Baseball best bets as the MLB trade deadline takes center stage

What a whirlwind 48 hours it has been in the world of sports. Thursday brought plenty of blockbuster trades both in the MLB and the NBA, and then we topped it all off with the NBA Draft. The hits have not stopped coming today.

Honestly, as soon as you compose your thoughts about a trade, another one smacks you in the face. MLB has been going nuts with today’s trade deadline, and you need to check out our trade tracker to keep up to date with everything. Your team might look a lot different than it did 15 minutes ago.

Especially if you’re a Cubs fan. The teardown began in earnest on Thursday when the team shipped Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees, and it has continued today. I’m not even sure how many players will be available for the Cubs tonight when they’re scheduled to play a Washington Nationals team that unloaded a lot of players itself.

If you’re in the D.C. area, maybe head to the ballpark tonight and see if you can get into a lineup.

Now for tonight’s picks, which we hope to trade for cash considerations.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Cleveland at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: White Sox -1.5 (-115)
: An extraordinary thing happened on Thursday afternoon. Cleveland entered the day 8.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the Cleveland chose to trade their starting second baseman, Cesar Hernandez. If trading your starting second baseman doesn’t seem like enough of a white flag move, the surrender gets stronger. Do you know who they traded him to?

The White Sox.

The same White Sox they’re chasing in the division and the team they’ll be playing tonight. Now, it makes sense because the Cleveland starting rotation has been decimated by injury, and the team announced yesterday that manager Terry Francona was stepping away from the team due to health reasons. These aren’t ideal conditions for staging a late-season comeback within the division.

Allan Bell is joined by Justin Perri and Mike McClure to dish out Friday’s best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify  

And tonight, the gap between these two teams should make itself evident on the field. The White Sox have upgraded their lineup and bullpen in the last couple of days and have Cy Young candidate Lance Lynn on the mound tonight. Cleveland had a weak offense, to begin with, and one of its most productive bats will be playing for the other team tonight. Cleveland conceded the division on Thursday, and tonight will only make things a little more official.

Key Trend: The White Sox are 47-17 in their last 64 games as a home favorite.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model isn’t interested in either side of the spread here, but it does have an A-graded play on one side of the money line.

💰The Picks

Getty Images


Reds at Mets, 7:10 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Reds (+125) — 
Carlos Carrasco will return to the pitcher’s mound for the first time since last September tonight, making his debut for the Mets. That’s great news for Carrasco, who is returning from a torn hamstring, which probably wasn’t as difficult as battling leukemia in 2019. Still, while it’s great news for the Mets and Carrasco in the long-term, I’m not sure what version of Carrasco we’ll see tonight.

I can’t imagine a world in which Carrasco pitches deep into the game tonight, which means a Mets bullpen that’s good but not great will have to cover a lot of innings, and I have more faith in the back end of the Mets pen than I do the middle part. So I see the Reds as a live dog in this matchup.

Key Trend: The Reds have won six of seven on the road.


Timbers at Galaxy, 10:18 p.m | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Timbers or Draw (-130) — 
I’m an idiot for working on an MLS betting strategy during a summer with multiple international tournaments taking place. Those tournaments — particularly Copa America and the Gold Cup — feature a lot of players who call MLS home, which leads to some strange lineups, and makes it more challenging to handicap matchups. But while I’m an idiot, the early returns on my MLS strategy have proven successful!

And tonight, that process tells me there’s value to be had on Portland as it hits the road to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy sit in third in the Western Conference, but underlying metrics suggest that they haven’t played to that standard, and it’s hard to ignore recent results — they’ve only managed one win in their last five matches. They’ve also failed to finish any of their last five matches with a higher expected goals (xG) than their opponent. The Galaxy simply aren’t playing as well as the prices on this match suggest.

Key Trend: The Galaxy have only won one of their last five matches.

All right, I have no idea how to bet MMA, but there’s a colossal Bellator fight on Showtime this weekend, and it’d be plain irresponsible of me not to give you a reason to bet on some excellent fights. Thankfully, I’ve brought in CBS Sports MMA writer Brent Brookhouse to share a pick with us for Saturday night’s main event.

🥊 Bellator

Patricio Pitbull vs. A.J. McKee, Saturday, 9 p.m | TV: Showtime
The Pick: A.J. McKee by KO/TKO/DQ or Submission (+225)
 — McKee presents some significant problems for Pitbull, not the least of which is his length. McKee is taller and rangier than almost everyone Pitbull has fought in Bellator. While Pitbull is often the smaller man in his fights, McKee is a different animal, with a striking game that has come along nicely to pair with his grappling skills. