Condensed Game: Charlie Morton struck out eight and Dansby Swanson crushed a grand slam to lead the Braves in a 7-2 win against the Phillies
We're carrying a 45-29-2 record on our MLB picks into this weekend, which is our first taste of real games since last week. Here are our favorite bets: Rays under 4 runs (-125) at BravesJuly 16, 7:20 p.m. ETIf you thought this was the year to finally fade the venerable Charlie Morton, think again. The Braves' 37-year-old ace has been stellar across his past five starts, posting a 1.91 ERA with at least seven strikeouts in all of them.Morton has also gone at least seven innings with zero runs allowed in three of those outings. Expect another strong performance in a revenge spot against the Rays, who declined his team option and let him walk in free agency this past offseason. Brewers-Reds under (TBD)July 17, 7:10 p.m.Saturday's matchup features an under bettor's dream combination of two frontline arms facing lineups that can't seem to get anything going.Brandon Woodruff is a true ace in this matchup, boasting a 2.06 ERA with 14 quality starts in 18 appearances this season. And while Luis Castillo got off to a rough start this year, he's turned that around with a 1.97 ERA in June and July - during a stretch when many of his peers have faltered.The Reds' offense has combined for 12 runs across its last four games, while the Brewers have plated three or fewer runs in six of their previous eight contests. These two pitchers combined for an easy under when they faced off before the break and should be good for another in the rematch. Red Sox over (TBD) at YankeesJuly 18, 7:08 p.m.Assuming the Yankees and Red Sox play as scheduled Sunday, this could be a particularly tough spot for Gerrit Cole. New York's ace endured a miserable six-start stretch during which he posted a 5.24 ERA with just 38 strikeouts across 34 1/3 innings. Then he rebounded in a big way with a masterful 129-pitch, three-hit shutout against the Astros last Saturday.Even with the extra rest, he's likely to feel the effects of that start Sunday. The last two times Cole threw more than 105 pitches in a start, he allowed a combined 10 runs through 10 innings - the last one coming against this very Boston lineup. Be wary of buying back on the Yankees' ace here.C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at [email protected] © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
We're roughly halfway through the MLB season, and we've already got a pretty good sense of who will win each of the four major awards. Jacob deGrom is the prohibitive favorite to win both NL MVP (-105) and Cy Young (-1000), while Shohei Ohtani (-290) and Gerrit Cole (-115) are the clear leaders for AL MVP and Cy Young, respectively.That said, we have played just over half the campaign, meaning there is still plenty of time for a player to have a scorching second half and rip the award away from the current favorite. Here are the odds to win each of the major awards (100-1 or shorter) and our favorite sleeper pick for each:AL Most Valuable Player PLAYER ODDS Shohei Ohtani -290 Vladimir Guerrero Jr +210 Xander Bogaerts +4000 Matt Olson +5000 Marcus Semien +5000 Jose Ramirez +5000 Rafael Devers +6000 Mike Trout +6000 Carlos Correa +6000 Aaron Judge +7000 Jose Altuve +7000 Byron Buxton +7000 Yordan Alvarez +7000 J.D. Martinez +7000 Jose Abreu +8000 Bo Bichette +8000 Salvador Perez +10000 Teoscar Hernandez +10000 Kyle Tucker +10000 Cedric Mullins +10000 This has clearly emerged as a two-man race between Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who appropriately rank first and second in the AL in home runs, OPS, and combined fWAR. The clear difference between the two is on the mound, where Ohtani owns a 3.49 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 67 innings to complement his already MVP-level bat.If anybody can bust up the party at the top, it's Xander Bogaerts, who is quietly having an Ohtani-like season at the plate but with fewer home runs and much better contact. The Red Sox star ranks third in batting average (.321) and fWAR (3.9) among qualified AL