MLB First Five Innings Best Bets Today: Expert Picks & Predictions for Friday’s Slate (7/21/23)

All 30 MLB teams are in action on Friday, starting with an afternoon matchup between the Cubs and Cardinals. With Shohei Ohtani, Framber Valdez, and Justin Steele, among the day’s starters, will any bats be cooled down in this hitter-friendly warm weather? Let’s take a look at some of the odds and best bets for the First Five Innings on Friday.

MLB First Five Best Bets For July 21

Here’s a look at the best First Five Inning bets for Friday’s slate of MLB games.

Rangers First 5 Innings Moneyline (-110) vs. Dodgers

You truly never know what you’re going to get from Andrew Heaney, who has mixed in some clunkers with his best outings this season, but his last two starts at home were both scoreless. If Heaney can look anything like he did in his last two home starts, he can limit the damage against his former team.

The Rangers are also suddenly red hot again with the top of the lineup hitting much like it did in the first half and some of the unheralded pieces joining in as well.

Tony Gonsolin’s FIP is nearly a full run higher than his ERA, and his last start was his first decent outing in a month. The smart money is on this Rangers offense, at least before Texas’ bullpen gets involved.

Guardians First 5 Innings Moneyline (+102) vs. Phillies

The Guardians will have Gavin Williams on the mound on Friday as the rookie continues to find his footing in the majors. Williams has a 3.94 ERA through five starts and a concerning FIP, but his 1.18 WHIP is encouraging and he’s only allowed one first inning run this season.

So far, it seems like it takes a few innings for hitters to figure Williams out. He struck out plenty of batters in the minors and is nasty enough that the Phillies might not be able to capitalize him until at least the second time through the order. Williams handled the Rangers’ hot offense well last time out and didn’t get punished by the Braves – he should be able to put Cleveland in position for the early advantage.

With Josh Naylor hitting as hot as anyone in the league and Josh Bell starting to show signs of life, the Guardians have a chance to get to Ranger Suarez. Suarez has a 6.70 ERA and .313 opponent AVG over his last three starts. Unless he’s rediscovered something, Guardians +102 over the first five is a nice value.

Braves vs. Brewers First 5 Innings Under 5.5 Runs (-152)

The Braves’ offense is capable of breaking out at any moment, but this is an Atlanta team that has looked a bit shakier since the all-star break and is more prone to early-game offensive explosions at home. Facing Freddy Peralta also won’t be easy.

Peralta has come on strong lately, finally generating the strikeouts he relies on. He’s striking out 12.5 batters per nine over his last five starts, much better than earlier in the season, and shut down the Reds in his last outing.

Mike Soroka has been shaky in his own return, but the Brewers’ offense doesn’t offer much outside of Christian Yelich and William Contreras right now. Under 5.5 through five innings is the right play here.

Royals vs. Yankees First 5 Innings Under 4.5 Runs (+114)

This is a really solid line, considering the two teams. It’s hard to trust Royals starter Alec Marsh, who has struggled in the minors this season, but that almost feels obsolete against the Yankees. New York has changed hitting coaches, played in Colorado, and faced a slew of low-end starters, but the offense still isn’t producing.

The Yankees are averaging just 2.6 runs per game over their last eight games outside of Coors Field. While a return to New York could help, the safer bet right now goes against the Yankees’ dismal offense.

You can’t expect much out of the Royals, either. They’re by far the worst offensive team on the road at just 3.28 runs per game, and Clarke Schmidt has settled in with a 2.83 ERA over his last 11 starts and no more than 3 ER allowed in any of them. At +114, a good price makes the first five innings under worthwhile.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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