We’ve got a massive MLB slate to parse through, as we stare down the final Friday in July. It’s been a rewarding first four month of the season from a betting perspective, with our record on article plays currently sitting at 48-40. Let’s aim to get over 50 winning tickets before the calendar flips to August, shall we?
Here’s three wagers I’m considering tonight on the diamond.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Minnesota Twins at San Diego Padres
Twins ML (+105)
This isn’t a line that blows me away — the Padres playing at home likely deserve to be favored in this spot — but the more and more I stare at this game, the more and more I like it for the Twins. First and foremost, Minnesota has been pretty awesome in situations similar to this in 2022, as the team’s 52.4% win rate as a road underdog is the best mark in the American League. The Twins have also been far and away the better offensive unit throughout July, with Minnesota’s 115 wRC+ in the month the seventh-best mark in baseball. For comparison, San Diego has struggled to a 90 wRC+, a figure that ranks below Oakland and Colorado within the same span.
Then there’s our pitching matchup. Blake Snell is the dictionary definition of volatility, mostly due to a ghastly 13.5% walk rate. Basically, Snell doesn’t know where his next pitch is going and you’ll never know which version of Snell is taking the mound on a given night. There’s a reason he’s surrendered at least four runs in four of his last eight starts and just two earned runs or fewer in the other four. It’s maddening. On the other hand, Joe Ryan is about as steady as they come. The rookie has maintained a 2.89 ERA and a 3.35 xERA across 81.0 innings, even posting a 2.05 ERA so far in July. If I had to trust one of these two hurlers, it’s not really a contest.
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Cleveland Guardians at Tampa Bay Rays
Shane Bieber Over 18.5 Outs Recorded (+150)
Is this a trick? Am I missing something? Because I simply can not wrap my head around the long odds on this prop. While Bieber hasn’t been his usual self in 2022 — in terms of both velocity and strikeout rate — he’s still managed to be an absolute workhorse. Heck, the right-hander has recorded at least 19 outs in seven of his last 11 starts. He’s two weeks removed from throwing a complete game against the White Sox on just 95 pitches. He missed out on a Maddux thanks to a seventh inning RBI single from Eloy Jimenez, but still, that’s impressive stuff.
On that last point, Bieber’s been able to consistently work deep into games this season because he happens to be one of the league’s most efficient arms. In fact, among all qualified starters, Bieber’s average of 14.7 pitches per inning is the fourth-lowest in baseball. He doesn’t walk anybody, and while a higher zone contact rate means fewer strikeouts, it also translates into quicker batted ball events, saving his pitch count. With the Rays struggling to a .113 ISO and a 94 wRC+ since the All-Star break, I think Bieber will have little issue finding the seventh inning once again.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies
Team Total: Rockies Over 4.5 Runs (+100)
Julio Urias has been really good this season. Well, he’s been really good pitching anywhere but Coors Field. To wit, in the two starts the lefty has made at altitude in 2022, Urias has surrendered nine runs (six earned) and 12 hits across 7.1 innings of work. Not exactly the pristine box scores we’re used to seeing from the 25-year-old.
However, Urias’ issues make sense. Not only is he dealing with the most well known park factors in all of baseball, but the Rockies have been fantastic at punishing left-handed pitching since Opening Day. The team enters play on Friday owning a .283 average and a .784 OPS within the split — both sitting as the best marks in the National League. That’s overall splits, too. The numbers only get better when you isolate the at-bats that take place in Colorado, where, unsurprisingly, the Rockies lead everyone in OPS (.813) and wOBA (.353). At Coors, at plus-money, I’m taking this bet every time.
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