Home | News | Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – July 31st, 2023

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – July 31st, 2023

By Hank Blaine

It’s always smart to wait until official lineups are posted before betting on an MLB game but especially early this week because of Tuesday’s MLB Trade Deadline as there are going to be some big-name guys dealt. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (July 31st, 2023)

Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs

  • When: Monday, July 31, 2023, 8:05 PM ET
  • Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
  • Radio: WTLO 1480 AM (Reds) // 670 The Score (Cubs)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: Reds (+102) // Cubs (-119)

The Cubs were expected to be sellers ahead of Tuesday’s Trade Deadline but instead got red hot and now management reportedly plans to hang on to pitcher Marcus Stroman and outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger even though both will become free agents this winter and may be lost for nothing.

Scouts from other teams had been following the Cubs in anticipation of them subtracting before Tuesday night’s trade deadline. Since June 9, the Cubs have the third-best winning percentage in the majors. This is just the third season in franchise history in which the team has found itself at least 10-games under .500 only to again reach the .500 mark (also 1968 and 1996).

Bellinger, 28, is having a resurgent year after signing a one-year, $17 million contract with Chicago last offseason. He’s hitting .315/.368/.540 this season but has been even better since the All-Star break. He has posted a 1.140 OPS since then while playing stellar defense, both in center field and first base.

Stroman (10-7) is scheduled to pitch Monday. Stroman allowed seven runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out four over 3.1 innings in a no-decision versus the White Sox on Wednesday. After an excellent first three months of the campaign, Stroman has struggled over his last six starts, allowing 28 runs (24 earned) over 27 innings with just one quality start in that span. The poor stretch has inflated his ERA from 2.28 to 3.51 and his WHIP from 1.02 to 1.20.

It will be his seventh career start vs. Cincinnati and the right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA (10 ER/35.1 IP) lifetime vs. the Reds, including 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/6.0 IP) in one start at Wrigley Field (Oct. 2, 2022). He made two starts against the Reds in 2022, going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP). Stroman has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his six starts vs. the Reds and has held Reds hitters to a .205 lifetime average (26-for-127), with a .264 OBP and a .323 SLG.

It’s Reds rookie lefty Andrew Abbott on the hill. Abbott (6-2, 1.90 ERA) earned the win Tuesday at Milwaukee after he struck out nine and allowed seven hits and one walk over six scoreless innings. Abbott induced 15 swinging strikes to help deliver his fifth scoreless start of the season. Since he surrendered six runs over 4.1 frames against Milwaukee on July 7, Abbott has given up just two runs across 20 innings over his past three starts.

MLB Betting Pick: Cubs

LA Angels vs. Atlanta Braves

  • When: Tuesday, August 1, 2023, 7:20 PM ET
  • Where: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
  • Radio: Angels Radio AM 830 (Angels) // WCBS 680 The Fan (Braves)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

Both of these teams are all-in for the playoffs and this series will feature the sure-fire MVP in each league in the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. It marks the Angels’ second ever visit to Truist Park (Braves won two of three head-to-head games last season). The all-time series vs. Atlanta is tied 9-9.

The Braves are the best team in the majors but could add some more relief help. The Angels chose last week to NOT trade Ohtani and instead landed starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo Lopez from the White Sox. They probably keep adding.

LA remains without star outfielder Mike Trout, probably at least until mid-August, and he was joined on the injured list Sunday by fellow outfielder Taylor Ward. He suffered facial fractures when he was hit in the head by a 91 mph pitch from Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah in the fifth inning Saturday. Ward did avoid any serious damage but still might need surgery. Ward, a six-year veteran who has spent his entire career with the Angels, is batting .253 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs in 97 games. The Angels currently have 17 players on the injured list, the most in the majors.

With rookie shortstop Zach Neto in the starting lineup, the Angels have a 35-25 record, including a 13-4 record in his last 17 starts. However, he hasn’t started since last Thursday in Detroit due to a back issue.

Lefty Patrick Sandoval (6-7, 4.13) is scheduled on the mound for the Angels. Sandoval earned the win in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader against Detroit, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four batters over five innings. He had a 2.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 17.1 frames in July.

It’s Braves ace and NL Cy Young contender Spencer Strider (11-3, 3.73) on the hill. Strider allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk while striking out 10 batters over 6.1 innings in a no-decision against Boston last Wednesday. It was his fourth straight outing of at least 10 Ks. Strider has only a single victory and a so-so 4.01 ERA during that span, but he’s posted a 44:3 K:BB across 24.2 frames during the stretch to boost his MLB-best strikeout total to 199.

MLB Betting Pick: Braves

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – August 7th, 2023