MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 7 Best Bets for Friday, Including Padres vs. Nationals, Cubs vs. Diamondbacks & More (July 16)

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images. Pictured: Nico Hoerner and Anthony Rizzo.

After a false start on Thursday, the second half of the MLB season officially gets underway tonight, and our analysts are clearly eager to get going, with a whopping seven picks from tonight’s slate.

From the first game of the Marlins-Phillies doubleheader (4:10 p.m. ET) through the Cubs-Diamondbacks clash on the west coast (9:40 p.m. ET) we’ve got all your betting needs right here in one place with best bets that include moneylines, totals, inning props and more.

Here are our best bets from Friday’s Major League Baseball slate.


MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Marlins vs. Phillies Game 1 4:10 p.m. ET
Padres vs. Nationals 7:05 p.m. ET
Brewers vs. Reds 7:10 p.m. ET
Giants vs. Cardinals 8:15 p.m. ET
Giants vs. Cardinals 8:15 p.m. ET
Mariners vs. Angels 9:38 p.m. ET
Cubs vs. Diamondbacks 9:40 p.m. ET

Marlins vs. Phillies Game 1

Pick Over 6.5 (-120)
Book <!–FanDuel–>FanDuel
Pitchers TBD vs. Matt Moore
First Pitch 4:10 p.m. ET

Anthony Dabbundo: The All-Star Break came at the wrong time for Philadelphia, as the Phillies had just won seven of 10 against the Padres, Cubs and Red Sox. Since Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura returned to the lineup from injury, the Phillies’ offense has been one of the best in baseball. J.T. Realmuto showed signs of pop returning to his bat in July and the Phils have a .258/.339/.500 slash line in the 14 days leading into the break. The Phillies’ lineup has underachieved much of the season, but a 123 OPS+ in July is encouraging.

No pitcher made more first half starts than Marlins righty Sandy Alcantara, who did show a bit of regression in two of his final three starts before the break and saw a dip in his strikeout numbers. On the other side, the Phillies are somehow 5-1 in Matt Moore starts this year, despite his 5.40 ERA and 6.23 FIP. His low strikeout rate won’t take advantage of the Marlins’ K woes. While he’s likely to have a quick hook in the shortened game, the Phillies’ bullpen hasn’t been good either.

6.5 runs is short for an improved Philly offense at home in the excessive heat and humidity at Citizens Bank Park, especially with Moore on the mound.


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Padres vs. Nationals

Pick Padres Team Total Over 5 (-105)
Book <!–PointsBet–>PointsBet
Pitchers Chris Paddack vs. Erick Fedde
First Pitch 7:05 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: Erick Fedde has not been pitching that well this season, as his xERA is all the way up at 4.97. He’s having some issues with his control, as his BB/9 rate is up at 4.04 and his HR/9 rate is up at 1.25. His main two pitches of sinker and cutter have been getting shelled, as they are both allowing a xwOBA over .330, which is a problem since he goes to either of them 70% of the time.

The Padres have hit right-handers well this season, as they have a .319 wOBA and 102 wRC+. They also have four guys in their lineup with a wOBA over .400 against sinkers, so they’ll have a good matchup against Fedde.

Additionally, Washington’s bullpen has been really below average this season, as it is in the bottom half of baseball in just about every metric.

I have the Padres projected for 5.48 runs tonight, so I think there is some value on their team total Over 5 runs at -105 and would play it up to -110.

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Brewers vs. Reds

Pick Brewers +115
Book William Hill
Pitchers Adrian Houser vs. Tyler Mahle
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: We just went through this with Adrian Houser and Tyler Mahle no more than a week or so ago. The righty allowed three earned runs on four hits and four walks in what wound up being a losing effort, while Houser was able to survive despite allowing five hits and four walks.

Now, we have a total set at 9.5 with skepticism here about the Brewers’ win. The fact of the matter is, while Houser has generally struggled this season, he’s now turned in two successful starts against the Reds after a clunker in May. He also very much recovered from an early stumble in the last meeting between the two teams to keep the Brewers in the game.

Above all else, though, I just believe in this Milwaukee offense far more than I ever have, and have soured on the Reds, who have ranked 20th in wRC+ over the last two weeks. Willy Adames has given this team a shot in the arm, and Luis Urias has begun to really hit the ball. Mahle is fading fast, and while Houser hasn’t exactly inspired a ton of confidence this year, I do think the gap in the offenses is large enough to make up for the slight edge the Reds might have with their starter. The Brewers are definitely the value.

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Giants vs. Cardinals

Pick Score in First inning – No (-125)
Book <!–DraftKings–>DraftKings
Pitchers Kevin Gausman vs. Adam Wainwright
First Pitch 8:15 p.m. ET

Jeff Hicks: Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright has allowed a first inning run three times in 2021, and zero since June 14. He allowed first inning runs in two consecutive starts in June and once in May. Despite a mediocre start in San Francisco prior to the All-Star break, Wainwright left the opening frame unscathed.

Giants starter Kevin Gausman has also allowed a first inning run in three starts, but much more spread out. Most recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers got to him June 29, but the other two times happened in April and May, including a quality start in which Gausman allowed one earned run.