batters and anchors Boston's elite lineup, which could help his narrative case should either the Angels or Blue Jays fall short of the postseason.Pick: Xander Bogaerts (+4000)NL Most Valuable Player PLAYER ODDS Jacob deGrom -105 Fernando Tatis Jr. +115 Trea Turner +2500 Nick Castellanos +3500 Freddie Freeman +5000 Max Muncy +5500 Kyle Schwarber +5500 Jesse Winker +6500 Bryce Harper +7000 Nolan Arenado +7000 Kris Bryant +7000 Juan Soto +8000 Mookie Betts +8000 Manny Machado +10000 Justin Turner +10000 Buster Posey +10000 Brandon Crawford +10000 DeGrom is having a season for the ages and was our favorite value bet when he was still dealing at 6-1 odds in early June. The right-hander has since ascended to the top of the oddsboard, but Fernando Tatis Jr. also has a strong case as the NL leader in home runs (28) and stolen bases (20) and the runner-up in batting fWAR (4.0) behind injured Ronald Acuna Jr.Tatis and deGrom have both battled injuries this year, though, and are a risky bet at such short odds to sustain over the second half of the campaign. So why not take a shot on a player like Nick Castellanos, who leads the NL in average (.331) and is among the league leaders in runs (59) and RBI (59)? The Reds slugger is among the streakier stars in baseball, so if he gets hot over the season's second half, he'll be well worth a bet at these odds.Pick: Nick Castellanos (+3500)AL Cy Young PLAYER ODDS Gerrit Cole -115 Carlos Rodon +200 Lance Lynn +380 Shane Bieber +3000 Nathan Eovaldi +3500 Jose Berrios +4000 Chris Bassitt +4000 Kyle Gibson +4000 Sean Manaea +5000 Hyun-Jin Ryu +6000 Tyler Glasnow +6000 Lucas Giolito +6000 Shohei Ohtani +6000 John Means +6000 Zack Greinke +6500 Aroldis Chapman +6500 Framber Valdez +8000 Robbie Ray +8000 Dylan Cease +8000 Liam Hendriks +8000 Aaron Civale +8000 Frankie Montas +10000 Casey Mize +10000 Lance McCullers Jr. +100000 Danny Duffy +10000 Luis Garcia +10000 Rich Hill +10000 For a few weeks, Cole's place atop the Cy Young oddsboard looked tenuous, at best. The Yankees ace posted a 5.24 ERA in a six-start stretch beginning in early June, which coincided with MLB's crackdown on foreign substances. Then Cole went the distance in a 129-pitch shutout gem against the Astros, allowing three hits with 12 strikeouts - his most in a start since May 12.Still, do we trust that performance to carry over for the rest of the campaign? If he falters, Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi could be worth betting as a dark horse. The 31-year-old journeyman doesn't have the ERA (3.66) or strikeout rate (22.8%) you'd expect from a Cy Young winner, but he trails only Carlos Rodon in FIP (2.60) and fWAR (3.4) at a much better price.Pick: Nathan Eovaldi (+3500)NL Cy Young PLAYER ODDS Jacob deGrom -1000 Brandon Woodruff +1500 Kevin Gausman +1500 Zack Wheeler +1800 Corbin Burnes +2000 Yu Darvish +2500 Walker Buehler +3500 Max Scherzer +3500 Freddy Peralta +5000 Trevor Rogers +5000 Trevor Bauer +5500 Joe Musgrove +7000 Clayton Kershaw +7000 Ian Anderson +8500 Josh Hader +8500 Marcus Stroman +8500 Julio Urias +8500 Sandy Alcantara +8500 Pablo Lopez +10000 Jack Flaherty +10000 Aaron Nola +10000 Charlie Morton +10000 Taijuan Walker +10000 Craig Kimbrel +10000 Anthony DeSclafani +10000 Tyler Mahle +10000 It's tough to envision betting against deGrom, who has already separated himself with one of the best starts to a season we've ever seen on the mound. Yet as we mentioned before, his injury woes could lead to a potential late-year absence, which would open the door for someone to challenge him in this market.If anyone can do it, it's Corbin Burnes, who trails only deGrom in FIP (1.37), xFIP (2.16), xERA (1.84), SIERA (2.36), and strikeout rate (37.1%) among NL pitchers with at least 50 innings. The righty also ranks third in fWAR (4.2) despite missing a handful of starts for the Brewers, which are positioned to win the NL Central thanks in part to Burnes' mastery on the mound.Pick: Corbin Burnes (+2000)C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at [email protected] © 2021 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.