Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Monday, July 26th (2021)

Jul 26, 2021 - 11:14 AM

The worst team in the American League swept a three-game series from a recent World Series champion. In addition, two of the three worst teams in the National League won series from likely playoff contenders, as the Pirates and Marlins won series against the Giants and Padres, respectively.

That is just a glimpse of what a wild weekend in baseball had in store and offered us a cruel reminder of how difficult betting on the sport can be. In addition to those odd results, the Yankees-Red Sox series was a live bettor’s paradise as the winner of three of the four games in the series trailed by two or more runs entering the eighth inning.

As a result, many bettors who were scorned by these results may choose to lay off big favorites or bet on the first five innings lines instead of full game lines to take bullpens out of the equation. However, bettors should be reminded that this was a small sample size of a marathon of a season, and there is no need to completely revamp one’s betting strategies if you have had success in the past.

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Monday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 113-103-5 (-5.07 units)

Reds-Cubs First Five Innings UNDER 4.5 runs (-110)

The Cincinnati Reds have won each of their last four games against the Chicago Cubs and are 5-1 in their previous six games as a road underdog. They are coming off a series against the Cardinals where they won two of three games, as their offense scored at least five runs in each game. However, in a bigger ballpark like Wrigley Field and facing a hot starting pitcher, the better value lies with the under for the first half of the game.

Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks (12-4, 3.61) is unbeaten in his last 13 starts and has lowered his ERA from 6.23 in that span. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last three home starts and has kept the ball in the yard in his previous two home starts. The Reds rank in the top five in baseball with 76 home runs at home but are tied for 27th with just 45 home runs on the road. In their most recent road series, they were held to eight total runs in three games against Milwaukee. While the Cubs’ rotation is not anywhere near as talented as Milwaukee’s, Hendricks can throw a gem against a Nick Castellanos-less lineup.

The Reds counter with Wade Miley (8-4, 2.72), who is quietly having a solid season. Miley does not mind pitching away from the Great American Ball Park, as his ERA, WHIP, OBA, and HR allowed are all better on the road. He is also unbeaten in his last nine starts, and he has allowed just four earned runs in 11.2 combined innings against the Cubs this year.

The under has cashed in each of Cincinnati’s last five road games and is 9-2-1 in Chicago’s previous 12 games against teams with a winning record. Take each team’s shaky bullpen out of the equation, and trust the starters in this one.

Kansas City Royals ML (+105)

The Kansas City Royals took on a Detroit Tigers team that entered their last series on a seven-game win streak. They swept them in three consecutive games, and now the Royals are the ones with momentum as they are riding a five-game winning streak. The White Sox are much more formidable opponents, as they are running away with the division at the moment. However, a big division lead may have them complacent entering this series. In addition, they played on Sunday Night baseball and had to travel late to get to Kansas City, which factors into this decision as well.

Chicago’s Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 4.22) is the weak link of this starting rotation littered with studs like Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, and Carlos Rodon. He has an ERA that is nearly an entire run higher on the road than at home. His .284 OBA and 1.53 road WHIP are worrisome, as is the fact that he has allowed 11 earned runs in his last 13.2 road innings.

Keuchel is opposed by Kansas City’s Mike Minor (7-8, 5.45), who has held current White Sox hitters to a combined .229 batting average and .314 slugging percentage in 82 combined plate appearances. The White Sox remain without catcher Yasmani Grandal (left-knee tendon) and outfielders Eloy Jimenez (pectoral muscle) and Luis Robert (hip flexor muscle). In their absence, outfielder Andrew Vaughn continues to impress was batting .356 (26-for-73) with five homers and 12 RBIs over his past 21 games entering Sunday, but he is 0-for-5 lifetime with one strikeout against Minor.

The White Sox are 10-1 in their last 11 games in Kansas City, but a hot Royals team is a good value play against a tired White Sox team with a vulnerable starting pitcher on the mound.

Rockies-Angels First Five Innings UNDER 4 runs (-105)

The Shohei Show takes center stage as the Angels open a three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies still own baseball’s worst road record at 10-35 but were much more competitive in their latest series against the Dodgers. They lost the last two games of that series by one run apiece, but the more problematic thing was that they scored just two total runs in that span. Thus, the under makes the most sense in this series opener.

Shohei Ohtani (4-1, 3.21) has allowed just two earned runs in his last 13 innings against two potential playoff teams in the Red Sox and Athletics. He is opposed by Colorado’s German Marquez (8-7, 3.50), who had allowed just three earned runs in his last 36 innings before a poor start against the Mariners his last time out. Even in a poor effort, he limited the damage with four earned runs, scattering seven hits and allowing just one earned run.

The under has cashed in each of Colorado’s last four interleague road games and is 5-0 in the Angels’ previous five games. Look for another low-scoring first half of a game dominated by two outstanding starting pitchers.

MLB Prop Bets

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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