the White Sox and Red Sox in that span, and they have a larger sample size of winning baseball as they are the Major League’s best team since July 6th.

The Yankees have won their last six interleague games and are 8-2 in their previous ten trips to Atlanta. Thus, the Bronx Bombers are the better bet to keep things rolling tonight.

MLB Prop Bets


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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Baseball, Picks