Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 7/22/2017, Opening Line Report
There has been a change on the BetOnline prop for which player leads the majors in homers in 2017. Yankees rookie Aaron Judge has been the favorite for months, but he's ice cold since the All-Star break. Judge has been caught at 30 homers (as of this writing) by Miami's red-hot Marlin Giancarlo Stanton (who was surprisingly knocked out in the first round of the All-Star Home Run Derby won by Judge). Entering the weekend, Stanton has nine homers in his past 10 starts. His nine HRs this month are a franchise record for July. His career high for home runs is only 37 because Stanton has had trouble staying healthy. He hit 27 each of the past two seasons when he played 92 and 119 games, respectively. Stanton has played more than 145 games only once in his eight seasons. He is now +175 to win his first home run crown with Judge at +225. Incidentally, you are starting to hear some Stanton trade rumors, but I highly doubt it happens for three reasons: 1) the Marlins are close to being sold; 2) he's the face of the franchise following last year's death of Jose Fernandez; 3) Stanton has a ridiculous contract.
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Cardinals at Cubs (-166, TBA)
Fox Sports 1 national TV game at 4:05 p.m. ET. Will the Cubs have Kris Bryant back in the lineup? He was likely to sit Friday's series opener after injuring his finger on a headfirst slide Wednesday. The Cubbies start lefty Jon Lester (6-6, 4.07). He had the worst start of his career right before the All-Star break, was given some extra rest and dominated the Braves in Atlanta on Monday in allowing one run and three hits over seven. Lester is 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three outings vs. St. Louis this year. Yadier Molina is 12-for-30 off him with a homer. Matt Carpenter is just 5-for-28 with nine strikeouts. The Cards' Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.08) has won four starts in a row. He tends to allow two earned or fewer or get bombed. Wainwright is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts this year vs. the Cubs. Addison Russell is 6-for-12 off him with three doubles.
Key trends: The Cards are 11-3 in Wainwright's past 14 vs. the Cubs. The "over/under" has gone under in five of his past six vs. Chicago. The under is 6-0 in Lester's previous six against St. Louis.
Early lean: Cubs and under (if wind not blowing out).
Padres at Giants (-143, 8.5)
A 4:05 p.m. ET start from AT&T Park. ESPN's Buster Olney had an interesting column the other day about which five guys around baseball have ruined their trade value the most this season since the end of last year. Saturday's Giants starter, lefty Matt Moore, was on that list. As he should be with a 3-10 record and 5.81 ERA. I'm frankly shocked as he pitched pretty well last year after being acquired from the Rays and has great stuff. Yet his rate of hard-hit balls has jumped to 36.2 percent, a career worst. Moore does come off a rare quality start vs. Cleveland (7 IP, 2 ER). He hasn't faced San Diego this year. The Friars' Luis Perdomo (4-5, 4.94) had a three-start winning streak end Monday, allowing seven runs in 2.1 innings in Colorado. It was the second-shortest start of his career. Perdomo has a 2.81 ERA in four career outings at AT&T Park. Brandon Belt is 6-for-13 with a homer off him.
Key trends: The Friars are 1-6 in Perdomo's past seven on the road. The Giants are 0-5 in Moore's past five at home. The over is 5-2 in Perdomo's previous five vs. the NL West and in Moore's past 10.
Early lean: Padres on runline and over.
Rangers at Rays (-200, 8.5)
Also on Fox Sports 1 at 7:10 p.m. ET. Monitor the status of Rays slugging outfielder Steven Souza Jr. He left Wednesday's game in Oakland with a hip injury and blamed the crappy field - it is the worst in baseball - because his leg got stuck in the ground as he slid into second base. Souza was probably a little sensitive because he suffered a season-ending hip injury last year. An MRI was negative but he could miss a game or two. The Rays start ace Chris Archer (7-5, 3.91). He threw a fourth straight quality start last time out, allowing two runs over six innings - but walking five - in a no-decision at the Angels. Archer also took a ND in Texas on May 31 (7 IP, 4 ER). Elvis Andrus is 7-for-15 career off him with three doubles. Mike Napoli is 2-for-22 with 13 strikeouts. The Rangers' Andrew Cashner (4-8, 3.58) lost in Baltimore on Monday (6.2 IP, 3 ER). He makes a first career start vs. Tampa Bay. Wilson Ramos is 2-for-10 against him with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Rangers are 2-7 in Cashner's past nine on the road. The Rays are 7-3 in Archer's past 10 at home. The over is 6-2 in Archer's past eight at home.
Early lean: Rangers on runline and over.
Yankees at Mariners (+117, 9)
Seattle has proven it won't be a seller ahead of the July 31 trade deadline by acquiring very solid right-handed reliever David Phelps from the Marlins in exchange for four prospects. Phelps, 30, is 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 44 appearances (47 innings pitched) this season. This is the first season he has been a full-time reliever, and he is under contract through next year so the price was higher. The M's start lefty Ariel Miranda (7-4, 4.35), who allowed five runs in 5.2 innings Monday in Houston. He is the only pitcher in Seattle's Opening Day rotation yet to miss a start this year. Miranda has never faced the Yankees. Todd Frazier is 0-for-4 off him. New York's Masahiro Tanaka (7-9, 5.33) has lost back-to-back starts, giving up eight runs over 12 innings. It's his first look at Seattle in 2017. Nelson Cruz is just 1-for-18 off him with seven strikeouts.
Key trends: The Yankees are 3-7 in their past 10 vs. a lefty. The Mariners are 10-4 in Miranda's past 14 vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 9-4 in Tanaka's past 13 on the road.
Early lean: Mariners and over.
Braves at Dodgers (-212, 8)
Fascinating statistic, at least to me, regarding Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Since the Dodgers moved to L.A., they have had some incredible players. But apparently not much offensively at shortstop. Seager, only in his second season, hit his 44th homer as a shortstop on Wednesday night. That's already a franchise record since the team moved to Los Angeles. It previously was held by Rafael Furcal. Amazing. The overall record for the franchise, including Brooklyn, is Pee Wee Reese, who hit 122. Seager might quadruple that if he stays healthy and in Dodger Blue for his career. It's Dodgers lefty Rich Hill (6-4, 3.55). He has surrendered just two earned combined in his past three outings. Only a few Braves have faced him. Brandon Phillips has the most, going 5-for-17 with two doubles. Atlanta's Julio Teheran (7-7, 4.69) is working on three consecutive quality outings but just one win to show for it. He ranks fifth in the NL with a 2.53 road ERA. Seager is 2-for-6 with two solo homers against Teheran.
Key trends: The Braves are 7-0 in Teheran's past seven on the road. The Dodgers are 4-0 in Hill's past four vs. teams with a losing record. The under is Hill's past 11 at home.
Early lean: Braves on runline and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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