Expert MLB best bets, picks and predictions today, 7/20: Blake Snell is on a 9-1 run

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) is greeted in the dugout after pitching the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Petco Park.

It’s a slightly smaller MLB slate on Thursday with just 10 games, but there’s still plenty of value on the board. Games start early with a 12:20 pm ET first pitch in Atlanta and concludes with a 9:40 pm ET start in Oakland. Let’s get into my MLB best bets for Thursday, and be sure to also visit our MLB predictions for all of today’s games.

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San Diego Padres vs Toronto Blue Jays F3 Under 2.5 (+105)

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Blake Snell has turned himself into a legitimate candidate for the NL Cy Young Award. However, there’s also been an unlikely hero in the shadows that has played a huge role in Snell’s success: Gary Sanchez. Sanchez was signed by the Padres at the end of May and has caught Snell’s last 9 starts, and looking at Snell’s game log, 9 starts ago was exactly when the lefty turned the corner. With Sanchez as his catcher, Snell has a 0.51 ERA in 53 innings and has limited hitters to a .150 batting average, .243 on-base percentage, .194 slugging percentage and .437 OPS. But the craziness doesn’t stop there — Snell’s strikeout rate before Sanchez was 27.9%, but with Sanchez, it has skyrocketed to 46.1%. To get more specific for this wager, Snell has surrendered just 4 runs in the first 3 innings in his last 10 starts.

Chris Bassitt has been a Cy Young contender… at home. On the road, not so much. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA and a 0.874 WHIP and has limited hitters to a .165 batting average, .259 on-base percentage and .499 OPS in 9 starts in Toronto this season. However, he’s a completely different pitcher on the road considering he has a 5.71 ERA and .304 opponent batting average in 11 starts away from Canada. And looking at his game log, Bassitt has allowed only 3 runs in the first 3 innings in his last 6 home outings. Oddsmakers have underestimated the pitching matchup due to Bassitt’s season-long stats, so I’m taking advantage of the value and taking the first 3 innings under.

Don’t forget to check out my MLB YRFI/NRFI best bets — we’re on a 5-1 run!

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Toronto Blue Jays F5 Team Total Under 2.5 (-145)

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Happy Blake Snell Day! San Diego’s ace has been on a spectacular run recently, as mentioned above, and he gets a chance to continue his Cy Young bid against the Blue Jays on Thursday. The addition of Sanchez has obviously been a huge factor in Snell’s improvement, but going back one start before Sanchez, Snell has a 0.62 ERA in his last 10 starts. The reason I would go back an extra start is because Snell has held his opponent below their first 5 innings total in 9 of his last 10 starts. The only time he has failed to keep an opponent under their first 5 innings total was against the Pirates, as he allowed 2 runs in the first inning, but he then went on to throw 4 innings of shutout baseball after that. Still, 9-1 is quite a streak. I’m backing the trend until Snell shows any signs of being hittable.

Lock in my +863 MLB mega parlay for today’s action

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