Welcome to the Friday, July 26 edition of the MLB Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one MLB bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
7/26/19 MLB Betting Pick:
Boston Red Sox (57-47) vs. New York Yankees (66-36)
Our picks of the Over and the Red Sox Moneyline last night produced with ease, as Boston rallied for a decisive 19-3 win in the first of this four-game series.
Of course, the Yankees are 22-13 after a loss and a league-best 23-12 against the spread after a loss. They’re certainly capable of bouncing back tonight at Fenway.
Boston made a puzzling move to acquire journeyman RHP Andrew Cashner, who promptly allowed 9 ER and 4 HR over his first two starts for the Sox. Cashner starts tonight against a very dangerous Yankees lineup that ranks second (to Boston) with a collective .369 wOBA over the last 30 days. Cashner owns a career 7.9% swinging strike rate and 11.2% HR/FB ratio. He’s posted a 6.61 ERA over his last seven outings against the Yankees. He also posts poor reverse platoon splits with a .276/.328/.514 slash line and 2.17 HR/9 ratio allowed when facing RHBs.
While Cashner has been worse versus RHBs, Yankees lefties Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius are a combined 13-for-40 (.325) against him. Then, DJ LeMahieu is 8-for-25 against Cashner and continues to set the table for the Yankees’ third-ranked offense.
Aaron Judge (4-for-13) and Gleyber Torres (6-for-13) have also found success in small samples against Cashner. Luke Voit is a ridiculous 5-for-7 with a HR and two doubles against the overmatched RHP. Down the line, Edwin Encarnacion is 3-for-9 in his career against Cashner, as is backup catcher Austin Romine, who might start with Gary Sanchez (groin) on the shelf.
New York clearly has the advantage in this pitching matchup with overpowering LHP James Paxton taking the mound. While Paxton has been hampered by injuries and generally struggled since April, he’s flashing the same velocity on his heater and same movement on his cutter that made him a borderline ace with Seattle.
Paxton’s location has been an issue, so perhaps he’ll improve with Romine or Kyle Higashioka doing the catching. Both are better defensive catchers than the slugging Sanchez.
Paxton did dominate the Red Sox (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 12 Ks) in a mid-April start and posted a 3.63 ERA with a 10.4 K/9 ratio over his previous three meetings with Boston. Yet now the Red Sox are on fire with a league-best .373 wOBA and 131 wRC+ over the last 30 days.
Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, and Andrew Benintendi have all helped that surge, but Paxton is posting a 30.1% K-Rate and 1.91 FIP in LvL matchups this year. Boston could counter by moving Michael Chavis over to first base or starting Sam Travis while bringing Mitch Moreland off the bench. The Sox will miss RHB Steve Pearce (back) in this matchup.
While Xander Bogaerts had a huge night in the 19-3 victory, he’s hitting only .287 against LHPs this season. Mookie Betts has also struggled against lefties and is 3-for-15 lifetime against Paxton. J.D. Martinez is a solid 4-for-11 against Paxton and remains one of the most reliable bats in Boston’s lineup.
The Final Word
The Over (11.5 runs on DraftKings Sportsbook) remains a strong bet in a battle between two of the hottest offenses in the league. The Yankees lead the Majors with a 119 wRC+ against RHP this year. And Cashner has not posted a SIERA below 5.00 since 2016.
Because Paxton is capable of dominating, taking the Under on a contrarian bet could pay off where the total sits at 11.5 runs.
Then, since Cashner is certainly capable of getting rocked, we like the Yankees to bounce back with a decisive win.
The Yankees odds on the Moneyline (-139 odds on 888sport.com) are worse with Paxton taking the bump, but they’re +118 on the Run Line (-1.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook) on that same site. We don’t necessarily expect a close game and are willing to fire on the Run Line on sites where it makes sense.
The Lean: Yankees Moneyline
The Pick: Yankees Run Line