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Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (June 20th, 2022)

By Hank Blaine

The Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t very good but tonight (June 20) is a big night for the franchise as highly touted prospect Oneil Cruz is expected to make his debut against the Chicago Cubs. Cruz was killing the ball this spring but the Bucs sent him down for service-time reasons – even though they wouldn’t admit that. Cruz is among the NL Rookie of the Year betting favorites even though it’s already nearly two months in and he hasn’t played yet. Check back for MLB odds.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (June 20th, 2022)

READ MORE: 2022 MLB Midseason Bold Predictions

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago White Sox

  • When: Monday, June 20, 2022, 8:10 PM ET
  • Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Il
  • Radio: SN590 (Blue Jays) / WMVP 1000 AM (White Sox)
  • MLB Betting Odds: Blue Jays (-128) / White Sox (+112)

The Blue Jays swept an earlier home series against the White Sox but Chicago is a much better team at home. The Sox also will get arguably their most important player off the injured list tonight in All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson. He has been out since late May with a groin injury.

Anderson’s batting line is currently .356/.393/.503, which amounts to a wRC+ of 161, 20 points beyond his previous career high. He’s also dropped his strikeout rate to 11.6 percent after being between 21 and 23 percent in the previous three seasons. How important is Anderson to the team? Chicago is 123-89 since 2020 when Anderson is in the lineup, compared to 36-38 when he is not.

The Sox are a disappointing 31-33 largely because of injuries and seven players still are right-handed pitchers Kyle Crick (right elbow inflammation), Liam Hendriks (right forearm strain) and Jonathan Stiever (right lat surgery), lefties Aaron Bummer (strained left lat) and Garrett Crochet (Tommy John surgery), catcher Yasmani Grandal (lower back spasms) and outfielder Eloy Jiménez (right hamstring tendon tear). Both Hendriks, the team’s closer, and Jimenez could be back fairly soon but just not for this series. Kendall Graveman has been closing in Hendriks’ spot.

The Jays rallied from an 8-3 sixth-inning deficit on Sunday to beat the Yankees 10-9 to improve to 38-28 overall this season. It was Toronto’s 15th comeback win of the year and oddly the Jays’ first win of the year in three tries when homering four times. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smashed his team-leading 17th of the season and his eight dingers in the month of June, tied with Byron Buxton for the most in MLB. Jordan Romano picked up his AL-leading 17th save of the season, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings. That means he probably won’t be available tonight.

MLB Betting Pick: White Sox

LA Dodgers vs. Cincinnati Reds

  • When: Tuesday, June 21, 2022. 6:40pm ET.
  • Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH
  • TV: SportsNet LA, Bally Sports Ohio
  • Radio: Dodgers Radio AM570 (Dodgers) / WLW 700 AM (Reds)
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

Is Tony Gonsolin the best pitcher in baseball? I don’t think many would say yes but perhaps he should be considered as Gonsolin rather quietly is 8-0 with an MLB-best 1.42 ERA yet is only a +2200 longer shot to win the NL Cy Young Award. He starts Tuesday in Cincinnati.

Gonsolin has not given up more than three runs in any game this season, and that was just one time, in April against Arizona. He has had five starts where he allowed no runs, four starts with one run and two starts with two runs. Gonsolin has always been a good pitcher who could never pitch deep into games, but he has pitched at least six innings in his last six starts. He also has been miserable in the postseason, where he has a 9.45 ERA in 13.1 innings.

It’s a good thing Gonsolin has been so good because ace Walker Buehler has struggled this season, and now is going to miss three months with a flexor tendon strain in his right arm. Gonsolin will the Reds for the fourth time in his career (three starts), he is 0-0 with a 4.26 ERA (3 ER/6.1 IP) and four strikeouts.

The Dodgers also have placed MVP candidate Mookie Betts on the injured list with a cracked rib. Betts is batting .273 this season with 17 home runs, 40 RBIs and 6 stolen bases.

“You’re taking one of the best players in baseball out of the lineup,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s a big blow, but at least we know what we’re dealing with and we’re going to get him back sooner rather than later.”

When the Dodgers hosted the Reds in April, the Dodgers earned their third four-game series sweep of the Reds in Los Angeles (7/12-7/14, 1958 & 4/14-4/17, 1975). Dating back to a 3-1 win on 9/17/21 at Great American Ball Park, the Reds have lost the last 6 games vs. LA. The Dodgers’ .607 winning percentage at Great American Ball Park (37-24) is the second-best by any National League team (Mets, .632, 36-21).

MLB Betting Pick: Dodgers

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

READ MORE: Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (June 27th, 2022)