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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Games to Watch - Friday

Typically, July 31st is the most consequential date of the MLB regular season.

When seasons start in Late March, the trade deadline is on July 31st and that is when contending teams make moves at the deadline.

This year with the season starting later, July 31st is just another day. With about 10% of the season completed, we think that we are getting a better idea of what to expect.

However, this is not the case as people are overreacting to the small sample size of games that have been played over the last week.

For Friday, I'm focuing on an American League East rivalry plus an Interleague matchup between Detroit and Cincinnati.

Red Sox at Yankees
Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network 

Red Sox at Yankees Odds

  • Boston Red Sox (+190)
  • New York Yankees (-210)
  • Run Total 11 (Over +100, Under -120)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Ryan Weber RHP (0-1, 14.73 ERA)
  • Jordan Montgomery LHP (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

As a Bronx resident who lives fifteen minutes away from Yankees Stadium, I would typically attend a Friday night Yankees game. However, this year I am stuck watching the game on television.

The conventional wisdom is that the Yankees are going to wipe the floor with the Red Sox this year. As a lifelong Yankees fan nothing would make me happier, but when looking at the facts the Red Sox are a much better team than people give them credit for. The Red Sox have a great lineup that make them competitive in every game. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are using questionable starting pitchers in Friday’s game. Based on neither team having an unquestionable edge in Friday’s game, I am betting on the Red Sox moneyline at +190 odds.
When looking at the starting lineups for both teams, you would have a hard time arguing that the Red Sox are significantly worse than the Yankees. Currently the Red Sox are averaging 5.33 runs per game which is .83 more runs per game on average than the Yankees. Over the course of a full season at an average ballpark, my model projects that the projected lineup for the Yankees would average 5.5 runs per game.

For the Red Sox, my model projects that Friday’s projected lineup would generate 5.25 runs per game. The Yankees are the most popular baseball team in the world, so there is more of an awareness to the Yankees lineup that is anchored by Aaron Judge, Gleybar Torres, and Giancarlo Stanton. But the Red Sox have dangerous offensive weapons as well with a lineup anchored by J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts. If the Yankees lineup has an off day on Friday, I expect the Red Sox to step up to the occasion and surprise the Yankees and betting public.
With two nearly equal lineups for Friday’s game, the starting pitching is likely to decide the game. Both teams are using unreliable starting pitchers in Ryan Weber for the Red Sox and Jordan Montgomery for the New York Yankees.

While Weber is widely viewed to be a borderline starter, I do not see how he is significantly worse than Montgomery. Since Montgomery had season-ending Tommy John Surgery in 2018, Montgomery has not been the same in limited action. Montgomery has yet to pitch this season and he only pitched four innings in 2019. There is a good chance that Montgomery will never be the same pitcher again, and if that is the case then betting on the Red Sox moneyline at +190 odds is a smart bet.

Especially when you consider that the Red Sox have a lineup that can tear him to shreds. 

Boston at New York
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Boston Red Sox Moneyline +190 - Bet the Red Sox at BetMGM
Final Score Prediction:
Boston Red Sox 8, New York Yankees 7 

Reds at Tigers
Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 7:10 PM
TV: MLB Network 

Reds at Tigers Odds

  • Cincinnati Reds (-155)
  • Detroit Tigers (+130)
  • Run Total 9.0 (Over -110, Under -110) 

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Luis Castillo RHP (0-0, 1.50 ERA)
  • Spencer Turnbull RHP (0-0, 1.80 ERA) 

Friday’s matchup between the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers is projected to result in a Reds victory. I agree with that projection as the Reds despite getting off to a slow start are going to contend for the NL Central Division Championship.

The Tigers meanwhile despite starting off the 2020 season 4-2 are coming off a 2019 season in which they went 47-114. Despite the moneyline odds being efficiently set, the run total has been set too low at nine total runs between the Reds and Tigers.

The Reds have arguably benefited more from a universal DH than any other National League team as their lineup is loaded. The Tigers lineup recently has shown signs of life. With both teams being capable of producing runs I am betting that over nine runs will be scored at -110 juice.
The Reds lineup is well-rounded and full of dangerous offensive weapons. Seven out of nine starting position players in the Reds lineup are projected to end the season with a wRC+ of at least 113. With the average player in baseball having an wRC+ of 100, this means that virtually every player in the Reds lineup is above average offensively. Currently the Reds are third in the league in runs per game as they average an astounding 6.17 runs per game.

The Tigers lineup while a work in a progress is an improvement over last season. Since the Tigers added C.J Cron and Jonathan Schoop in the offseason, they went from averaging 3.61 runs per game in 2019 to 4.17 runs per game in 2020.
In my opinion, the only thing that could stop the run total from going over nine runs is Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo. He is the ace of the Reds rotation and in his last outing he pitched six innings giving up only one earned run.

Even against the Tigers I have a hard time imagining Castillo duplicating that performance again. I think it is more likely that Castillo pitches between five and six innings giving up two to three earned runs.

Even if Castillo does perform well on Friday night, Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull is a convicted loser. In 2019, Turnbull went 3-17 with a 4.61 ERA. I think that the Reds will score even more runs than they normally score in their matchup against the Tigers and Turnbull. That is why you should bet that over nine runs will be scored. 

Cincinnati at Detroit
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Over 9 Runs (-110) - Bang the Over at BetMGM
Final Score Prediction:
Cincinnati Reds 8, Detroit Tigers 4 

Best Bets Tracker

Boston Red Sox Moneyline (+190)
Reds/Tigers Over 9 Runs (-110)

How do I handicap my MLB Best Bets?

My MLB handicapping model is based on the baseball pythagorean theorem where you can predict a team's winning percentage based on how many runs they score and allow over the course of the season.
I make projections on how many runs each player scores or allows for how that team's projected roster for that day would do over the course of a full season.

Once I have a projected winning percentage for both teams, I have a formula I use to determine each team's probability of winning. For example, I calculate what percentage of games a .500 team wins against a .400 win team.


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