Welcome to the Friday, August 2 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.
8/2/19 MLB Betting Pick:
New York Yankees (68-39) vs. Boston Red Sox (59-51)
The Red Sox starting and relief pitching has collapsed over the past few days, negating the momentum they picked up by winning three straight against the Yankees last week. Now Boston is 10.5 games out of first place in the A.L. East and 3.5 games out of the second A.L. Wild Card spot.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have had a relatively light week. They split a two-game series with Arizona and got to rest their exhausted bullpen on Monday after edging the Sox, 9-6, last Sunday.
Boston will hope to start this series on a high note with mercurial LHP Eduardo Rodriguez taking the mound. Rodriguez is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA over his last five outings, including a win (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER) over the Yankees last Saturday. However, he’s struggled with a 6.14 ERA over his last three starts at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have steadily improved against LHP and now own a .324 wOBA with a 101 wRC+ against lefties. They lead the A.L. with 94 home runs hit at home and boast a collective .263 average along with a 39-18 record at Yankee Stadium.
Losing Luke Voit (hernia) and Gary Sanchez (groin) to injuries certainly diminishes the Yankees lineup, but New York still has several dangerous righties to stack against E-Rod.
They get DJ LeMahieu back just in time, since he can sub in at first base with Edwin Encarnacion at DH. LeMahieu owns an A.L. leading .332 batting average and his presence at the top of the Yankees lineup makes a huge difference.
Gleyber Torres should play second with Gio Urshela at third, and both of those RHB have good splits against the platoon. Add in switch hitter Aaron Hicks (.260 average against LHP) and the dangerous Aaron Judge (.327/.459/.551 slash line against LHP) and you still have a very tough lineup for Rodriguez to handle.
Lefties have flashed plenty of power with a 2.48 HR/9 and .337 wOBA against Rodriguez. Didi Gregorius has been hot lately, but is only hitting .175 in LvL matchups since coming off the IL midseason.
While Yankees LHP James Paxton has been shelled in his last two starts, it’s not as if he’s struggling to miss bats. He owns a lofty 14.2% swinging strike rate and tallied 9 Ks over 4 IP in a loss at Fenway Park last Friday.
Paxton turned in three quality starts prior to his recent blip and he’s been far more reliable with a 3.75 ERA and .238 BAA at Yankee Stadium. Paxton’s posting an alarming 4.73 HR/9 ratio since the ASB, but has a 33.9% K-Rate during that span.
Paxton dominated the Red Sox in a mid-April start and owned a 3.07 ERA with an 11.25 K/9 ratio over his previous five meetings with Boston prior to his rough outing last Friday.
Mookie Betts came into last week’s matchup just 3-for-15 lifetime against Paxton, but promptly homered in his first three at-bats against the LHP to chase him from the game. J.D. Martinez added a key triple and he’s a dangerous adversary for Paxton with a .383 average and an impressive 233 wRC+ against lefties this season.
The Red Sox offense has been red hot a league-leading .367 wOBA and the second-highest wRC+ (126) over the last 30 days. But Boston’s lineup has been boom-bust against LHP with a .205 ISO mark and a low .293 BABIP against lefties this year.
Paxton is posting a 30.1% K-Rate and 1.91 FIP in LvL matchups this year and has generally performed well against lefties Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi. Mitch Moreland is hardly a threat against LHP.
Michael Chavis has been struggling and Boston’s lineup takes a hit with Sam Travis subbing in at 1B or in LF with Steve Pearce (back) out.
Xander Bogaerts is 11-for-28 (.393) with 4 HR during a 7-game hitting streak and has joined Betts and Martinez as a very difficult out right now. Yet Boston is getting very limited production from the catcher spot and that lineup can be handled if Paxton keeps the ball in the yard.
The Final Word
As is the case with most Yankees games, we lean towards the Over (10 runs on FanDuel Sportsbook) without much hesitation. Both Paxton and Rodriguez have been homer-prone and Yankee Stadium is a very hitter-friendly park.
Games involving the Red Sox have gone Over the total 61.7% of the time and Yankees games have gone Over 57.3% of the time this year. Yankees games have gone Over in 56% of contests where they’re slated as the favorite.
The Yankees are a good bet on the Moneyline (-130 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook) with plenty of support from the betting community.
Over 80% of money and 60% of bets are on the Yankees tonight, indicating that sharp bettors are all over the home team with their stalwart leadoff man (LeMahieu) scheduled to return.
Rodriguez has not had a good track record against the Yanks and Paxton has flashed plenty of ability against the Sox. Even if Rodriguez pitches well, Boston’s bullpen has been a disaster lately and the Yankees rank sixth in the Majors with a 3.89 ERA out of the pen.
The Lean: Over
The Pick: Yankees Moneyline