The final MLB series of the first half are about to conclude. All-Star festivities get started on Sunday with the always highly-anticipated Futures Game, the loaded Home Run Derby field takes the main stage on Monday night, and the All-Star Game itself kicks off on Tuesday.
The Home Run Derby and its new bracket format is always a fun event to bet on, but aside from that contest, we’re about to embark on a few-day trip without many betting options in the baseball world. Saturday’s slate holds extra importance, so let’s set the tone for a profitable second half of the baseball season and close out the first half with a few winners.
Here are my two favorite bets for Saturday.
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
Miami Marlins ML (-110)
The Marlins, despite not being anywhere near true playoff contention, have become one of the more fun teams to root for in baseball. They’ve got a ton of exciting young players and seem to have turned a bit of a corner over the last week or so. I like their matchup with the Braves, and I expect Trevor Rogers to dominate yet again.
Rogers has been one of this season’s breakout stories in the National League. He’s fifth in all of baseball with a sparkling 2.22 ERA, but his 7-5 record holds him out of the spotlight a bit by no fault of his own. He’s struck out 118 batters in just 97.1 innings (10.9 strikeouts per nine), his WHIP is just a shade above one (1.048), and he’s surrendered just five long balls all year (0.5 home runs per nine). This isn’t a fluke. This guy is a legitimate starting pitcher in this league.
With eight strikeouts tonight, Trevor Rogers brings his total to 157 and ties José Fernández for the most strikeouts in 24 career Marlin starts
— Farm To Fame (@FarmToFame_) July 6, 2021
Rogers also hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his 17 starts this year. In fact, he’s held opponents to two or fewer runs in 16 of his 17 outings. It’s been utter dominance this year from Rogers, including a three-hit, two-run, seven-strikeout effort against these Braves all the way back in April. In his brief career, the Marlins lefty has struck out Braves hitters at a 30.6% rate – a bad sign for a team who strikes out 9.33 times per game (23rd in MLB). He should find even more success today against Atlanta.
The Braves will send Max Fried to the mound against the Marlins’ ace. Fried has had a rocky first half of his season, and to boot, he hasn’t been very effective against Miami in his career. Fried sports a 4.66 ERA – the worst mark in his five-year career by a wide margin and only the second time he’s had an ERA above four. Fried has allowed four or more runs four times already in 2021, and Atlanta is just 6-7 in games he takes the hill.
Fried is allowing a .333 batting average to Marlins hitters for his career, and despite the expected batting average being a bit lower (.299), it’s still a worrisome metric. He’s also only striking out Miami batters at a 17.0% rate, and this Marlins team is going to scratch, claw, and drive his pitch count through the roof. Fried is coming off an abysmal outing against the light-hitting Pirates, where he allowed six runs on seven hits, including a home run in just five innings of work. Miami hits the long ball at a slightly higher rate against left-handers as well (3.1% rate vs. lefties; 2.9% vs. righties), so I’m not expecting a bounce-back from Fried; I expect a duplicate performance from his last start. Marlins to snap a two-game skid, lock it in.
Mets / Pirates Game 2 Under 7 (-125)
Some books have this total at 6.5, some at 7. Many of the 6.5 lines are at plus money, but it’s just a tick too low for me. I’m willing to lay a bit extra to get the round number of seven in the second edition of today’s doubleheader between Pittsburgh and New York.
These two teams are dead-last in runs scored; The Mets are 29th at 3.76 runs per game, and the Pirates are 30th at 3.51 per game. Keep in mind those averages are for nine-inning games. We’re playing seven tonight, and combined, these teams barely eclipse the seven-run total.
The second leg of doubleheaders has been prone to lower scoring this year, much in part to the seven-inning rule. Teams are averaging just 6.0 combined runs per game in the second game and coupled with the fact that these two teams already struggle on offense on a nightly basis, we could be in for a bit of a snoozer – which is obviously great for the under. Ironically, both the Pirates and Mets also average exactly 6.0 runs per game in the second game of a double-dip, so we’ve got a few trends leaning in our direction with the under.
Tylor Megill will start for the Mets; Max Kranick for the Pirates. Neither pitcher has faced their anticipated opponent in his career, so expect a bit of a feeling-out process and a slow start to this one. In any game, that’s great for the under. In a shortened game, it’s even better. Despite making just three major league starts, Megill has been impressive and has gotten stronger in each outing. He sports a 3.77 ERA, and he’s only allowed 10 hits in 14 innings of work. In his first start, he only lasted 4.1 innings but held the Braves to just two runs. In his second outing, he doubled his strikeout total from his first start with eight punchouts. And in his most recent effort, he struck out seven and allowed just one run on two hits in five innings. Look for another step forward for the young Mets hurler against a bad Pirates lineup.
Max Kranick (@MaxKranick) will make his 2nd MLB start Saturday night against the New York Mets at Citi Field! Kranick threw 5 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts in his MLB debut on June 27th. pic.twitter.com/tPdBizNmxQ
— Baseball U PA (@BaseballUPA) July 9, 2021
Kranick is making just his second major league start after being called up for the doubleheader today. Don’t let that scare you off; Kranick wasn’t demoted because of performance or because he doesn’t belong on the big stage. According to the team, that was always the plan. But now he’s back, and he was dominant in a rain-shortened first big league start. Kranick donned Gerrit Cole’s number 45 in his debut and looked every bit like the former Pirates ace. He didn’t allow a single hit over five innings, and he threw 36 of his 50 pitches for strikes.
I’m on the under in a battle of young, potentially future studs in this league, and I’m willing to lay a bit extra to get the right number. Take the under 7 here in the second game between the Mets and Pirates tonight.
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