MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Nationals and Rockies (Friday, July 2)
The 2021 MLB season has reached its halfway point, meaning the majority of the league has already played 20 more regular-season games than any club played last season. With COVID summer now nothing more than a (triggering) distant memory, and ‘sticky pitching’ finally being policed, bettors can enjoy making educated wagers without as many unforeseen variables. There’s a lot more to work with halfway through our first full season since 2019, and in turn, there’s a lot more money to be made.
If you followed my Bets of the Day earlier in the season—before I delved deep down the NBA Playoff rabbit hole—you know that my top bets and parlays were crushing it all spring. In particular, my Bets of the Day record was 28-14 when I stepped away to focus on hoops. Well, RotoGrinders Nation, I’m baaack! And while I’m not quite here to reassume by Bets of the Day format, I am here to pick (and grade) a few Friday night games for you.
Let’s dive in! For now, we are going to specifically cover two of the top games on the Friday evening slate. And we’ll give you a bonus parlay at the end, something we will go back to incorporating regularly once the NBA Playoffs conclude. Until then, I hope you enjoy, I hope you hit on all your picks, and I hope you have a fun (and safe) 4th of July weekend!
All odds are via BetMGM and PointsBet. All statistical data is from MLB.com, Baseball Reference, and Baseball Savant.
Nationals MLB Odds & Prediction
- Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
- Pitchers: Julio Urias vs. Max Scherzer
- Run Line: Dodgers -1.5 (+155) | Nats +1.5 (-190)
- Moneyline: Dodgers -105 | Nats -115
- Total: OVER 7.5 (-120) | UNDER 7.5 (+100)
- MLB Pick: Nats -115 (A-), UNDER 7.5 (B-)
Well, what do you know… the Dodgers have tied the Giants for most wins in the National League (50)? Color me shocked that the reigning champions are once again in the thick of things. They still have elite pitching—with an MLB-best 3.19 team ERA and .211 batting average against, and a 1.11 WHIP (2nd-best). They rank in the top three in the majors in runs (408), RBI (388), and OBP (.336). And they have won six games in a row.
Washington, meanwhile, had won seven of its last 10 games—including four straight games—until running into LA’s buzzsaw Thursday. Despite the successful run before this series (and despite a 24-19 home record), the Nats are an underwhelming 40-39 overall. They seem to waffle between high-scoring and low-scoring games, struggling to maintain offensive consistency.
One player who is not struggling right now is veteran ace Max Scherzer. People like Joe Girardi cannot wrap their heads around this guy’s timeless dominance. The 36-year old righty has allowed one or fewer earned runs in nine total starts this season, and surrendered two or fewer runs a whopping 12 times. He has given up two or fewer hits on five different occasions this season, and he has exceeded 100 pitches nine times.
Scherzer has a 2.14 ERA, an 0.849 WHIP, and 119 strikeouts in 88.1 innings. And there’s no place like home—this season at Nationals Park, Mad Max has a 1.96 ERA, 0.677 WHIP, 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings, and .162 BAA.
Even better for the D.C. faithful, Scherzer has a 2.67 career ERA against the Dodgers, to go with a 1.072 WHIP and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings. He has served up just eight dingers and 22 walks to LA batters across 87.2 innings.
So, the chips seem to be stacked against the visiting Dodgers Friday night. And LA starter Julio Urias, in his first full year as a starter, seems to be hitting the midseason skids. Urias has made it through six whole innings just once since May 29, and he has seen his ERA balloon from 3.03 to 3.95 in that timespan. He has allowed an average of 8.16 baserunners across those six starts and exceeded five strikeouts just once (granted, that was a 12-strikeout game against the Cubbies last time out, but he still couldn’t get out of the sixth).
Urias had nine wins by June 10, looking almost like a fringe All-Star candidate. But the bespectacled World Series hero has been stuck at nine wins since then. And I would be willing to bet my daughter’s Elmo doll that he won’t get that elusive tenth win Friday night (and that’s not just because Elmo is incredibly annoying). Go with the Nats at home with the ageless wonder known as Max Scherzer.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Nationals 5-2
Rockies MLB Picks
- Cardinals at Rockies, 8:10 p.m., Coors Field, Denver, CO
- Pitchers: Johan Oviedo vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez
- Run Line: Cards +1.5 (-196) | Rockies -1.5 (+165)
- Moneyline: Cards -115 | Rockies -105
- Total: O/U 12 (-110)
- MLB Pick: Rockies -105 (B-)
Some things never change. The mystifying home-field advantage of Coors Field is still very much a thing, despite an otherwise-underwhelming season for its Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are 28-16 in the Mile High City of Denver. They are a staggering 6-31 everywhere else.
At midseason, Colorado’s overall record is 34-47, 17 games behind the NL West-leading Giants. The cannabis-friendly confines of Denver usually welcome the number 420, but it currently represents a sore subject: the Rockies’ winning percentage. Their .420 mark on the season is the third-worst in the National League.
Meanwhile, the visiting Cardinals are just one game below .500 at 40-41, but they have similarly struggled on the road. St. Louis has gone 23-18 at home, but just 17-23 in away games. Hitting has been of particular concern for the Cards, with MLB ranks in the bottom five in team average (.227), OBP (.299), and OPS (.378).
Colorado’s biggest issue, on the other hand, has been pitching. The Rockies rank 25th in the majors in both ERA (4.77) and WHIP (1.39), and 24th in opponent batting average. So, in theory we have a very stoppable force (Cards’ offense) meeting a very moveable object (Rockies’ pitching).
We also have a dreadful pitching matchup. Chi Chi Gonzalez and Johan Oviedo both have ERAs over 5.00 on the season and in their careers. I’ll be giving the slight edge to Gonzalez and the home club. Chi Chi allows fewer baserunners than Oviedo, who is six years younger. The elder is also coming off a five-inning, one-run outing at Milwaukee, whereas Oviedo got lit up by the Pirates for five runs at home Sunday.
Colorado still has Trevor Story, at least until the trading deadline, and they have a .636 winning percentage at home. As long as the magic is alive at Coors Field, they are worthy of your wagers in a pitching matchup that’s basically a wash.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Rockies 7-4
Nationals -115 vs. Dodgers (Scherzer vs. Urias) – you already know. Mad Max might be playing even madder after Joe Girardi falsely accused him of using sticky stuff. Side note: Is that hair gel?
Rockies -105 vs. Cardinals (Chi Chi Gonzalez vs. Oviedo) – the Cards’ offense has been atrocious, and so has been the record of visitors to Coors Field. Give it to me, Chi Chi (uh-huh, uh-huh!).
Athletics -1.5 (+170) vs. Red Sox (Montas vs. Eduardo Rodriguez) – I wanted some positive value to add to the parlay, so I’m going with the A’s at home. Montas has quietly allowed two or fewer runs in three of Oakland’s past four games, and he has exceeded three earned runs just twice since April 21. Boston is great, but the Sox have always hated playing in Oakland.
Total Parlay Odds: +884
Total Bet: $25 | To Win: $442 | Total Payout: $492