Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, July 29th (2021)

Jul 29, 2021 - 11:36 AM

If you think wagering on divisional matchups with teams more familiar with each other gives you an edge, then Thursday’s slate of MLB games is for you. Of the 11 games on the schedule, ten of them are between divisional opponents. Those bettors with American League Cy Young futures odds will be locked into the Yankees and White Sox games from an individual perspective. The two top frontrunners for the award, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon, each take the mound looking to improve their resumes and inch closer to Cy Young consideration.

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

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

YTD: 116-108-5 (-6.87 units)

Yankees-Rays OVER 7.5 runs (-110)

Many trends point to the under in the series finale between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. The under has cashed in each of New York’s last six games and is 8-1 in Tampa Bay’s last nine games against teams with a winning record. Therefore, consider this a contrarian play, especially since the Yankees have their ace on the mound.

Gerrit Cole (10-5, 2.74) has faced a brutal schedule of opponents in his last five starts, as every game in that span has been against first-place teams (NYM, HOU, BOS). In those games, Cole is just 2-2 and has allowed 13 earned runs in 28.1 innings, which equates to a 4.16 ERA. Outside of a complete game shutout against Houston, Cole has not lasted longer than six innings. The Rays are a pesky lineup that brings a very patient approach to the plate against Cole, making him work for every out. It was not until this season that Cole got his first career win against Tampa Bay, and he is just 1-5 with a 3.82 ERA in ten career starts against them while averaging just over six innings per start. With a Rays lineup that is much deeper now after the addition of Nelson Cruz, we look for them to do their part in scoring runs.

One of the biggest reasons the Rays felt Rich Hill was dispensable for a trade was that they wanted to make room for Luis Patino in the rotation. Patino (1-2, 5.26) is making just his seventh Major League start, and he has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last three outings. He faces a Yankees lineup that is back to full strength with Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela returning from the COVID-19 IL. Judge has homered off Patino in just two career at-bats, and he and the newly acquired Joey Gallo will be a big reason why the Yankees are successful offensively in this one as well.

Pittsburgh Pirates Team Total UNDER 2.5 runs (+120)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have played two games since the trade of slugger Adam Frazier, and they have scored three runs and totaled ten hits in that span. Those paltry numbers came against two of Milwaukee’s less-heralded starters in Brett Anderson and Adrian Houser, and now they face a starter with electrifying stuff in Freddy Peralta.

Peralta (7-3, 2.29) ranks fifth in the majors in ERA, is third in WHIP (0.89), second with 12.35 K/9, and his .129 OBA is the best of all qualified pitchers. Nevertheless, the Brewers are cautious with Peralta and the rest of their starting pitchers, going to a six-man rotation for the foreseeable future to keep them fresh for the stretch run. As such, Peralta has not thrown more than six innings in any of his last five starts. However, Milwaukee’s bullpen ERA ranked eighth entering Wednesday, so we trust their relievers to shut down Pittsburgh’s poor offense for nine outs if that is what is required.

Boston Red Sox ML (-115)

The Toronto Blue Jays are starting to get the image that they can beat up on the poor teams but struggle with elite competition. The Blue Jays are 28-39 against teams over .500 and 22-9 against everyone else. Toronto has their best pitcher going today, which means we are getting optimal odds on the Red Sox to finish this series on a high note. 

Toronto’s Hyun Jun Ryu (9-5, 3.44) is coming off one of his shortest outings of the season. He lasted just 4.1 innings and allowed a season-high ten hits to the Mets. Ryu has made 13 starts against teams with a winning record this year, and while he is 4-4 in those starts, he has lost his last three decisions. Ryu is winless in two career starts at Fenway Park, with a WHIP of 1.33 in 12 combined innings.

Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez (7-5, 5.23) left his last start with migraines but says he is completely recovered and fine to pitch today. Rodriguez beat Toronto at home on April 20th, holding them to two runs on just three hits over six innings. Rodriguez has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his last five starts, which followed rough months of May and June, where he pitched to a 7.28 and 6.23 ERA, respectively.

These teams are coming off a doubleheader, which favors the Red Sox given their deeper bullpen. The Red Sox have won five of the last six meetings against the Blue Jays and will close out this series on a high note.

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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