MLB Betting Guide: Thursday 7/30/20
numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a line, or moneyline. 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 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.
Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for today.
Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.
Under 9.0 (-110): 2-Star Rating out of 5
Rain could foul up tonight's game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, but if everything's a go, the under is intriguing here. That's because we have a compelling pitching matchup between Yu Darvish and Luis Castillo, two top-notch hurlers who could keep runs at a minimum.
After a shaky start to 2019, Darvish was electric from mid-June onward, producing a 2.65 SIERA, 36.1% strikeout rate, and 2.9% walk rate over his final 17 starts. Darvish was mediocre in his 2020 debut against the Brewers, allowing 3 earned runs over 4.0 innings, but he suffered from poor luck on balls in play (.429 BABIP) and tallied a promising 5 strikeouts with no walks. After throwing 73 pitches in that game, he should have a longer leash tonight, too.
As for Castillo, he struggled with walks at times last year (10.1% rate) but also had some dominant stretches off a 28.9% strikeout rate, ultimately finishing with a solid 3.95 SIERA. He was lights out in his opening start over the weekend against Detroit, piling up 11 strikeouts over 6.0 innings while allowing 1 earned run. Obviously, the Cubs will be a tougher test, but it's still a great sign to begin the year.
Darvish's debut does cast some doubts here, but there could be the makings of a true pitching duel tonight. Our algorithm sees under 9.0 runs hitting 51.77% of the time for a two-star wager.
Cleveland +1.5 (-194): 2-Star Rating out of 5
Shane Bieber gets the unenviable task of facing the Minnesota Twins tonight, but you could argue he's the best overall pitcher on tonight's slate, and he was truly dominant in last week's start against the Royals. Bieber struck out 14 batters over 6.0 shutout innings, and he sure doesn't seem to be under any limitations after hurling 97 pitches.
Bieber is coming off an excellent 2019 campaign where registered a 3.36 SIERA, 30.1% strikeout rate, and 4.7% walk rate, and if that 2020 debut was any indication, he's going to pick up right where he left off and then some. The Twins won't be a walk in the park, but Bieber is capable of pitching a gem on any given night, so we shouldn't rule out another strong performance.
Cleveland's bats should have an easier time scoring runs against Jose Berrios, too. In 2019, Berrios posted a sub-4.00 ERA for the third straight season, though his overall peripherals were solid but unspectacular, with a 4.28 SIERA, 23.2% strikeout rate, and 6.1% walk rate. And unlike Bieber, his opening start didn't go nearly as well, giving up 4 earned runs over 4.0 innings to the White Sox. Perhaps even more concerning is he only recorded one strikeout.
Given the strength of Minnesota's offense, it's tough to take Cleveland to win outright, but siding with them at +1.5 runs gets a two-star rating. Although it's not necessarily the best bang for your buck, numberFire's model picks Cleveland to cover 70.03% of the time.
Under 10.0 (-115): 2-Star Rating out of 5
In a battle of mediocre offenses -- and maybe that's being generous -- the under isn't a bad way to go, even if it's not the most exciting wager for viewing purposes. As is, these two squads have stayed under 10 runs in two of the three games in this series.
Tonight largely revolves around Kansas City prospect Brady Singer, who performed well in his MLB debut against Cleveland, allowing just 2 earned runs in 5.0 innings with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Considering he's otherwise never pitched above Double-A, there's some risk here, but he posted a 3.57 xFIP over 16 starts at that level and did a good job of inducing ground balls (49.2%). The strikeout numbers weren't especially high (22.1%), but he didn't issue many free passes (6.8%). They aren't mind-blowing marks, but after holding his own against the Indians, we have to like his chances against the Tigers.
Perhaps our biggest concern is that Ivan Nova is taking the mound for Detroit, who was pretty dreadful last season (5.16 SIERA) and wasn't terribly effective versus the Reds over the weekend. But most of the Royals' best hitters bat right-handed, which does play into Nova's stronger split, where he's typically able to get more grounders.
numberFire's model projects under 10.0 runs to hit at a 54.37% rate for a two-star bet.