Billy J’s Friday MLB Pick – Philadelphia Phillies @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (+2.33 units), gives his best bet for today!

The battle for the Keystone State continues today for game two of this four game set at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. In the first game of the series the Phillies hung on for dear life and won 8-7. It would have been very Phillies-esque to blow a lead for their ace Zack Wheeler. But a win is a win no matter how you slice it.

The Pirates come into this game stumbling as much as you can during these summer months, and they have lost nine of their last eleven games. That includes their current four-game losing streak. It’s not looking too bright for the Pirates and we can imagine that there will be some notable names on the table in the next few days with the trade deadline looming.

One of the names who can very well be on the trading block is tonight’s starter in Jose Quintana (3-5, 3.70 ERA). The left-handed veteran wouldn’t come at a high asking price in the market and teams are always looking for left-handed pitching. For those looking to acquire Quintana, it may have to come with a tad bit of caution due to the home and road splits. At PNC Park, Quintana is 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA and a 3.67:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. On the road this year it has been a rocky road with an 0-2 record that includes a 5.22 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .264 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.14.

Squaring off against Quintana on the mound will be Phillies left-hander Bailey Falter (0-3, 5.18 ERA). In the battle of southpaws, Falter will look to earn his first win of the season and try to maintain his spot in the rotation. Falter has not gone more than five innings pitched in any start and this will be his first road start of this month. In his last start against the Cubs, Falter was tagged for three home runs and had 11 flyball outs compared to three. Although just his last start, not a good ratio to have in terms of keeping the ball in the yard in his start tonight. The Pirates lineup is not going to sting you too much with the longball as they are in the middle of the pack with 101 team home runs. However, they are still one of the worst hitting teams in the big leagues at a .220 average. The only team with a worse average is the Oakland Athletics at .214.

For this matchup nothing really sticks out. We’ve got a struggling team in the Pirates who are desperately trying to kick this losing streak and a Phillies team trying to hang around in the National League playoff race. When I see these types of matchups, I look at the money line and see if there is value. For the Pirates I can grab this game still at plus odds. Personally I’m a bit perplexed seeing the Phillies at -125 for the money line. I can get Quintana who has pitched far better at home against a plugin fifth starter with the Phillies whose ERA is climbing with each start. There is always uncertainty when a player’s name is mentioned in the trading market and makes things hard to predict. Quintana has been better at home and has picked up two wins this month and that includes a win against the Yankees. With a deep sigh I will go with what the current season trends tell me and pick the Pirates. 

The Pick: Pirates +105 for 1 Unit on Caesars SportsBook

Friday Bonus Parlay: Yankees (-385), Blue Jays (-385), and Astros (-178) +148 money line parlay for .5 Units on Caesars Sportsbook

There is some serious juice out there for these money lines. The Yankees and Blue Jays are currently at -385 each. Both teams are at home and facing the Royals and Tigers with their aces. Speaking of aces, add in Justin Verlander on his Cy Young campaign who is also at home. Banking on three teams to win any parlay is tough as it is no matter how lopsided the money lines are. To not get too crazy with this play, I’ll keep it safe here with a .5 unit play to bring back .73 units. 

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