Best Baseball Bets to Make on July 25

Rich Holman highlights Saturday's best bets.

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Cincinnati Reds vs. Detroit Tigers: Run Line
(-1.5 -108 FD, -1.5 -109 DK)

 

The Reds started their season off by toying with the Tigers on Friday. Thanks to a gem by Sonny Gray and the monster bat of Mike Moustakas, the Reds cruised to a 7-1 victory. Other than a solo shot by C.J. Cron, Gray allowed just one base-runner to reach second base while striking out nine. On the other hand, Tigers’ ace Matthew Boyd struggled, allowing nine base-runners and four earned runs through five innings. The Tigers bullpen did no favors by allowing another three runs.

On Saturday, the Reds get an even tastier matchup as Ivan Nova takes the mound to make his Tigers debut. The constant for Nova over the last few seasons is the absence of whiffs. His strikeout rate bottomed out at 14.1% last year, which was next to last among 61 qualified pitchers. With the Reds facing a righty, we’ll see a different lineup than we saw on Opening Day, one which should include Shogo Akiyama leading off.

The Tigers hitters will have their hands full with Luis Castillo, who’s all stretched out and should be on a normal pitch count. Their projected lineup had a 25.1% strikeout rate against righties last year while putting up just a .311 wOBA. I expect this to be a full team victory for the Reds. The Fade The Noise Lineup Optimizer has the projected team totals at 5.7 for the Reds and 3.8 for the Tigers.

Pick: Reds -1.5 

 

Colorado Rockies Total Runs (4.5 FD, 4.5 DK)

 

New year, same old story for the Rockies as they struggled away from Coors in their season opener. Last year, the Rockies ranked 29th in wRC+ in away games. On Friday, Lance Lynn and the Rangers bullpen allowed just three hits (all to David Dahl), shutting out the Rockies for a 1-0 victory. As my colleague Andrew Gould touched on yesterday, Joey Gallo appears correct for now after saying he expected the new Globe Life Park to play as a pitchers’ park.

The Rangers send lefty Mike Minor to the mound on Saturday. Minor will look to build off his success of the 2019 season that saw him put up a 3.59 ERA over 208.1 IP. One would think with righty-sluggers Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story in the lineup that the Rockies would fare better against lefties. However, they put up just a 78 wRC+ against lefties away from Coors last year. That number was tied with the Giants for 28th in the league.

Pick: Under (-118 FD)

 

Boston Red Sox Total Runs (5.5 FD, 5.5 DK)

 

Did anyone else have the Orioles pitching staff struggling out of the gate? Oh, literally everyone? What a surprise (Sorry, Fast). The Red Sox made Tommy Milone and the Orioles bullpen look like, well, Orioles, putting up 13 runs in their season opener. Today, we get the banner matchup of Martin Perez vs. Alex Cobb. In 2019, Alex Cobb threw just 12.1 innings to a 10.95 ERA before being shut down and eventually having hip surgery. In 31 starts for the Orioles, Cobb has posted a 5.36 ERA. On top of that, the Orioles bullpen is hot garbage, again. Fade The Noise also has the Red Sox projected team total at 5.9.

Pick: Over (-124 FD)

 

Phillies vs. Marlins: Total Runs After 3 Innings
(O/U 2.5, -140/+116 FD, -152/+123 DK)

 

The Phillies and the Marlins got off to a slow start on Friday, playing the first 5 innings to a 1-1 tie. The hitters looked clearly behind the pitchers in terms of readiness. It wasn’t until the Phillies’ garbage bullpen came in that the fireworks started going off. Aaron Nola was charged with four earned runs, but this is the sequence after he left the mound — Walk, Wild Pitch, Strikeout, Wild Pitch Scoring Run, Double.

Today we get a fun matchup between Zack Wheeler and Caleb Smith. Wheeler makes his Phillies debut and has dominated the Marlins for his career, going 94 IP with a 1.91 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. I expect more of the same against the paltry Marlins lineup. Caleb Smith was pitching like a man possessed to start the year in 2019, posting a 3.41 ERA in his first 12 starts before a hip injury derailed him. Following a month off, Smith returned to the mound but was not the same pitcher. Smith enters 2020 fully healthy and ready to roll. The Marlins southpaw actually faced the Phillies twice during his hot start last year, holding them to just one run over 12 innings while striking out 14. I expect a low-scoring affair, at least from the outset, and since I don’t want to bet on the bullpens, I’ll take the under after 3 innings.

Pick: Under 2.5 (+123 DK)

 

Lance McCullers Strikeouts (O/U 5.5)

 

If you’ve seen any clips of Lance McCullers pitching in Summer Camp, you know why this is here. He’s throwing straight filth. The key to this play is that McCullers is decently stretched out, throwing 90 pitches in his last tuneup. On top of being stretched out, he gets a matchup with the Mariners, whose projected starting lineup had a 24.5% strikeout rate against righties last year. The over is already juiced at -157 on DraftKings, but I’ll pay the premium as this is one of my favorite plays of the day.

Pick: Over 5.5 (-157 DK)

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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

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