The upcoming sports weekend isn’t quite as jam-packed now that the NBA Finals, the Euros, and Copa America are all in the rearview mirror, but sports bettors still have plenty to which to look forward. The Tokyo Olympics have already gotten underway, while the Gold Cup and Major League Baseball roll on.
For the second straight weekend, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will go toe-to-toe. The Yankees took two of the three games over their rivals in the Bronx last weekend, but Boston was able to exact some revenge in Thursday’s series opener. The Red Sox emerged with a 5-4 victory in 10 innings after the Yankees blew a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning in what was the latest in a series of recent bullpen collapses by New York.
The two teams will go at each other again on Friday night at Fenway Park. Boston will have lefty Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound, while the Yanks will get a much-needed start from their ace, Gerrit Cole.
Rodriguez has been one of the more underrated pitchers in the league for quite some time, but he’s finally starting to earn some well-deserved recognition. The southpaw is 7-5 with an underwhelming 5.19 ERA on the year, but his 3.46 SIERA suggests that ERA is rather unlucky. Rodriguez has improved his K-rate to 27.6 percent on the year, and he’s been the victim of a very unlucky .353 BABIP.
Over his last four starts, Rodriguez is 1-1 with a tidy 2.16 ERA. That includes a stellar outing last Friday against these very Yankees in which he held New York scoreless on just two hits in 5.2 innings of work. In three starts against the Yanks on the year, Rodriguez is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA, as well.
Cole has drawn plenty of heat for his performance immediately following MLB’s crackdown on “sticky stuff,” but he has bounced back in a big way over his last two starts. In a combined 15 innings in his last two outings against the Astros and Red Sox, Cole has allowed just one run while racking up 23 strikeouts. He may not be quite as dominant as he was with the aid of the spider tack, but Cole is clearly still the best starter the Yankees can throw out there.
Boston is a -118 favorite to win this game with Rodriguez on the hill, and the juice (-117) favors the over on 8.5 runs, too. All things considered, you’re getting pretty good value here in betting the Sox to win this one plus the over on 8.5 at +255.
MLB: Giants, Dodgers, and Padres ALL to Win (+260)
The AL East garners plenty of headlines, and justifiably so, but the NL West is the cream of the crop among divisions so far this season. The West is likely to produce three of the National League’s five playoff teams, with the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres duking it out for divisional supremacy.
The Giants just stormed into Chavez Ravine and took three of their four midweek games against the Dodgers, including back-to-back comeback victories in the ninth inning against Kenley Jansen. San Francisco has opened a three-game lead over LA in the division, while San Diego is lurking 5.5 games back.
The Giants will head home on Friday to host the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates at Oracle Park. Johnny Cueto will take the mound against Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl in the series opener. Cueto’s best days are behind him, but he has still given Gabe Kapler some solid work so far this season. Cueto is 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA, though the Giants have lost each of his last three starts.
Kuhl, meanwhile, has been one of the worst starters in the majors. Kuhl’s 5.46 SIERA is abysmal, and he’s walked nearly as many hitters as he has struck out. Kuhl is also 1-4 with a 6.07 ERA in seven starts away from PNC Park on the year. San Francisco is a justifiable -187 home favorite on the moneyline in this one.
Between the intensity of the Dodgers-Padres games earlier this year and the splendor of the Giants-Dodgers series this week, the National League West is the showpiece of MLB right now. The fight down the stretch should be glorious — and all three are aggressive deadline shoppers.
The Dodgers will lick their wounds and get back to it with the Rockies in town on Friday night. LA came out of the All-Star break and took two of three against the Rockies at Coors Field last weekend, and the scene will now shift to Dodger Stadium. LA is a massive -270 moneyline favorite behind David Price, who is being stretched out to become a full-time starter with the Dodgers rolling with a shorthanded rotation.
The Rockies will start Chi Chi Gonzalez in place of Antonio Senzatela. Things didn’t go well at all for Gonzalez in this same matchup last Friday, as the Dodgers torched him for seven runs on nine hits across just four innings of work in an eventual 10-4 loss. The Dodgers’ offense is dealing with some injuries at the moment, but there is no reason to believe they won’t take out their frustrations tonight against an overmatched right-hander.
The third-place Padres will continue their series against the Marlins in Miami. Blake Snell pitched San Diego to a 3-2 win in Thursday’s opener, and Joe Musgrove will toe the rubber on Friday. Musgrove has really struggled of late, as his strikeout rate has dipped to just 21 percent over the last month. The right-hander hasn’t pitched beyond the fifth inning in any of his lat four starts, and the Padres haven’t won any of Musgrove’s outings since June 30.
Still, the Padres are -159 moneyline favorites against a Marlins team currently mired in the cellar of the NL East. Miami will have a promising young right-hander in Zach Thompson on the hill, but Thompson is hardly a proven commodity at the major league level. Miami is 41-56 on the year and just 22-22 at home.
What’s the Best Bet?
Frankly, both of Friday’s odds boosters are good values. All three NL West contenders are sizable moneyline favorites, and I see no reason to expect either the Giants or Dodgers to lose against far worse competition. The Padres’ matchup with the Marlins is the toughest of the three, especially given Musgrove’s recent struggles. That said, this is still a game San Diego should win against a relatively unknown starter.
The Red Sox are facing a more difficult matchup tonight against a motivated Cole, who has been pitching extremely well of late. The over on 8.5 runs is also fairly dicey given the fact that both teams in this game are trotting out capable starting pitchers. Boston to win plus the over on 8.5 runs at +255 looks fine, but I’d prefer to take the shot on the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres all to win at similar +260 odds.
The Bet: Giants, Dodgers, and Padres ALL to Win (+260)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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