MLB Best Bets Today: Expert Picks & Predictions for Friday’s Slate (7/28/23)

Let’s take a look at the best bets of the day for 7/28/2023 and make some predictions given the current MLB odds. We’ve officially reached the end of the line for teams waiting to buy or sell; this is the final weekend of baseball before the trade deadline. With players making their case to stay or auditioning for new clubs, and teams trying to figure out if they fall into the category of buyers or sellers, we have a fascinating weekend coming up, full of betting value, and it all starts on Friday night.

New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles: Yankees ML (-120), u8.5 (-105)

Starting Pitchers: RHP Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Grayson Rodriguez (2-2, 6.91 ERA)

I know, I’ve been talking negatively about the Yankees a lot lately, but this is a pretty good spot to bet them. Gerrit Cole is throwing the ball really well, and is making a push for his first-ever Cy Young award as he closes in on Nathan Eovaldi for the best ERA in the American League. He’s also striking out more than a batter per frame, with an even 10 punchouts per 9 innings of work. Yes, Baltimore is in great shape right now, but the season series between these teams is actually tied 5-5, and with the O’s tossing struggling youngster Grayson Rodriguez, -120 is a great spot to invest in Cole.

That being said, it’s not like the Yankees lineup in its current state should go out and score 10 runs. Yes, there’s a chance Aaron Judge could be making his return, but it’s not clear for how long or in what capacity. Regardless, he may not be quite back to 100%, and is not going to single handedly turn around an offense that has been absolutely brutal since he’s been out. With Cole on the bump, this is also a great place to grab an under.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: o9.5 Runs (-115)

Starting Pitchers: LHP Brandon Williamson (2-2, 4.60 ERA) vs. RHP Bobby Miller (6-1, 4.28 ERA)

Even though the scoring total is a bit elevated here at 9.5, it’s not high enough to eliminate the opportunity to make money on what should be a slugfest. Bobby Miller, throwing for LA, has given up 3 or more runs in 5 of his last 6 starts, while Cincy’s Brandon Williamson is beginning to stabilize a bit but rarely faces lineups like LA’s. There aren’t too many such lineups, actually, as the Dodgers currently sit second in baseball in runs scored per game.

It’s not like the Reds are a poor offense either; they’re 10th in the league in per-game scoring and are certainly due for some positive regression after a couple of low-scoring series since the All Star break. Even if they’re not able to contribute more than a few runs, the LA offense has been ripping the cover off of the ball for the most part, and could easily do most of the heavy lifting.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros: Astros ML (-105)

Starting Pitchers: LHP Shane McClanahan (11-1, 2.89 ERA) vs. RHP Cristian Javier (7-2, 4.32 ERA)

This one is definitely a trickier call, but there’s good reason to get behind Houston in this one. It brings me no joy to say this, but the Astros are getting hot at the right time. They’ve been the best team in the American League for quite some period of time now, for one reason or another, and they’re definitely a squad to take seriously at this point in the season. Conversely, the Rays are in a total tailspin. After starting the year on fire, they have played .500 ball for quite some time, and are currently 5-15 in the month of July.

This one looks like a lopsided pitching matchup, but it’s really not. McClanahan is having a nice year but has allowed multiple runs in four straight starts, including four or more in half of those appearances. Javier has not been up to the unbelievable standard he set a season ago, but his numbers have been significantly inflated by a truly horrible pair of starts right before the All Star break; he was tossing a low-3’s ERA before then, and has since stabilized considerably. He’s also a 3.00 ERA pitcher at home, where this game will take place, yet another factor leading me to pick Houston in this series opener.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays: o8.5 (-105)

Starting Pitchers: RHP Lucas Giolito (6-6, 3.79 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (7-5, 3.18 ERA)

Despite a strong starting pitching matchup, there’s a few reasons to be confident that there will be a good amount of runs in this one. First of all, both offenses are rolling, especially the Angels. They’ve scored six or more runs in six of their past seven games, as they seem to be reinvigorated by the choice to keep Shohei Ohtani through this trade deadline.

Speaking of the deadline, this will of course be Giolito’s first start as an Angel. That definitely means he’s had quite the week, moving across the country and getting acclimated to a new ballclub. I don’t think anyone would hold it against him if he didn’t have his best stuff right away, especially because he really hasn’t lately anyways. Before a nice start against Minnesota, he gave up eight runs to the Mets in 3.2 innings of work, and gave up multiple runs in each of his three previous starts.

Gausman, who I have tremendous respect for as a pitcher and has some of the best control in the game, has also been a little bit off lately. He has allowed multiple runs in four of his past 5 starts, and also has dealt with a minor injury situation. These are two tremendous talents, but this is a specific spot where one or both of them could struggle a bit, and either bullpen could also surrender a good amount of runs, especially LA’s.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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