MLB Best Bets for Sunday, July 18th

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Another full slate of games today with a few in the late afternoon. I’m going to take three best bets from the later slate so that we can all have time to place the wagers.

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

One bright spot in what has been a truly pathetic streak for the Diamondbacks is Merrill Kelly. He has been a reliable starter for the D-backs and goes today against the Chicago offense. In 20 at-bats against Kelly, the Cubs are hitting .315, with multiple Cubs being 1 for 3 or 1 for 2 against him. For the Cubs, Zach Davies gets to audition for the other teams looking for another mid-to-backend starter. He, like Kelly, will probably only go through the lineup twice. I don’t expect nine runs to be scored in those first five innings that the starters go, and the bullpens shouldn’t give up too many runs either. I really like the under in this game. 

Indians vs. Athletics

Both teams are hitting about .230 as a team on the season, so it isn’t like either is lighting the world on fire. The first two games of the series also had 5 runs and 9 runs, respectively. Today, the wind is blowing out to the left, but we’ve seen the total drop a half run. Neither of the starters is great in this game, but one stat is standing out to me, Zach Plesac has a .181 average against him the first time through the lineup. That, coupled with most Athletics having never seen him before, gives me the confidence to play the Indians to be the winner after 3 innings of the game at +220.

Red Sox vs. Yankees

The Yankees need to win this game. I mean, it is mid-July, so they don’t need to win it, but it would go a long way in helping them compete for the AL East this second half of the season. Luckily for them, they face a left-handed pitcher, Martin Perez. The Yankees are hitting .257 against lefties on the season and scored three runs in three innings against Perez when they faced him at Fenway. Perez is better on the road but has a higher ERA at night so those might cancel each other out. For the Yankees, Jameson Taillon pitches and has not been good against the Red Sox. He’s giving up a hit every three at-bats to Boston hitters. He does throw better at home, but he too is worse during night games. I’m taking the over 9.5 runs in this game.