After the two slowest sports days of the year, it’s nice to have a full-slate of baseball to bet on this evening. 28 of the league’s 30 teams are in action on Friday, and due to some reshuffling at the All-Star break, we’ve got a whole lot of aces taking the mound. It’s basically our second crack at Opening Day. Who doesn’t love that?
We went 1-1 on a pair of plus-money wagers on Thursday night, putting our record at 44-38 on article plays for the season. Here are three more bets to consider.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
This is a very low total, especially for a potent lineup like the Braves, but the Angels with Shohei Ohtani on the mound are the closest thing baseball has to run repellant. Let’s start with Los Angeles’ offense. In the month of July, no team is even in the same stratosphere of awfulness as the Angels, who enter play Friday ranking dead-last in average (.183), ISO (.077), wOBA (.238) and wRC+ (51). As a whole, Los Angeles has struck out in 32.7% of its plate appearances since July 1. It’s truly insane stuff, and with Mike Trout now on the IL, I’m not sure I see things getting better anytime soon.
The bright spot for the Angels’ franchise as been Ohtani, as the reigning MVP has taken a major step forward on the mound in 2022. Across 87.0 innings, Ohtani has maintained a 2.38 ERA and a 2.27 FIP. Yet, somehow, he’s managed to be even better in his past six starts, pitching to a pristine 0.45 ERA with an otherworldly 1.02 FIP. In his last 39.2 innings of work, Ohtani’s allowed just two earned runs while striking out 58 batters. With a few extra days of rest, Ohtani should have plenty in the tank to keep this Atlanta attack at bay.
Oh, boy. There are a couple things that scare me about this play. First and foremost, the Mariners are the hottest team in baseball, having won 14 games in a row and 22 of their last 26 overall. That’s pretty damn impressive. Yet if I’m being honest with myself, the bigger mental hurdle is the presence of Marco Gonzales, who I constantly bet against to no avail. Now, in my defense, Gonzales is not a good pitcher. The lefty does a slightly above-average job at suppressing opponent hard contact, but in 2022, Gonzales has a 5.00 FIP and sits in the 22nd percentile of qualified starters in both xERA and xwOBA. He’s the dictionary definition of an innings eater.
So, on I go, betting the Astros to take down Seattle on the heels of a doubleheader. I probably shouldn’t paint such a bleak picture. Houston is 16-5 in its last 21 contests against opponents above .500 and the team now sits just 2.5 games back of the Yankees for the best record in MLB. Also, Jose Urquidy may finally be rounding into form. The RHP struggled to start the season, however, in his past five outings, Urquidy is in possession of a 2.43 ERA. Combine that with a lineup that’s produced a 121 wRC+ in July — a mark that’s better than that of the red-hot Mariners — and it’s not hard to see how Houston is a road favorite in this spot.
Consider this an alternative to betting directly against Seattle — or possibly the beginning of a same-game parlay. I’ll keep this one short and sweet, just like Altuve. The All-Star has crushed left-handed pitching this season to the tune of a 1.027 OPS. In 85 plate appearances within the split, Altuve has also produced a .364 ISO and a 190 wRC+. There are no secrets between Altuve and Gonzales, who have squared off 37 times in their careers. However, with the LHP’s inability to generate strikeouts, Altuve will have little issue putting the ball in play. Four or five batted ball events should be all we need to get over this prop.
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