MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, July 31st

By Adam Burke  ( 

July 31, 2023 03:29 PM

MLB schedule today has 10 games

Ten games are on tap for Monday, as teams around the league wonder what will happen over the next couple of days with Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET Trade Deadline looming. Some of the likely names to be moved have changed zip codes, but others are still on pins and needles wondering where they will end up. Some players have been taken off of the trade block as well, but everything is very, very fluid throughout today and you want to be cognizant of that when looking at the card.

None of today’s listed starters look likely to be scratched, though Marcus Stroman could be an exception with the Cubs, as they try to figure out what to do based on their recent stretch of winning baseball. Cody Bellinger was reportedly taken off the market over the weekend, but no such language was used about Stroman, though it seems likely the Cubs will try to make a playoff push instead.

Still, players will be scratched at the Major League level. We won’t see as much speculation about minor leaguers because Mondays are off days in Triple-A, Double-A, and A-Ball. The Complex Leagues are in action, so 18 and 19-year-olds that are part of trade packages could be scratched from their respective games, signaling potential deals.

Remember that Monday and Tuesday will be tough, emotional days for some players and teams, so you want to take those situations into account.

My live Trade Deadline blog is still humming along, updated as the deals come rolling in. I will not have a traditional article on Tuesday, as I don’t think it’s a great day to bet on games with so many moving parts. VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will also be a Trade Deadline recap special to be recorded after the 6 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday. Remember that deals trickle in after the deadline hits because it takes time to process them, so you can expect that as Tuesday’s games are being played. Wednesday’s podcast will be back to normal.

Latest MLB betting splits | MLB odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Follow me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to get the article right as it goes live. (Tracking sheet)

VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.

Here are some thoughts on the July 31 card (odds from DraftKings):

Philadelphia Phillies (-110, 8.5) at Miami Marlins

Taijuan Walker and Edward Cabrera start us off for Monday, as all 10 games will be played late. Walker and the Phillies are road favorites at Marlins Park, as Miami took two of three from the Tigers, but still has a 4-10 record in the second half. The Phillies are just 8-8 since the Break after putting together a strong month of June to get back in the Wild Card hunt.

Walker comes in with a 4.06 ERA and a 4.32 FIP, but he’s really been strong over the last two months or so. Since June 6, Walker has a 2.43 ERA with a 3.21 FIP. Recently, he’s had some problems with walks, as he’s given up 13 free passes in his last four starts, so that’s a bit of a concern, especially because he unlocked his potential with some mechanical changes that added a little bit of velo to his profile. His velocity has stayed pretty consistent, but he’s not throwing his splitter as much lately and that was a big key to his success throughout June.

Cabrera only lasted two innings against the Rays last time out and has allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and five walks in seven innings since spending over a month on the IL. For the season, he has a 4.74 ERA with a 4.60 FIP and 90 strikeouts in 74 innings, but he’s also issued 46 walks. Pitch efficiency has been a major problem for him and it took 53 pitches to get six outs in that last start.

Since returning from the IL, Cabrera has had Zone% marks of 39.2% and 35.8% per Statcast, with his most recent start as his worst of the season in that department. He’s just not a trustworthy guy to back. It looks like Walker might be trending in the wrong direction as well. That said, I can’t really trust these two offenses that much right now either.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. does return for the Marlins today, so we’ll see what, if anything, that sparks for the Fish.

Milwaukee Brewers (-205, 8.5) at Washington Nationals

The Brewers are 10-3 against the Reds and 47-46 against everybody else as they head into this early-week set against the Nationals. The Brewers were just swept by the Braves and gave up their hold on first place because the Reds went out west and took two of three from the Dodgers.

Corbin Burnes is on the bump for the Brew Crew here and he has been as locked in as locked in gets of late. Burnes has made three starts in the second half and allowed two runs on seven hits in 20 innings of work with 29 strikeouts against four walks. He actually fell on the wrong side of the decision against Cincy last time out, despite allowing two runs on three hits in six innings. 

Over those three starts, Burnes has allowed a 21.1% Hard Hit% with zero barrels and has a 14.9% SwStr%. He actually didn’t throw as many curveballs against the Reds last time out as he had in his previous start or in his dominant effort against the Phillies. He didn’t get as many chases outside the zone with the lowered use of his CB. We’ll see if he brings that level back up here against the Nationals.

