The Sunday before the MLB All-Star Break is one of the most tricky days of the season to handicap. While every team is mathematically still alive for the playoffs, it is challenging to gauge different teams’ and players’ motivation levels. Some teams are eager to finish the first half on a high note, while many players’ minds will be in another place, longing to enjoy the four-day break with their families and friends that they do not get at any other point in the season.
We are confident in our three plays today and trust that the trends and data we have to this point will prove these bets correct.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Sunday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 109-91-4 (+5.35 units)
Braves-Marlins UNDER 7 runs (-110)
The Braves and Marlins have a history of playing low-scoring games in Miami, as the under is 5-2-1 in their last eight meetings there. Unlike many other sports, an injury in baseball to one player is not seen as devastating, as there are many other batters in a lineup or starting pitchers in a rotation to make up for one man’s loss. However, certain players transcend that rule, and Ronald Acuna Jr. is one of them. Acuna was carted off the field in yesterday’s win after crashing into the outfield wall and was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Without Acuna’s bat in the lineup, Atlanta’s offense will find difficulty scoring runs.
Miami’s Pablo Lopez (4-5, 2.94) does not present the most formidable opposition to Atlanta from a record perspective, but he has been downright filthy at home this year. Lopez has a 2.03 ERA in ten home starts with a WHIP under 1.00 and a better than 4:1 K:BB ratio. He has been tagged for 11 runs in seven innings of work against Atlanta this year, but he will not have to face Acuna, who has hit .389 and slugged .722 (two home runs) against him. Lopez has at least seven strikeouts in five of his last six starts (not counting the start against Atlanta where he was ejected after one pitch) and will look to dominate a Braves lineup that ranks in the top-seven in baseball in most strikeouts.
Atlanta counters with Ian Anderson (5-4, 3.27), who has allowed six earned runs in his last 23.1 innings. He has allowed a .186 OBA in his previous two starts, and his road ERA is almost a run and a half lower than his home ERA.
The under is 4-0-1 in Anderson’s last five road starts against teams with a losing record and is 4-0 in his previous four starts as a road underdog. Look for him to do his part in keeping his team in this series finale.
Phillies-Red Sox OVER 10 runs (-103)
The Phillies and Red Sox are two of the six highest-scoring teams in July. They each rank in the top seven in OPS and home runs in that span, and the first two games of their current three-game series have averaged 14.5 runs per contest. There is no reason to think today will be different.
Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53) has pitched nothing like the ace of the staff he was expected to be. He has been outstanding in his two career starts at Fenway Park, pitching to a 1.80 ERA and recording 13 strikeouts in 15 innings. However, his ERA, WHIP, ERA+, and HR/9 are all projected to be his worst since 2016, so something is clearly off with him. In his last seven starts, he has a 6.00 ERA, including allowing 11 earned runs in his previous 10.2 innings.
Boston’s Nick Pivetta (7-3, 4.09) will be eager to face his former teammates for the first time this season. However, his last two home starts have been dreadful, allowing six earned runs apiece to the Royals and Blue Jays. Seven home runs have undone him in those 9.1 innings, which is a recipe for disaster against a Phillies team with 17 home runs in their last nine games. Phillies slugger Bryce Harper has taken Pivetta deep twice in nine career at-bats and could be an exciting play for home run player props.
The over is 7-0 in Philadelphia’s last seven games and is 5-1-1 in Boston’s last seven home games. Expect more fireworks tonight.
Tampa Bay Rays ML (+108)
The Tampa Bay Rays are one of the streakiest teams in baseball. This is what their last 26 games look like: six-game winning streak, five-game losing streak, four-game winning streak, seven-game losing streak, four-game winning streak. Their current six-game winning streak gives us confidence they will end the first half of the season on a high note.
The Blue Jays are just 1-6 in their last seven games against a left-handed starter, with their most recent loss coming against Tampa Bay’s Ryan Yarbrough. The Rays throw their best lefty at Toronto today in Rich Hill (6-3, 3.65), who has lost just once in his last seven starts. Conversely, the Rays are 7-3 in their previous ten home games against a left-handed starter. Toronto’s Robbie Ray (6-4, 3.36) has a 3.58 ERA on the road this year and has allowed 12 home runs in just over 50 innings. His K:BB ratio is 5:1 on the road compared to 7:1 at home, so look for the pesky Rays lineup to frustrate Ray, who is used to punching out batters at a high clip.
With Rich Hill on the mound, the Rays deserve to be favorites for that reason alone. The fact that they are underdogs is puzzling, and we certainly do not want to oppose them now in the middle of their winning streak.
MLB Prop Bets
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