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MLB Best Bets for July 21

Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

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We’re opening up the second half of the season with a short slate, but I’m still seeing plenty of value here. Allow me to pass along my two favorite plays.

Detroit Tigers (+140) vs. Oakland A’s (-165) Total: 7

Allow me to give you the lowdown on Garrett Hill so you don’t have to bother looking him up. The 26-year-old right-hander has actually been rather good throughout his minor-league career, posting a 3.11 ERA in rookie ball, a 2.25 ERA in his first year of A-ball, and a 2.61 ERA in Double-A. When he got to Triple-A, his numbers took a hit, and that’s been the story in the big leagues as well.

One area where Hill always succeeded was in the strikeout department. Even when his ERA ballooned just over four runs in Triple-A, he still managed 11 strikeouts per nine in his eight starts for Toledo this year. That’s why his 3.3 strikeouts per nine in two big-league starts are rather shocking.

The A’s have the seventh-highest strikeout rate in the game right now, and they finished up the first half with a 75 wRC+. This is not an imposing lineup to say the least, and that makes me feel great about the under.

We know Frankie Montas will have success here, not only because the Tigers have struggled at the plate all year but also because Detroit has the ninth-highest ground ball rate in the big leagues. I think both matchups are very becoming of the pitchers.

Edge: Under 7

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San Francisco Giants (+110) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-131) Total: 8

As someone who consistently fades Mitch White and bets on Carlos Rodón, this decision to take the road dogs was rather easy for me. Upon looking into the numbers behind the matchup, it became even easier.

The thing about Mitch White is that he’s just not striking out as many hitters this season or inducing the same level of ground balls. He’s punched out hitters at a 3.1% lower rate, and the grounders have come at a 7.1% lower rate than they did last year. The Giants don’t really strike out all that much, sitting right in the middle of the league, and they have one of the lowest ground ball rates around.

That should help magnify the incredibly poor .248 expected batting average and .368 xwOBA on contact possessed by White, and the matchup on the other side isn’t a ton better.

We know the Dodgers have historically struggled against lefties, so it’s no surprise to see them outside the top 10 in wRC+ in that split. That’s particularly staggering considering how strong they are overall. Rodon is not only left-handed but has allowed two earned runs over 12 innings against the Dodgers this season, and is pitching like the Cy Young Award winner.

I’ll gladly take San Francisco at plus money.

Edge: Giants +110