MLB Betting Guide: Friday 7/31/20
numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a line, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.
For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.
Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for today.
Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.
Boston +1.5 (-110): 3-Star Rating out of 5
This one admittedly makes me nervous at first glance, but numberFire's model is uber-confident in the Boston Red Sox runline tonight.
This likely has more to do with them turning this into a shootout, though, as starter Ryan Weber isn't likely to hold the New York Yankees in check. The 29-year-old has bounced around the league as a reliever and spot starter, owning an uninspiring 5.34 ERA across 118.0 career innings. Considering he was lit up for 6 earned runs over 3.2 innings against the Orioles in his first start -- all while registering zero strikeouts -- it's hard to get super excited with how he'll fare tonight.
He'll be opposite lefty Jordan Montgomery, who's a decidedly more talented hurler but one the Sox might be able to get to. Montgomery has missed the majority of the last two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery but owns a career 3.91 ERA with a roughly league average 4.37 SIERA, 21.9% strikeout rate, and 8.0% walk rate.
Given how little he's pitched the past two years, Montgomery is a wild card tonight. However, this is still a fairly formidable Red Sox lineup that collectively posted a 111 wRC+ and 19.9% strikeout rate versus left-handers last year -- both top tier marks. J.D. Martinez in particular has been known to obliterate lefties.
There's always the risk that the Sox get down early if Weber suffers a meltdown, but our algorithm likes this to stay close, giving the Sox runline a 65.96% likelihood of cashing for a three-star wager.
Minnesota +1.5 (-152): 2-Star Rating out of 5
With Shane Bieber's dominant 13-strikeout performance over the Minnesota Twins fresh in our minds, bettors likely won't feel too great about picking the Twins tonight, who get another difficult test against Mike Clevinger.
But let's not forget that the Twins were one of the most dangerous offenses of 2019, as their active roster boasted a 119 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. It takes a really special performance to hold down this team, and even if Clevinger is on his game, we should see the Twins hold up better than they did last night.
The danger is whether or not Twins starter Randy Dobnak can do his part against the Cleveland Indians. His first 2020 start was a mixed bag against the White Sox, and he only managed a 19.5% strikeout rate over 28.1 innings last season. He can get ground balls, though, with a 52.9% rate last year and high marks throughout the minors. And while Cleveland has some potent bats in their lineup, they actually combined for a 96 wRC+ versus righties last year.
Overall, numberFire's model likes the Twins runline to come through 64.82% of the time -- good for a two-star bet.
Over 8.0 (-112): 2-Star Rating out of 5
Eight runs isn't a terribly high bar to overcome, so hopefully, this line stays where it is over the course of the day. Oracle Park suppresses runs, of course, but projected starters Mike Minor and Logan Webb aren't exactly the cream of the crop.
Minor is coming off a solid 2019 campaign, but his 4.51 SIERA suggests he was a bit lucky, and he doesn't have an overpowering strikeout rate. As a fly-ball pitcher, his skillset will play well in San Francisco, but the Giants should be able to roll out a lineup almost entirely of right-handed sticks, and they were collectively a neutral matchup for left-handers last year. Minor did perform well in his 2020 debut, but it's worth noting that was against a Rockies team away from Coors Field.
Webb hasn't officially been announced for the Giants but is expected to take the mound tonight. He struggled to a 5.22 ERA over eight starts last year, although his 4.45 SIERA was practically identical to Minor's. Even if he suffered some poor luck there, a 21.3% strikeout rate isn't anything to write home about, and he only managed two punchouts in 4.0 innings versus the Dodgers over the weekend.
At the end of the day, we have two middle-of-the-road arms in a pitcher-friendly stadium, so we shouldn't see fireworks like the Boston-New York game. However, we shouldn't be surprised if these two teams can combine for over eight runs, and our model gives that a 53.20% chance of happening. That's good for two stars.