MLB (0.75 Unit) Atlanta Braves/Philadelphia Phillies First 5 Innings Under 4.5 (-110): 5:05 PM CT on ESPN+
These are two starting pitchers I trust a lot in this situation, and they should make the start of this game fairly boring.
Ian Anderson for Atlanta has some surface-level struggles in his numbers, but those don’t tell an accurate story for tonight if you dig deeper. His road numbers are far better, he’s excellent against left-handed bats (which the Phillies have plenty of), and he’s held the Philadelphia lineup to a career .149 average and .436 OPS. Yesterday, I mentioned how this Philly lineup doesn’t scare me without Bryce Harper, and that’s even truer against Anderson.
But Aaron Nola is the better pitcher in this game. He has great career numbers against the Braves, who struggle far more with righties anyway, and last month held them to 1 run in a near-complete game. Nola is also on fire, posting a 2.00 ERA this month and only allowing 3 total runs in his past 4 starts combined.
These teams are also 4-2 under this F5 total in their meetings this season. With two strong starters and offenses that struggle against them, I see another low-scoring start here.
MLB (0.75 Unit) Tampa Bay Rays Team Total Over 4 (+100): 6:07 PM CT on YouTube
I’m looking to fade Yusei Kikuchi in some form pretty much whenever he takes the mound. The Toronto lefty has been atrocious lately, piling up a monstrous 9.39 ERA in the month of June. That has led to the opposing team getting over this number in all of his past 6 starts, with an average of 7 runs scored per game. Kikuchi hasn’t made it out of the 5th inning all month either, bringing into play a Blue Jays bullpen that’s 24th in ERA.
While I usually don’t trust Tampa Bay to get much done offensively, this is just too good of a matchup for them. The Rays have a cumulative .290 average and .780 OPS against Kikuchi, and against lefties like him are batting 34 points higher with a 59-point higher OPS this season. Tonight should provide the perfect opportunity for their offense to get back on track against one of the bigger gas cans in baseball right now.
MLB (0.5 Unit) Cincinnati Reds First 5 Innings ML @ Chicago Cubs (+105): 7:05 PM CT on Marquee
I want to stay as far away as possible from the collective disaster that is the Cincinnati bullpen. However, this Graham Ashcraft kid for the Reds has been outstanding, and I want to target him here for the early portion of this game.
Ashcraft is particularly good at using his excellent cut fastball to induce weak contact and ground balls, both very important on a night when the wind is blowing hard out of Wrigley Field. And the Chicago Cubs just happen to be the 2nd-worst team in baseball against cut fastballs.
In contrast, Kyle Hendricks for the Cubbies has had a lot of trouble inducing weak contact and ground balls, nor can he keep the ball in the park on normal days. That’s definitely not what you want with tonight’s wind, or against an improving Reds lineup batting .293 with a .811 OPS against Hendricks. That has me counting on the Reds taking care of business early in this one before their relievers can blow another game.
No degenerates today.
Tiny Nick is 790-657 ATS (+81.4 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.