MLB Betting Guide: Thursday 7/29/21
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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 three-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.
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Over 7.5 (+102): 3-Star Rating Out of 5
This Wrigley Field clash gives us a pitching matchup of Luis Castillo versus Alec Mills. The total is only 7.5 runs -- a low number that's usually associated with top-shelf pitching and/or two bad lineups. We have neither here, but what we do have is strong winds blowing in, which is likely the reason for the lowly total.
Despite the wind, our model really likes the over.
Mills gives up a lot of balls in play, holding a meager 18.7% strikeout rate and 7.0% swinging-strike rate. He does a nice job of limiting hard contact (29.4% hard-hit rate), but the lack of whiffs makes him volatile. Over his last two home starts, a span of 10 2/3 innings, Mills has permitted five runs. He hasn't pitched more than 5 2/3 innings in any outing in 2021, so we should see a lot of a Chicago Cubs bullpen that is ninth-worst in reliever SIERA over the last 30 days (4.23).
As for Castillo, he's rebounded well after a miserable start to the campaign. He had a 25.6% strikeout rate in both June and July after posting unusually low strikeout totals early. Despite the improved production, Castillo still isn't performing at the level of past seasons, and he's given up five earned runs (seven runs total) in 10 1/3 innings this year against the Cubs.
Our projections forecast a 4.93-4.20 win for the Cincinnati Reds. That's a total of 9.13 runs, and we think the over hits 63.1% of the time. With the over at a +102 price, we give the bet a three-star rating.
Giants Moneyline (+106): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants wrap up their key NL West three-game series today after splitting the first two contests. We're expecting a tight finale, so with the Giants an underdog, that's where the value lies.
San Francisco is sending Johnny Cueto to the bump. The veteran is having a resurgence of sorts, with his 4.13 SIERA his best clip since 2016, which was Cueto's first full season in the Bay Area. While the Dodgers are obviously a difficult matchup, they are short-handed without boppers Mookie Betts and Corey Seager.
The Dodgers will counter with David Price. Price's overall numbers are pretty solid (3.59 SIERA and 21.5% strikeout rate), but only six of his 26 appearances this year have been starts. Just two of those starts went more than three innings, with both of them being his last two outings -- each coming against the blah offense of the Colorado Rockies. The Giants -- who sit fifth in wOBA (.327) -- are going to be a much tougher challenge.
San Fran is listed at +106 on the moneyline, but we project them to win 56.3% of the time. Taking the Giants to win outright is a two-star bet, per our model.