MLB Picks for Today: Betting Favorites on the Full Friday Slate (July 23)

Jul 21, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) throws to first base in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

MLB betting analyst Sloan Piva breaks down his favorite picks for Friday’s loaded baseball slate. If you haven’t yet signed up at BetMGM Sportsbook, take advantage of our special offer below!

I’m a sports nut—the more, the merrier. I can juggle multiple sports like my chef friends juggle pots on the stovetop. If you saw my DVR history, you would probably think I have a problem. But ironically, I look forward to this time of year almost as much as I look forward to the start of Fall. For just a little while, us pro sports fans and bettors can focus our attentions 100 percent on the national pastime. What a beautiful thing. 

With MLB Extra Innings now almost exclusively streaming on my many televisions and devices, I now have an even greater advantage when it comes to betting analysis. I already feel confident with my statistical research and analysis, and my ability to look beyond the box score via advanced data metrics. But there’s no better research than actually watching the majority of games. 

We are already rocking and rolling to start off the second half of our MLB season. My RotoGrinders’ MLB Bets of the Day went a scorching 28-14 before I took a hiatus to cover playoff hoops. Yesterday, I resumed my MLB coverage, and proceeded to go 2-1 with my Bets of the Day. That’s a 30-15 record on the year. Shower, rinse, repeat. 

Let’s keep the money train rolling, and dive right into our favorite bets of the Friday night slate. It’s all baseball right now, all the time, and I’ll be with you every single day until they tell me to stop. This is my kitchen, and I’m cooking up winning bets on the regular. Now let’s eat!

All odds are from BetMGM and/or PointsBet. All stats are from or Baseball Reference. 

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Pitching Matchup: Gerrit Cole vs. Eduardo Rodriguez 

MLB Pick: Yankees -1.5 (+150)

My lone blemish on my Thursday night Bets of the Day was picking the Yankees over my hometown Red Sox. Boston ended up prevailing 5-4 in a close one, making me regret I didn’t pick the Yankees on the +1.5 run line. Today, I confidently recommend that you bet the Yanks on the -1.5 run line. The +150 value is well worth the risk, especially with Gerrit Cole on the mound. 

Cole had a disconcerting month of June after the crackdown over ‘sticky baseballs.’ From late May through early July, the Yankees ace saw his ERA rise from 1.78 to 2.91. Given his sudden decline in production, and perhaps because of his ties to the scandalous Astros (his former team), many pundits assumed that Cole was one of the guilty parties in Spider Tack-gate. 

Those pundits have been silenced in July. Cole has absolutely crushed the opposition his last two times out—he pitched a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts against his former club in Houston on July 10, and then pitched a rain-shortened complete game with 11 Ks at home against these very Red Sox on July 17. He amassed 80 combined called strikes and swinging strikes over those two outings. Cole isn’t just hot right now—he’s a scintillating ball of fire. 

The Sox will counter with Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been no slouch against the rival Yanks. But his season-long numbers pale in comparison to those of Cole, with a 5.19 ERA and 1.332 WHIP. New York has been swinging the sticks strong since the All-Star break, and Cole ain’t afraid of no Sox. Second time’s the charm on betting against my boys (no offense, Boston—strictly business). 

Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers

Pitching Matchup: Lucas Giolito vs. Freddy Peralta

MLB Pick: UNDER 7.5 Runs (-105) 

I’m somewhat enjoying the occasional over/under bet in baseball lately, considering at this point in the season we know what we can expect from starting pitchers. We also have a decent frame of reference for gauging offensive performance against said pitchers. 

After a slow start to the season, Giolito has looked very good again. The White Sox ace has 17 strikeouts and just three earned runs over his past two games, including a complete game three-hitter last time out against the aforementioned Astros (damn, those ‘stros are getting run over lately!). 

Meanwhile, Peralta has looked great all year. The 25-year old Dominican is 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 0.898 WHIP, with 135 strikeouts in 98 innings pitched. He averages an MLB-leading four hits per nine innings, and he earned every second of his first All-Star Game appearance.

So, the fireworks are provided by this pitching matchup. And the firepower these starters will be going against will be much less daunting than if both organizations were at full health. Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal, Lorenzo Cain, and Travis Shaw will all be missing from the lineup cards. I like the UNDER here in an interleague battle of first-place squads. If you prefer to bet the moneyline, go with the hotter Chicago team +105. 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies

Pitching Matchup: David Price vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez 

MLB Bet: Dodgers -1.5 First 5 Innings (-110) 

I don’t often advise readers to get this funky, but let’s be serious: nobody should be betting the reeling Dodgers -2.5 on the run line at -110, or -350 on the moneyline. Kenley Jansen would take your money and find a way to burn it with gasoline. In fact, any time you bet the Dodgers as a heavy favorite, I’m convinced Jansen shows up like “Candyman” in the new horror movie. Kenley Man, Kenley Man, Kenley Man…. Aaaah!

But I digress. Los Angeles is still the favorite for a reason—the reigning champs should knock the piss out of the lowly Rockies, who suck worse on the road than the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals (too soon!?). Colorado is 9-34 away from Coors Field—with a mark like that, even Kenley Man would have trouble screwing a game up against the Rockies in LA. But by betting the run line in the first five innings, we avoid any potential Jansen tomfoolery, and focus squarely on the starting pitching matchup. 

David Price may be old, but he’s still very efficient. He’s probably a better pitcher with one eye closed than Chi Chi Gonzalez would be with perfect 20/20 vision. I like Price’s chances of keeping the Rockies at bay, and leading the Dodgers toward a much-needed victory and morale booster. Betting the run line in the first five innings means you profit off a Dodgers lead through five innings, but don’t have to worry about them preserving it through nine. It’s a necessary measure for this club right now, especially with the ridiculously low-value full-game odds.