Expert MLB best bets, picks and predictions today, 7/26: Back this 10-1 spot from Zach Eflin

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin (24) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium.

I have found myself on a little bit of a run with my Pickswise best bets, as I’m 4-1 in my last 5 write-ups. After going through today’s MLB slate, I have identified 3 best bets to make. But don’t wait too long to place these because the first game starts at 12:10 PM!

Let’s get into my MLB best bets for Wednesday, and be sure to also visit our MLB predictions for all of today’s games.

You can bet on today’s MLB best bets over at DraftKings Sportsbook, which has a great sign-up offer where you can bet $5 and get $150 in bonus bets no matter what! Click here to take advantage and claim your bonus bets right now.


Tampa Bay Rays F5 -0.5 (-120) over Miami Marlins

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Today is a great day. Do you know why? Because Zach Eflin is pitching at home. The Rays are an incredible 10-1 in the first 5 innings when Eflin starts at home this season. The only loss during the incredible run came against the Phillies, but Eflin allowed only 1 run in the first 5 innings during that start. And since that loss, the Rays have won the first 5 innings with Eflin on the mound against the Braves and Orioles – arguably the top 2 teams in baseball. Taking a step back and looking at his stats, Eflin has a 2.10 ERA and a 0.810 WHIP in 11 starts at the Trop this season. He is also limiting hitters to a .193 batting average and .218 on-base percentage at home which is drastically different from his 5.36 ERA and .275 opponent batting average on the road. I’m not sure why, but Eflin loves pitching at Tropicana Field.

The downfall of Sandy Alcantara needs to be studied. The 2022 NL Cy Young winner has been terrible this season with a 4.70 ERA, 1.28 ERA and a .268 xBA which are all nearly career highs. In just July, Alcantara is 0-3 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.44 WHIP and has allowed hitters to have a .299 batting average and .288 xBA. And during those 4 starts, the Marlins are 1-3 in the first 5 innings. A slow start has been a common theme for the Marlins all season, and it’s continued after the break since Miami has won the first 5 innings in just 3 of their 10 games. For the cherry on top, the Fish rank 29th in both OPS and wRC+ in the second half of the season. I’m backing my favorite trend and taking the Rays to win the first 5 innings with Eflin at home.

Baltimore Orioles ML (+102) over Philadelphia Phillies

Available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing

Why is it that the second-best team in baseball with a pitcher who has allowed 2 runs in his last 19.1 innings is the underdog? I don’t get it, and hopefully we can make some money off of the oddsmakers’ misjudgment. Baltimore had won 5 of tits previous 6 games heading into last night’s contest, and it appeared like this team was going to add another victory to its record until a nightmare 9th inning happened. The Phillies had some luck and magic on their side and ended up walking off the Orioles following a 2-spot in the bottom of the 9th. However, today is a new day, and the starting pitching matchup heavily favors Baltimore. Kyle Bradish had a rough April, but he’s settled in nicely since then. He posted a 2.76 ERA in May, a 3.54 ERA in June and currently has a 1.07 ERA in July. He’s been Baltimore’s best pitcher this month as he’s surrendered just 3 runs in his last 25.1 innings against the Rays, Marlins, Yankees and Twins. His advanced metrics back up his success since he’s limited hitters to a .212 batting average with a .242 xBA.

Ranger Suarez’s season can best be described as a roller-coaster. The 27-year-old returned from injury to post a 7.13 ERA in May as he was shelled in 4 straight starts. Suarez then seemed to flip a switch, because he went on to have a 1.08 ERA in 5 starts in June. But now we’re back to the May version of Suarez, who has a 6.14 ERA in 4 starts in July. In this month, the southpaw has allowed 16 runs in 22.1 innings to the Nationals, Marlins, Padres and Guardians — not exactly powerful offenses. In those 4 outings, hitters have a .326 average with just a 17% strikeout rate against Suarez. And most importantly, Philadelphia is 1-3 in those 4 outings. The Orioles have the better team with the better starting pitcher and the better offense since the break, so I’ll back them for the win on the road.

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Chicago Cubs ML (-110) over Chicago White Sox

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

This is the closest Lance Lynn has been to a favorite since May 31, and by no means is it justified. Lynn has made 2 starts since the break and has allowed 13 runs, 14 hits, 6 home runs and 6 walks in 12.0 innings. This guy is supposed to take down the hottest offense in baseball right now? Yeah right! It’s not like Lynn has been getting unlucky, either; hitters have a .292 average with a .279 xBA in his past 2 starts. On Wednesday, Lynn will face a Cubs lineup that is making it clear that they don’t want to lose Cody Bellinger or Marcus Stroman, who happens to be today’s starter. Since the all-star break, the Cubs rank 1st in batting average, OPS and wRC+ while ranking 2nd in on-base and slugging percentage. Bellinger has been a man on a mission with a .395 average and 1.195 OPS in the second half, and it’s starting to look more and more like he might stay in Chicago.

Admittedly, Stroman has endured a rough July. His most recent start was his worst of the month as the Cardinals came to Wrigley Field and tagged him for 5 runs and 7 hits in 3.2 innings. But make no mistake; the White Sox and Cardinals are not the same. The Southsiders rank 27th in OPS and 26th in wRC+ while having the 10th-highest strikeout rate in the second half of the season. They have lost 6 of their last 7 games and now have to take on a red-hot Cubs lineup who handily took the first game of the series. Along with betting 1 unit on the Cubs money line, I’m putting 0.5 unit on the run line at +145.

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