MLB Best Bets for Monday (7/26)


A short, nine-game MLB slate will ease us into another new week of MLB betting Monday. While many teams are off, there’s never an off day for MLB bettors, and we’re still scouring the board to find the best value available to keep our bankroll growing.

As always, I’ll take a deeper dive into the numbers and highlight which teams I believe are worth backing.

Detroit Tigers @ Minnesota Twins

Detroit and Minnesota will open up a three-game divisional series Monday at Comerica Park. Rookie Matt Manning will toe the rubber for Detroit, while Minnesota counters with Michael Pineda.

What if I were to tell you the most profitable team over the last 10 days happens to reside in Detroit? Against all odds, Detroit is tied for the best record, 7-3, over the last 10 days with an MLB-leading $488 profit. Over roughly that same time span (the last two weeks), they’ve seen their wOBA skyrocket to .342 and their wRC+ increase to 117, marks barely outside of the top-five in the majors. Their HR/FB ratio has been slightly inflated at 17.4%, nothing too crazy ranking as the eighth-highest in that span, but their BABIP has been sitting at a clean .299. All of their slash statistics lately have been firmly within the top half of the league, with the fourth-best batting average (.276), 11th OBP (.329), fourth SLG (.473), sixth OPS (.802), and chipping in with a top-10 ISO (.197). Detroit is absolutely playing above their expected talent level, but for now the stats aren’t necessarily pointing to this being a fluke. 

With a 5.79 ERA and 4.80 FIP, Matt Manning’s stats definitely aren’t turning any heads. Nobody is typically that shocked when a rookie pitcher gets off to a tough start and after allowing 18 earned runs in just 28 innings, it seems Manning is following a common path … or is he? Of his 18 earned runs allowed, nine of them came in just 2.1 innings against Cleveland June 28. Since then, Manning has dramatically turned things around and has a solid 3.29 ERA and 3.45 FIP over his last three starts and 13.2 innings. That one blunder against Cleveland was his only start of the season where he has allowed more than two runs. He’s also somewhat familiar pitching at Target Field where just two starts ago he held Minnesota to two runs over five innings pitched. It seems Manning is getting stronger with each additional start he makes and having just kept these bats fairly quiet should give him the confidence to be able to repeat on the road.

This matchup is a classic case of two offenses heading in very different directions. As we did with Detroit, we’ll zero in on just the past two weeks. At 3-7, Minnesota is tied for the second-worst record — only the 0-10 Texas Rangers have been worse — and they have been a bottom-three profitable team losing $100-bettors a whopping $437 over that span. They have bottom-five marks in wOBA (29th, .277) and wRC+ (27th, 74) with nearly MLB-worst marks in all of their slash stats. They have the third-lowest average with a bottom-five BB%, leading to the second-worst OBP over the last two weeks. When they have defied all odds and actually hit the ball, they’re doing so with virtually no power, checking in with, again, the second-worst slugging in the league. It’s been a down year overall for Minnesota and if the past two weeks is any indication, things could be getting even darker as they continue to ship pieces out at the deadline.

Despite Minnesota’s troubles this year, Michael Pineda has been quietly putting together a respectable year. Through 13 starts, he’s checking in with a 3.93 ERA and a 4.29 FIP over the course of 66.1 innings. He’s on a fairly unlucky streak over his past five starts, where his ERA has ballooned to 6.65, but his FIP has actually dipped to 3.89. Even with a streak like that pointing firmly to positive regression, Pineda overall hasn’t exactly been overpowering. He ranks in the bottom-30% of the league in terms of average exit velocity, xWOBA, xERA, and K% and in the bottom-20% of the league in hard hit%, xBA and xSLG. Split-wise, he’s allowed an identical .322 wOBA at home and on the road with a FIP over half of a run higher at home. Pineda is certainly dealing with some bad luck right now and running into a lineup as hot as Detroit isn’t an easy way to try and turn that luck around.

The pick

Say it with me everyone, DIVISIONAL ROAD DOGS. Detroit opened up as +155 underdogs in this matchup at some books and by the time of this posting I’ve already seen them drop to +140 in a couple spots. Detroit has been absolutely mashing as of late and even their bullpen has significantly turned things around with the 2nd-best 2.40 FIP over the past two weeks. They’ve been playing lights out on both sides of the ball lately, while Minnesota has plummeted to the depths of the American League. I’m looking for Detroit and Matt Manning to continue their hot streaks in this one as Minnesota stays cold. Detroit +155 & u10.5 -115.

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