Jake Irvin gets the call for Washington here, as he has a 4.96 ERA with a 5.07 xERA and a 5.48 FIP over 74.1 innings pitched. Irvin has allowed 11 runs on 17 hits in 15.2 innings of work in three starts since the Break. He has struck out 19 and only walked four, so he’s found a little bit more swing and miss, but he’s also allowed six homers in that span. He’s allowed nine homers in his last six starts and has a 5.29 ERA with a 6.16 FIP.

It’s tough to do much of anything with this one. Burnes deserves the big favorite role, but that CB is the secret to his success and throwing it at a similar rate to his last start against a Washington offense that is among the best in the business at strikeout avoidance could make him a little BABIP-dependent.

Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs (-120, 8)

Andrew Abbott and Marcus Stroman duke it out here as this is a huge series for both teams. The Cubs need to stay hot to make up ground and the Reds need to ride the wave that they’ve been on since they don’t have head-to-head games against the Brewers to decide the division. Of course, based on the season series, that might be a good thing.

Abbott has a 1.90 ERA with a 3.36 xERA and a 3.75 FIP in his 61.2 innings. We’re 10 starts in now and we haven’t really seen much regression with his 96.2% LOB%. His .222 BABIP has slowly risen, but he hasn’t allowed a run over his last 16 innings. He scattered seven hits and a walk over six shutout innings against the Brewers last time out with nine strikeouts. He’s allowed six of his 13 runs in one start, that tells you how good he’s been in the other nine.

Abbott has allowed a 42.1% Hard Hit%, so that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been skeptical of his profile and seeking some negative regression. After three starts with a low SwStr%, Abbott has been in double digits in each of his last seven starts and seems to be picking up a lot of confidence and a lot of steam along the way.

Stroman has not really been a part of Chicago’s recent surge. The regression signs in his profile have very much come to fruition, as he’s up to a 3.51 ERA with a 3.97 xERA and a 3.59 FIP in 22 starts over 125.2 innings pitched. Ever since a blister popped up for Stroman in late June, he’s struggled, posting an 8.00 ERA with a 4.46 FIP over his last six starts. He’s struck out 26 in 27 innings, but also walked 14 while allowing a .375 BABIP and posting a 49.1% LOB%. His BABIP and LOB% were the two main areas of regression and it has clearly hit like a ton of bricks.

He just allowed seven runs on nine hits to the White Sox five days ago after failing to complete four innings against the Cardinals on July 20. He’s only gotten 21 outs in his last two starts and has allowed 22 baserunners via hit or walk.

The Cubs have decimated righties this month, but only have a .326 wOBA and a 104 wRC+ against lefties, so they’ve been above league average, but not overly sharp in that split. For the season, the Cubs are 11th with a .329 wOBA and a 106 wRC+. Cincinnati is only 18th in wOBA against righties at .313 this month with an 88 wRC+, even though they smashed Michael Grove on Sunday.

Chicago did have the eight-game winning streak snapped on Sunday and I usually like to go against teams that had a winning streak end. I also just don’t like where Stroman is at right now. I’ll take the Reds at the short dog price.

Pick: Reds +100

San Diego Padres (-198, 11.5) at Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have sold off what little trade fodder they have, as they previously sent reliever Pierce Johnson to Atlanta and then sent CJ Cron and Randal Grichuk to the Angels yesterday. They’ll line up against Seth Lugo and the Padres with a watered-down lineup in this one. Austin Gomber will go for the Rockies, who could maybe trade Brent Suter, Charlie Blackmon, or Jurickson Profar before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Padres may not be a seller now after sweeping the Rangers over the weekend to get within five games in the Wild Card hunt. Blake Snell and Josh Hader were very much expected to be traded, but the Padres have a lot of encouraging signs in the profile. They are 0-9 in extra-inning games, just 6-17 in one-run games, and have a huge positive run differential that has them eight games better by Pythagorean Win-Loss. We all know it is a results business, but the Padres have a lot of areas in which they are looking up.

Another win here would get them back to .500 and potentially put the finishing touches on not being a seller. Lugo has a 3.62 ERA with a 4.31 xERA and a 3.76 FIP over 82 innings of work. He’s made six starts since spending over a month on the IL and has posted a 3.12 ERA with a 3.55 FIP over those 40.1 innings, including a couple of solid starts recently against the Tigers and Pirates. His first start after the Break on 10 days rest was a dud, but he’s struck out 15 in his last 13 innings with four runs allowed on nine hits.

Gomber is actually throwing the ball well of late, hence the total of 11.5 here. The Rockies’ offensive losses also play a part in that number, but Gomber, who has a 5.83 ERA with a 5.75 xERA and a 5.49 FIP for the season, has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts. He struggled with the right-handed-heavy Astros two starts ago, but allowed just an unearned run over six strong innings against the Nationals last time out.

