We’ve got one day of baseball left before the MLB Trade Deadline, but big things are already happening. In the interest of time here on this Sunday morning, we won’t have a DFS look, but we will break down the MLB betting card to find some opportunities on a day of uncertainty for a lot of players. There are still plenty of betting opportunities available and we’ll break all of those down for this final day of July.
Before we do that, let’s see how yesterday went. A lean on the Rays got us started on the right foot and it continued with the White Sox over the Twins. Jorge de la Rosa was solid for the Rockies, but the game still went over the total for a winner there. The Rangers won in a stunning pitcher’s duel with Ian Kennedy and Martin Perez. Hector Santiago stayed hot and I can’t wait until he retires.
Our focus, as it always is, will be on the games that provide a lot of line value and those that give us the opportunity to dig deep and find the wagering angles and betting tips that will produce winners.
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Per usual, the games with big lines will be overlooked, unless there is something particularly noteworthy about them or a play on the underdog is a possibility. Also, day games are usually skipped due to the lead time of the article. That will not be the case on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Sundays when there are a lot of day games.
New York (AL) (-115) at Tampa Bay; Total: 7
This is one of the few spots where the Trade Deadline has some handicapping impact. The Yankees just made it very clear that they have sold on the season. With the trade of Andrew Miller, the signs are all there. This number is already moving as I write, so readers are going to get the worst of it, but this is a clear spot to take the Rays. The Yankees have been pretty brutal against LHP this season and Blake Snell is a good one with a lot of upside.
Situationally, this is an ideal spot to take the Rays, so we’ll simply roll with that as justification. If Michael Pineda shines against a lineup that can’t hit RHP, so be it. But, the Yankees are going to take the field with a dark cloud hanging over them and this is a position that they have not been in very often.
St. Louis (-115) at Miami; Total: 8
It’ll be the debut start for Andrew Cashner as a Miami Marlin and the hope is certainly that his start will go better than Colin Rea’s did. Rea left hurt for the Marlins in his debut outing yesterday. With Andrew Cashner, the fastball is still explosive and he looked like a prized pig on this starting pitcher trade market. But, health is an endless concern and performance has been as well.
The caveat here is that he goes from an awful Padres team defensively to a pretty good Marlins one. That can really elevate him because his strikeout rate is a bit below league average and he issues a few too many walks. On the other hand, he’s given up too many home runs this season. This is a one-year blip with homers and Marlins Park is a much better yard for limiting dingers. There are some reasons to like Cashner. I don’t know how many there are today.
The Cardinals turn to Carlos Martinez. He’s been brilliant this season with a 2.87 ERA, a 3.69 FIP, and a 3.92 xFIP. His 57.4 percent ground ball rate is spectacular and he’s done a better job of learning how to pitch to contact this season. It keeps him in the ballgame longer and he’s actually been able to add and sustain velo a little better this season. He’s a very underrated pitcher around the league and in handicapping circles. There aren’t many with raw stuff like his.
I think this is an under spot. It’s a getaway day Sunday matinee with a great pitcher in Martinez and a guy that gets a serious defensive upgrade, so his total price point may be a little bit skewed.
Kansas City at Texas (-130); Total: 10.5
Gee, this game sucks. See what I did there? Dillon Gee goes for the Royals against Lucas Harrell for the Rangers and…yeah. This is your reigning World Series champ and current AL West leader and this is the matchup we get on a Sunday. Anyway, there has to be an edge with a pitching matchup this bad, right?
Who knows. Honestly, this is a terrible series. The Royals are mailing it in and should take advantage of the sellers’ market, if they can. The Wade Davis news is pretty crippling, since relief pitching is going for some very lofty prices. The Rangers have turned it around here recently, so they’re riding a little bit of a wave.
Gee has made six starts and 14 relief appearances and owns a 4.54 ERA with a 4.98 FIP and a 4.65 xFIP. Harrell just made five starts with Atlanta and posted a 3.38 ERA with a 3.68 FIP and a 5.16 xFIP. These are two lackluster starters. You can make an argument that Harrell is a big of an unknown, since he hasn’t really pitched since 2013 while dealing with a myriad of injuries. The Rangers are a really solid defensive team, which is why some of their bad starters have been able to make it in the big leagues.
Unfortunately, no, I don’t see a way to go at this one. You can make a situational case for Texas with the Royals heading out of town and falling further out of contention. If you want to lay that price on Harrell, I can’t stop you.
Boston (-105) at Los Angeles (AL); Total: 8.5
This is a really fun game to handicap. Steven Wright’s regression has hit here of late. Tyler Skaggs dominated in his rehab starts and then threw a gem in his first MLB start of the season. There’s a lot of recency bias in this number and I think it’s providing a ton of value on Boston.
Wright owns a 3.12 ERA with a 3.54 FIP and a 4.42 xFIP over 20 starts. He’s given up at least six runs three times in his last six starts. In this spot, though, I like him a lot. Angel Stadium has some weird shadows from the lights during afternoon games and it’s hard enough to pick up a knuckleball without something like that. That’s going to come into play here in this one and that should help Wright and the Red Sox out.
Tyler Skaggs is a great story. It’s always nice when a guy comes back and throws the ball well after Tommy John. This is a different kind of test, though. Skaggs didn’t miss a ton of bats in his return and the ball was elevated a little bit. He is seemingly pain-free now and we don’t know how long he dealt with issues prior to having surgery, so maybe things will turn around in a big way for him, but that’s a wait-and-see game.
I know what Steven Wright is. I know what the Red Sox are. I know what the Angels are. This price is too short.
Washington (-120) at San Francisco; Total: 8
The Nationals and the Giants are in two very different places right now. San Francisco snagged a big win on Saturday to slow the bleeding a little bit, but they’re hoping Matt Cain can give them a little bit of momentum going into the next season. It’ll be Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals.
I like Gio and feel like he has been mispriced in the market lately. He showed some signs of positive regression and I feel like you can buy in to those. But, the oddsmakers got this one right today and I really don’t see value either way. Matt Cain is bad, but maybe being at home will help. Gio is facing a Giants lineup that rates six percent above league average against lefties, but AT&T Park isn’t great for hitters, so they are only 16th in wOBA.
This is a tough game. I’ll pass.
Be careful with today. There are a lot of enticing lines, but it could be a tumultuous day for a lot of teams. It’s one of those days where it’s best to limit your exposure and maintain your bankroll for another day.