We’re nearing the weekend with a jam-packed MLB slate today. The highlight for the USA Best Bet expert team is the offensive showdown between the Braves and Rays in Tampa Bay, but there are also plenty of other exciting matchups to keep an eye on. This includes Alek Manoah’s return after a brief stint in the Minors and Carlos Rodon making his Yankees debut.
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MLB: Detroit Tigers ML (+126) over Toronto Blue Jays Game Time: 6:40 pm ET
Alek Manoah makes his return to the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays, but his struggles earlier in the season raise concerns. Manoah had a disastrous start to the year, posting a 6.36 ERA and a 6.85 xERA in 13 starts. His numbers in various categories ranked in the bottom percentiles, highlighting his struggles across the board. After a particularly rough outing against the Astros, where he allowed 6 runs and 7 hits in just 0.1 innings, Manoah was demoted. Surprisingly, he was sent all the way down to the Florida Gulf Coast League, where he faced younger competition and had a rough outing, surrendering 11 runs and 10 hits in 2.2 innings.
Considering Manoah’s recent struggles and the uncertainty surrounding his return, the Detroit Tigers present an intriguing opportunity. As underdogs with a money line of +126, they offer value in this matchup. The Tigers have been playing solid baseball recently and have the potential to capitalize on Manoah’s struggles. This bet on the Tigers to win outright seems like a favorable option.
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Best MLB Bet: Cincinnati Reds ML (+105) over Milwaukee Brewers
The future is now in Cincinnati as the youthful Reds lineup has come together brilliantly, resulting in an explosive offense. They enter tonight’s game against the Brewers on a five-game winning streak and have won eight of their last nine, propelling them to the top of the NL Central standings. The Reds’ young lineup has been particularly impressive against right-handed pitchers, boasting a 123 wRC+ against righties in the last 30 days, which ranks third in baseball behind only the Braves and Angels. Their challenge tonight comes in the form of former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. While Burnes has had a solid season for Milwaukee, his home and away splits raise some concerns. On the road, he has a 3.76 ERA and limits opposing hitters to a .198 batting average. However, on his home mound, Burnes’ ERA jumps to 4.27.
Cincinnati’s Andrew Abbott is a promising talent. He’s just one of the many rookie sensations on the Reds right now, but unlike Matt McLain, Elly De La Cruz, or Spencer Steer, he’s on the pitching mound instead of at the plate. Abbott boasts a 1.21 ERA in six starts, paired with a 2.68 xERA. He has allowed no more than one run in five of his six starts and has shut down some of the best offenses in baseball, including the Orioles, Astros, and Padres. The southpaw is coming off a career-best performance against San Diego, pitching 7.2 innings of one-run ball and giving up just four hits while striking out 12. Abbott generates plenty of swings and misses with his fastball and curveball combination, and he should continue to excel tonight against an inconsistent Brewers lineup that ranks 26th against fastballs and 24th against curveballs.
Best MLB Player Prop Bets: Zac Gallen Bump Day
Zac Gallen (Diamondbacks) under 5.5 hits allowed (-135)
When it comes to player prop bets, it’s generally best to avoid matchups where pitchers face teams they’ve already seen before. However, given that we’re approaching the All-Star break, it’s difficult to avoid such scenarios. Zac Gallen had a rough outing against Pittsburgh earlier this season in May, allowing eight hits and only recording 11 outs on the road. However, Gallen has been exceptional at home this season, boasting a 1.50 ERA and limiting opponents to a .203 batting average.
The Pirates have struggled as the season has progressed, currently sitting in fourth place in the NL Central and 7.5 games back in the wild-card standings. Moreover, they have struggled against right-handed pitchers over the past 30 days, batting just .221, which is the second-worst in the league, trailing only the New York Yankees.
Expect Gallen to continue his dominant home performance, where he has gone under this line in seven of nine starts and 11 of 18 overall in 2023.
Hunter Brown (Astros) under 2.5 earned runs (-135)
Hunter Brown has been a target for prop bets throughout the first half of the season. He ranks in the 75th percentile in strikeout rate, and his fastball velocity leaves hitters struggling to keep up. While his strikeout prop is appealing for tonight’s game, we’re turning to his earned runs prop instead.
Brown and the Astros face the Seattle Mariners, who have been underwhelming thus far. Despite sitting at a .500 record (43-43), the Mariners have struggled against right-handed pitchers, batting at the third-worst rate in the league and striking out at a 25% clip.
The Astros will likely aim for six innings from Brown, who has surpassed this line in half of his starts. With a reasonably rested bullpen, it’s unlikely that Brown will be pushed past that mark. The Mariners are likely to increase Brown’s pitch count with strikeouts, but we trust Brown to work his way out of trouble.
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