For Gomber, some positive regression in the BABIP and LOB% departments has been the root cause, as he has a 3.00 ERA with a 3.47 FIP in his last six starts with a .292 BABIP and a 72.6% LOB%. He’s only walked two batters and hasn’t walked any in his last four starts.

Maybe this one isn’t as easy as it looks on the surface for San Diego, but this is not a game I’ll be invested in.

As an aside, I noticed pricing changes at DraftKings this morning. 20-cent lines at -140 and up are now 22 cents. 30-cent lines are up to 34 cents and 35-cent lines are up to 38 cents. I don't know if this is a glitch in the site or if this is the book taking a little bit more on the theoretical hold, but I'm guessing it's the latter.

Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants (-142, 8)

No line was available overnight for this one, as the Diamondbacks were scheduled to send out Ryne Nelson and the Giants had not yet named a starter. Arizona’s ugly second half continued with a shutout loss at the hands of the Mariners on Sunday and the D-Backs are now 4-11 in the second half, have a negative run differential for the season, and sit two games behind the Giants in both the Wild Card and NL West races.

Nelson has a 4.97 ERA with a 5.04 xERA and a 4.96 FIP in his 112.1 innings of work. He’s thrown 130.2 innings this season after throwing 136 last season at Triple-A, so the Diamondbacks will be keeping a close eye on him the rest of the way. The 25-year-old only has a 15.4% K% on the season, so he’s subject to a lot of batted ball and sequencing luck and he’s got a .301 BABIP and a 71% LOB% for the year.

He just allowed five runs on eight hits over six innings to the Cardinals and has allowed eight homers over his last five starts. You never quite know what you’re going to get since it all depends on where the batted balls are hit and when because there are so many in play. He only struck out one of the 27 batters he faced last time out and only has 10 strikeouts in his last four starts.

Jakob Junis hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, so I would assume he’s the bulk guy here in what is a Johnny Wholestaff Day for the Giants. Tristan Beck was recalled prior to Sunday’s game and was the winning pitcher over his two innings. Ross Stripling went 4.1 effective innings yesterday in the 11-inning win. I presume the hope was to save Beck for Monday, but with extra innings needed, he came into the game.

Not much to do with this one since we don’t know the Giants pitching arrangement, but the D-Backs are really, really struggling.

Tampa Bay Rays (-142, 8.5) at New York Yankees


It will be Tyler Glasnow and Domingo German as we get the American League portion of the article underway. Glasnow has excellent numbers with a 3.36 ERA, 4.08 xERA, and a 3.13 FIP in his 61.2 innings of work. The right-hander has a balloon K% of 34.8% and a strong BB% at 7.9%. His issue has been the long ball, exacerbated by a lot of loud contact. He’s allowed a 48.6% Hard Hit% and 22 barrels (15.3%) leading to eight homers. He hasn’t allowed one in his last two starts against the Orioles and Marlins at home, but now heads back on the road to Yankee Stadium.

Glasnow has not yet faced the Yankees this season, who brought Aaron Judge back over the weekend. But, he’s also allowed just nine earned runs over his last six starts. He’s given up three homers in that span, but really seemed to have settled in nicely after giving up six runs to the Orioles on June 20.

German enters with a 4.77 ERA, 4.20 xERA, and a 4.76 FIP in his 103.2 innings pitched. The right-hander has allowed 11 runs on 11 hits in 12 innings since the All-Star Break. He’s struck out 18 and only walked four and actually has nine strikeouts in four of his last five starts, but his command has not been terribly sharp in outings against the Angels and Mets. He allowed three homers to the Mets last time out.

Both offenses have struggled this month. The Rays are 26th with a .291 wOBA and an 88 wRC+ against righties. The Yankees are 22nd with a .299 wOBA, but an 11.1% BB% in that split is doing a lot of lifting. The Rays also don’t have the excuse of losing a player like Judge to fall back on.

However, Glasnow does have a much higher ceiling than German. Glasnow has allowed a lot of hard contact, but has a 58% GB% in his last six starts, so at least he’s kept the ball on the ground and also only allowed those three homers as I mentioned. The high Barrel% is a concern, but he’s struck out 38.2% of batters with a 4.9% BB%. 

