Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Wednesday, July 28th (2021)

Jul 28, 2021 - 11:26 AM

Most of the buzz this week has been surrounding the trade deadline and what contenders will make moves versus which teams out of contention will sell. There is no doubt that moves made this week will immediately impact betting lines, but they will also alter futures odds and the outlooks of specific teams for the rest of the season.

However, one of the more under-the-radar storylines lately has been COVID-19 rearing its ugly head once again. The Yankees have trotted out a much weaker lineup than usual for the last week with several big bats on the COVID-19 IL. And just in the previous 24 hours, Christian Yelich and Trea Turner have tested positive for the virus as well. Thus, bettors must stay as current with injury news as trade deadline talks, as the absence of those two bats for their respective teams are significant.

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

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

YTD: 115-106-5 (-6.07 units)

Detroit Tigers ML (+120)

It may seem blasphemous to back a Detroit Tigers team that had lost four straight games and eight consecutive road games before last night. To top it off, five of those eight road losses had come against their current opponent, the Minnesota Twins. However, we are backing the underdogs because not all wins are created equal, and last night’s come-from-behind win could have lasting ramifications today.

Down to their final two outs and trailing by four runs, Tigers catcher Eric Haase tied the game in the ninth with a grand slam, and Detroit eventually prevailed 6-5 in the 11th inning. However, there would have been no dramatics if not for the bullpen throwing seven scoreless innings between five relievers.

Minnesota’s J.A. Happ (5-5, 6.14) faces the Tigers for the fourth time this season and the third time this month. After a stellar first start in which he held Detroit to one earned run, Happ has been tagged for ten earned runs and 19 hits in his last 14 innings against the Tigers. For his career, Happ is 4-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) against Detroit, which is the second-highest ERA against any opponent from the AL Central.

Opposing Happ is Detroit’s Wily Peralta (3-2, 2.56), who has allowed just one earned run on six hits in 12 combined innings against the Twins this year. Peralta has a minuscule .181 OBA, and 0.97 ERA in four July starts and has held current Twins to a combined .146 batting average in 57 plate appearances.

Based on the starting pitching trends, it appears the wrong team is favored. While the Twins are 6-0 in Happ’s last six home starts, he opposes a Tigers team that is 11-1 in their last 12 Wednesday games. Detroit has getaway day figured out, and they will take the series with a win in the finale.

Cardinals-Indians UNDER 8.5 runs (-110)

The under is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings in Cleveland between the Indians and Cardinals, including last night’s low-scoring 4-2 Cardinals victory. With an under-the-radar pitching matchup in store for this afternoon’s series finale, we like the under to cash once again.

There might not be a single pitcher in baseball hotter at the moment than St. Louis’s Kwang Hyun Kim. Kim (6-5, 2.88) is 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last eight starts. He had a 19-inning scoreless streak broken in his previous start but held the Cubs to just two runs on two hits over six innings. Kim has allowed more than two earned runs just once since June 15th, and his stuff is fooling hitters more lately, as evidenced by totaling seven strikeouts in two of his last three starts.

Cleveland’s rotation is in shambles with all of their injuries, but their best healthiest starter is Zach Plesac. Plesac (5-3, 4.30) is unbeaten (4-0) in his last nine starts and is now three starts removed from a month-and-a-half-long IL stint. He has thrown at least six innings in each of his previous two starts, suggesting he is comfortable with a high pitch count and can once again give his team’s bullpen much-needed rest.

The under has cashed in each of Kim’s last four starts following a quality start and is 4-0-1 in Cleveland’s last four games against teams from the NL Central. Look for another pitcher’s duel tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 runs (+150)

Ever since Corey Kluber went down with an injury on May 25th, the Yankees have been looking for a reliable starter at the back end of the rotation to make up for his absence. For the last month, they have used Nestor Cortes (0-0, 1.95) as a spot starter after his first seven appearances were out of the bullpen. Cortes has been known to throw from many different arm angles as a means to keep hitters off-balance. Now that he has thrown more innings recently, there is more film to scout his unique tendencies, so he should not easily fool Rays hitters in this one.

Tampa Bay’s Michael Wacha (2-2, 5.16) has allowed three earned runs or less in three of his last five starts. His 4.13 ERA at home is more than two full runs lower than his road ERA. Manager Kevin Cash will not be afraid to turn to his top-ranked bullpen at the slightest bit of trouble, even if that means four short innings from Wacha. The Rays are 5-0 in Wacha’s last four starts as a home favorite, so he is not as much of a liability as his ERA suggests he may be.

The Rays are 12-6 in their last 18 home games against the Yankees but are a bit too undervalued with Wacha on the mound tonight.

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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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