Despite both team having success scoring in the first, I trust both to continue their trend of good pitching. Wainwright’s 2.55 home ERA is almost three full runs lower than on the road. Gausman’s 1.35 road ERA is nearly one run lower than his home ERA.

The line is almost juiced to where I’d pass, but get it until it reaches -135.

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Giants vs. Cardinals

Pick Under 7.5 (-115)
Book DraftKings
Pitchers Kevin Gausman vs. Adam Wainwright
First Pitch 8:15 p.m. ET

Tanner McGrath: The success of Kevin Gausman hasn’t gone unnoticed by the league. His resurgence in the Bay has been unbelievable, and he should be a Cy Young finalist. He’s going to mow down this struggling Cardinals lineup tonight.

However, I believe Adam Wainwright’s season has still flown under the radar. Without Uncle Charlie, the Cardinals would be dead in the water. The 39-year-old has turned into the team’s de facto ace this season, making quality start after quality start and posting a 3.58 ERA along the way.

In his last start, he held this Giants’ offense to three runs over five innings — a resounding success when you consider it was at Oracle Park, where the San Francisco bats are seemingly unstoppable.

I like Wainwright’s chances a little more today, only because Wainwright’s posted a 2.55 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP at home this season, compared to 5.35 and a 1.47 on the road. The old man likes sleeping in his own bed, I suppose.

Between Gausman, Wainwright and the Cardinals’ pathetic offense, I really like the under in this spot. And while the Giants’ offense worries me, they have hit the under in 10 of their last 13 road games.

I’ll play under 7.5 at -115 or better, but I wouldn’t touch a number any worse than that.

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Mariners vs. Angels

Pick Mariners +130
Book DraftKings
Pitchers Chris Flexen vs. Andrew Heaney
First Pitch 9:38 p.m. ET

Mike Ianniello: After spending last season in the KBO, winning a the championship with the Doosan Bears, Chris Flexen signed with the Mariners and revitalized his career.

After going 3-11 with an 8.07 ERA in three seasons with the Mets, Flexen is having a career year in Seattle. In 16 starts, he is 8-3 with a 3.51 ERA. He is throwing his changeup more than before and it has been his best pitch, allowing just a .174 batting average against.

In his last start before the break, Flexen faced these Angels and held them scoreless across seven innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out six. He has allowed one run or fewer in four of his last five starts.

Andrew Heaney, on the other hand, has been one of the worst pitchers in the game this season, with an ERA of 5.38 and wOBA of .325. He has been teed off to a HardHit% of 44% and a 90.3 average exit velocity. He throws just three pitches, and two of them have been bad, with his changeup and fastball getting hit around all year.

In his one outing against Seattle back in April, Heaney allowed four runs and three home runs in just 3 1/3 innings. In his last four starts, he has allowed 18 earned runs.

The Mariners are two games ahead of the Angels in the AL West standings and are 6-4 against LA this season, including taking two-of-three right before the break. I like the value on Seattle at +130 and would bet them to +120.


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Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

Pick Diamondbacks +135
Book bet365
Pitchers Kyle Hendricks vs. Madison Bumgarner
First Pitch 9:40 p.m. ET

Sean Zerillo: I advise you to move along.

Seriously, you don’t want to do this.

Are you still here? OK, fine.

Nobody wants to bet on the Diamondbacks at this point — myself included. They have only won 28% of their games this season, with an MLB-worst -150 run differential. And they own the worst expected record (32-60) in baseball as a result, behind the Orioles (32-57) and Pirates (32-58).

It’s easy to forget, but the Diamondbacks were 14-12 with a +10 run differential through April. They have put together one of the worst three-month stretches in MLB history since, going 12-54 (.182) since. That’s a 29.5 win pace over an entire 162-game season.

And while I have downgraded Arizona’s True Talent projection by 5.1 wins since the preseason, I would still make them a 72.5 win team if the season restarted today, putting them as the 23rd best team in baseball.

I currently project the Cubs as an 80.6 win team — up 1.3 wins from my preseason projection. However, they are trending below .500 (42-48 expected record) and on the cusp of dealing big pieces in Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, and possibly Anthony Rizzo, too (I think he’s the one guy they extend, personally).

If these two teams — as currently situated — played an entire 162 game season, I would expect the Cubs to win about 53% of those games.

In this particular matchup, with Kyle Hendricks (4.93 xERA, 4.35 xFIP, 4.43 SIERA) facing Madison Bumgarner (4.19 xERA, 4.70 xFIP, 4.17 SIERA), I make the Cubs a 52.4% favorite for the Five Five Innings (F5), and a 51.1% favorite for the whole game.

After a rough start to the season (17 ER in three starts), and on the heels of a concerning 2020 campaign (7.79 xERA, 5.85 xFIP, 5.31 SIERA), Bumgarner found his groove for a couple of months (eight starts, 44 IP, 10 BB, 45 K, 3.27 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 4.42 xFIP) before exiting with throwing shoulder discomfort in early June against the Mets.

Tonight marks Bumgarner’s first start back from the IL — and the highs and lows of this two-year run have me skittish — but I project value on the Diamondbacks F5 moneyline to +120 and their full game moneyline to +115.

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