German has had his own barrel issues and has allowed 13 of his 20 homers at Yankee Stadium this season. It’s a steep price, but the Rays offense has a higher baseline than what we’ve seen this month and I’m not sure New York’s really does beyond Judge. I like the Rays here.

This is one of those games with the extra two cents of vig added and it only comes on the favorite. So, the break-even rate at -140 is 58.33%, implying that you would need to hit 58.33% of bets at -140 to not lose money. At -142, the break-even rate is 58.68%. It doesn't seem like much, just a .35% increase, but over the span of a large sample size of bets, it is significant. I don't know if this is a permanent change or not, but it is in your best interest always and forever to shop around for the best prices.

This type of change sneaks past a lot of people and they don't really notice it. With increasing tax rates from state governments and plenty of other reasons to slowly take more and more from customers, this will not be a DK-specific thing. Others books will be doing the same or have already. The onus is on you as a bettor to have enough outs to be able to shop around. For example, WynnBET has -135 with a 12-cent spread on the game instead of 22 cents.

The break-even rate at -135 is is 57.45%, over a percent lower than what it is as -142. By shopping around, you give yourself the best chance at long-term success. To keep things consistent and because they own VSiN, DraftKings odds are and have been used. That won't change, but just remember that you have options as a bettor.


Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (-130, 9)

Kyle Gibson and Chris Bassitt are set for the other AL East series, as the O’s look to ride the wave of another emotional series win. Baltimore put up seven in the first against Luis Severino and cruised to a 9-3 win to take down the season series against the Yankees and stay 1.5 games up in the East. I was a little surprised to see Yennier Cano out there with the big lead, but the Orioles pen really pushed some guys over the weekend, with 38+ pitch appearances for Shintaro Fujinami, Cole Irvin, and Bryan Baker.

Felix Bautista has only pitched once in the last week, so he’s in good shape if you like the O’s here. The Blue Jays just added Jordan Hicks to their pen, but there can be some issues with work visas and whatnot, so they may not have all their ducks in a row if the game is close in the late innings.

Gibson has a 4.68 ERA with a 4.59 xERA and a 3.85 FIP in his 127 innings of work. The right-hander had a really solid effort last time out against the Phillies with two runs on four hits in six innings and he’s had two quality starts since the Break. He does pitch to a lot of contact, though, so it’s tough to pinpoint precisely what you will get from him.

Bassitt has a 3.91 ERA with a 4.46 xERA and a 4.60 FIP in his 126.2 innings of work. He’s in a nice groove right now with a 2.73 ERA and a 3.31 FIP over his last six starts. This will be his fourth start since the Break and he’s allowed four runs on 15 hits in 17 innings. He did walk four last time out against the Dodgers, but LA has one of the more patient lineups in baseball.

Bassitt has the higher ceiling, but I think the Orioles are the better overall team, so this is a bit of a tricky game. I’ll stay away from it and make it easy on myself.

Cleveland Guardians at Houston Astros (-175, 9)

The Astros are a heavy favorite in Noah Syndergaard’s Guardians debut, as the right-hander returns from a blister in hopes of eating some innings for the Cleveland pitching staff. The initial interviews with Syndergaard haven’t really shed a light on anything other than his frustration from his Dodgers stint not going very well. The numbers suggest it really didn’t go well with a 7.16 ERA, 5.67 xERA, and a 5.54 FIP in 55.1 innings of work.

Syndergaard’s Hard Hit% and Barrel% marks are right in line with league average, so it wasn’t necessarily that. He did have a little bit of negative Cluster Luck, but there just seems to be a lot going on in his head, as he was skipped to try and work on his mechanics at one point and also reportedly saw a hypnotherapist.

Among the many issues, one of the biggest today is rust. He hasn’t thrown a live game in 10 days, as he made two rehab starts and was expected to be activated, but then the trade happened. He allowed six runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts and zero walks in the two Triple-A outings before getting dealt. I really don’t know what we’ll get from him here. Cleveland has done well with pitchers, but the comments from manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis seemed to suggest that the team would let him figure it all out on his own.

JP France goes for the ‘Stros today as they sit a game back of the idle Rangers. France has a 2.87 ERA with a 4.34 xERA and a 4.33 FIP in his 84.2 innings of work, so there are regression signs all over the profile. He has an 81.1% LOB% and a .271 BABIP against while posting just a 16.7% K%. He’s done a really good job in the contact management department, holding the opposition to a 36.2% Hard Hit% and a 7.5% Barrel%. 

France has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 29 with a 2.34 ERA and a 3.90 FIP in that nine-start stretch. One of the secrets to his success is holding opposing lefties to a .277 wOBA. Cleveland will use quite a few of them, so he could have success again.

