MLB Friday Night Lines: Best baseball bets, including Astros over the Yankees and Blue Jays over Rays

Welcome back to Friday Night Lines, your weekly home for casual baseball bettors or even baseball fans who just enjoy making picks for fun. Many of you have gone through a long week at work and now it’s time to kick back with some of America’s pastime on a Friday night with a beverage of your choosing. 

Did I get too greedy last week? Probably. Of my initial three picks I went 2-1, but I also insisted on tacking on the Rockies beating the Cardinals with a fourth pick instead of my usual three. Every number pointed in that direction and I don’t regret the pick — the process was sound! — but a blown save and Cardinals’ extra-inning explosion sabotaged things. We still made money, though, and will continue to do so. I’m undeterred in picking four games, as we’re doing it again. Let’s rock. 

Season record: 20-20 (2-2 last week) … +732 (10-3 in last 13 moneyline picks)

All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook. 

And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends. 

Pitching matchup: Alek Manoah (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Shane McClanahan (3-3, 4.18 ERA)  

The underdog odds on the Blue Jays jumped out at me here. 

Sure, the Jays are on the road, but the 2020-21 Blue Jays are a nomadic group, really. They are 19-20 at their two “home” fields while boasting a 25-20 mark on the road. The offense is finally at full strength now with George Springer healthy. They took two of three from the Rays last weekend with 17 runs scored in the two wins. 

In the first win, Blue Jays starter Manoah totally dominated, working seven scoreless innings and allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out 10. 

In the second win, the Jays were able to grab three runs off McClanahan in 5 1/3 innings and then tag the bullpen for three more. McClanahan has been worse at home than on the road this season, too, for whatever it’s worse. 

The Rays have won four in a row, but the latter three came against at currently-melting-down Cleveland team and the Rays had lost eight of 12 before that. As such, I’m not too worried about any “hot hand” type stuff conspiring against us. 

Pick: Blue Jays moneyline (+120)

Pitching matchup: Vince Velasquez (3-3, 4.50 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (4-5, 4.88 ERA)  

Featured Game | Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Speaking of currently melting down teams, let’s not be swayed by the Phillies taking three of four with their offense going berserk in Chicago. The Cubs are atrocious right now. Fortunately, the Phillies having won their share of games recently brings the odds down to a point where it’s palatable to take the Red Sox. 

The Phillies are still 18-27 on the road, coming off a night game after which they traveled while the Red Sox are one of the best teams in baseball, rested after an off day. 

Richards isn’t a great pick if we’re only looking at the starters — there’s a reason the over/under is 11 here — but the Red Sox have managed to win nine of his 17 starts. He was good last time out and the bullpen has been excellent. 

On the flip side, Velasquez has a 6.21 ERA in his last seven starts and there’s no reason in the world to trust this Philly bullpen. 

It might be early or late, but the Red Sox are going to throw some crooked numbers on the board and their stellar bullpen will bring things home. 

Pick: Red Sox moneyline (-125)

Pitching matchup: Nestor Cortes (0-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.70 ERA)  

Featured Game | Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees

The Astros had their six-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, but they’ll pick things right back up. 

Yankees starter Cortes has been great so far this year, but he had a 6.72 ERA in 79 innings coming into this year. It’s possible he’s unlocked some of his big upside, but it’s also possible there’s been some small-sample fluky outcomes. The Astros are one of the best offenses in baseball and have hit .284/.352/.445 against lefties this season. An early onslaught wouldn’t be shocking. 

Meantime, the Astros have won four of Odorizzi’s last five starts and he threw five scoreless innings in the lone loss. Since returning to the rotation on May 29, he has a 2.16 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .159/.220/.265 slash. Oh, and the Yankees only hit .228/.319/.382 against right handers. 

All signs point to the better team here and the odds aren’t as steep as they should be. 

Pick: Astros moneyline (-135)

Pitching matchup: Alex Cobb (6-3, 4.60) vs. Marco Gonzales (1-5, 5.82)

Latest Odds:

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are 27-19 at home this season. The Angels are 18-22 on the road. Immediately I’m intrigued by the home underdog. 

Cobb has a 7.77 ERA in six road starts this season, too. Even the Diamondbacks knocked him around the yard (3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER on June 12 in ARI). 

OK, so that’s another point in the Mariners’ direction. 

There’s one lingering concern. Mariners starter Gonzales has been terrible this year. Last time out, the Rangers shellacked him. There isn’t really a great explanation for why he’s been so much worse this season than last, when he was 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA and led the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s been hit hard and, no, it doesn’t seem to be connected to the crack down on the so-called sticky stuff. He is why the Angels are the favorites in this game. He’s also better than this. 

I’m gonna bet on a “get right” game from Gonzales while the Mariners’ offense busts out against Cobb. 

Pick: Mariners moneyline (+110)

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