A day for the dogs — MLB and English Premier League underdog picks, that is: Best Bets for Aug. 5

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Each day, one of our experts at Homefield Sports will offer up a best bet (or two or three). It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that sportsbooks offer.

Here are the best bets for Friday, August 5:


The play: MLB, separate money line bets: Pirates over Orioles and Nationals over Phillies

The odds/bet: Pirates +130 ($20 to win $26); Nationals +170 ($15 to win $25.50)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: Both games 7:05 p.m. (Pirates-Orioles MLB TV; Nationals-Phillies Apple TV+)

Our take: What? The lowly Pirates and Nationals against hot teams chasing playoff spots?

I get what you’re thinking. But sometimes in sports betting, especially in Major League Baseball, you’ve got to be willing to zig where others zag. And in both of these cases, the pitching matchups favor the underdogs, neither of which is playing as bad as you might think.

The Pirates, who just swept a three-game series from the NL Central-leading Brewers, sent Mitch Keller to the mound. He’s posted four straight quality starts, including three in which he allowed just one run. The Orioles counter with Dean Kremer, who has been OK this year but doesn’t pitch deep into games — he hasn’t finished six innings since June 28 — and was rocked his last time out in Cincinnati.

As for the other game, the Nationals traded Juan Soto, as you might have heard. What you probably haven’t heard is the names of any of their remaining players. But in the small sample size since Tuesday’s deal, the Nats hardly look like a broken team — they split two games with the NL East-leading Mets and then lost 5-4 to the Phillies yesterday in a game that was called after five innings because of rain.

Today, Washington turns to Josiah Gray, one of the prospects they received in last summer’s blockbuster Trea Turner-Max Scherzer trade with the Dodgers. Gray’s numbers are pedestrian on the season, but he’s held his own against tough competition this year and strikes out more than a batter per inning. Counter that with Philadelphia starter Kyle Gibson, a pitch-to-contact specialist who has been up and down and is unlikely to overpower a young lineup.

Again, the goal here is to split these two games and turn a profit. If we can win both, even better.


The play: MLB run-line parlay, Rockies +1.5 over Diamondbacks/Reds +1.5 over Brewers

The odds/bet: +197 ($10 to win $19.70)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: Reds-Brewers 8:10 p.m. (Apple TV+); Rockies-Diamondbacks 9:40 p.m. (MLB TV)

Our take: Both of these games’ money lines seem too high, but we’ll go with the safer run line option here. The +1.5 can be a powerful factor in baseball betting, especially for road teams who get an extra at-bat in games they’re losing.

The Reds are by no means good, but they’ve righted the ship after an embarrassing start, and they’re catching a Brewers team that is some shambles after the aforementioned sweep at the hands of the Pirates.

The Rockies, meanwhile, tend to hit lefties well, and Diamondbacks southpaw Madison Bumgarner isn’t what he used to be. The over 8.5 is in play in this one, too, but we’ll take the cushion of a run line in a game that should be closer to a pick ’em.


The play: English Premier League, Leeds to beat Wolverhampton (tie loses)

The odds/bet: +135 ($10 to win $13.50)

The book: FanDuel

Time/TV: 10 a.m. Saturday (Peacock)

Our take: Posting this now because it takes place early Saturday — the plus money here is a gift. Leeds played well in the final third of last season, with American manager Jesse Marsch helping the club avoid relegation. Now they’re back with reinforcements, including American players Tyler Adams and Brendan Aaronson.

Momentum — and home field — is squarely on Leeds’ side here. Meanwhile, Wolves finished higher in last season’s table but wasn’t particularly impressive in the second half of the season, struggling to score goals and relying way too much on goalkeeper Jose Sa. I like Leeds to get off to a fine start this season.


Thursday’s best bets

(From Wednesday) PGA Wyndham Championship: Adam Long to finish in top 20 (LOST $24)

NFL preseason, Raiders-Jaguars UNDER 30.5 (LOST $33)

MLB parlay, Cardinals over Cubs/Phillies over Nationals (WON $11.80)

Thursday’s profit/loss: -$21.20 (1-1)

Total for the week: -$125.20 (1-6, 1 pending)

Total for August: -$125.20 (1-6, 1 pending)

Total for 2022: -$265.30 (192-221, 1 pending)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

Categories: Upstate Action

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