I thought about the Over with Syndergaard in play, but France looks like a guy capable of staving off regression. He’s done it most of the season as it is.

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners (-130, 7.5)

Nick Pivetta is back in the starting rotation, at least for today, as the Red Sox visit the Mariners. Boston was walked-off on in back-to-back games after a one-run win against the Giants on Friday. With a lot of close games in a tight window and seven relievers used yesterday, it makes sense to send Pivetta as a straight starter.

What he’s done as a reliever has been thoroughly impressive. He was bumped from the rotation in late May and has worked 41 innings as a reliever with a 1.98 ERA and a 2.57 FIP. He’s got 58 strikeouts in those 41 innings and has only allowed nine earned runs and just three homers. Most notably, his Hard Hit% is down to 38.6% and his Barrel% is 7.2%, as he has really refined his arsenal.

In three appearances in the second half, Pivetta has not allowed a run on three hits over 12 innings with 19 strikeouts and three walks. Thirteen of those punchies came against Oakland on July 17 when he threw six no-hit innings. We saw Steven Matz become a lot more effective in a relief role. Carlos Carrasco had one several seasons ago with Cleveland and it may have saved his career. Guys can get right in the pen. We’ll see if Pivetta can keep it going here.

Kirby has a 3.49 ERA with a 3.89 xERA and a 3.30 FIP in his 123.2 innings of work. He’s got a 2.4% BB%, which is his best attribute, but also a solid 22.2% K%. He’s had a couple of bad outings here lately, allowing five runs on seven hits to the Twins last time out and six runs to the Tigers in his first start after the Break. His Hard Hit% is up to 40.8% for the season and sits at 47.9% over his last 11 starts with a 12% Barrel%.

Kirby has not located nearly as well over the last two months as he did to open the season. He has a 4.27 ERA with a 3.85 FIP in that span and has allowed 11 homers. He is at T-Mobile Park here, where he has allowed a .277 wOBA in 61.1 innings of work. His K% at home of 26.6% is much better than his road K% of 18.9%, so that could be a feather in his cap today.

I don’t have anything here. I think Kirby might be a little bit overpriced, but not enough for me to jump on Pivetta as a starter. I have to see that he can carry over the same mindset and execution that he had in relief. He had a 6.30 ERA with a .377 wOBA against as a starter in 40 innings. He had a 1.98 ERA with a .200 wOBA against as a reliever in 41 innings.

Los Angeles Angels at Atlanta Braves (-218, 10)

The only interleague game today has the biggest favorite on the board. The Angels and Braves will battle it out with Griffin Canning on the hill for the Halos and Charlie Morton for the Braves. Morton has a 3.57 ERA with a 4.68 xERA and a 3.82 FIP in his 113.1 innings of work. He’ll face a revamped Angels lineup that added CJ Cron and Randal Grichuk to the mix over the weekend.

Morton’s numbers appear to be going in the wrong direction. His BB% is up to 10.3% and he’s walked eight guys over his last 9.1 innings of work. He’s allowed eight runs on 12 hits in that span against the D-Backs and Red Sox. He’s had a single-digit SwStr% in four of his last five starts, despite having a 12.2% mark for the season. His Hard Hit% is still 37.2% and his Barrel% is 7.9%, but xERA is really punishing him for that walk rate.

His velo and spin rates largely look fine to me, so I don’t really see any injury indicators. His vertical release point has gone up and down sharply since the early part of June, so I’m not really sure what to make of that. He’s fixed it after each start, but we’ll see if it stays low here. That could be a sign of fatigue or of injury.

Canning has a 4.46 ERA with a 4.05 xERA and a 4.61 FIP over 84.2 innings pitched. In two starts since the Break, he’s racked up 20 strikeouts over 10.2 innings pitched. He’s allowed four runs on 13 hits with three walks and just one homer allowed. His velocity has ticked up a tad and he actually has at least a 15% SwStr% in five of his last six starts. Maybe the Angels have truly unlocked something with Canning.

I guess we’ll see today against a really good Braves lineup. He’s also allowed a 43% Hard Hit% and 16 homers on the year. Plus, he’s allowed a .343 wOBA on the road compared to a .292 wOBA at home with a SLG that is 130 points higher. He’s allowed 11 of his 16 dingers away from home, so this will be an interesting test to be sure. No play from me.

TL;DR Recap

Reds +100

Rays pick CANCELLED due to pitching change

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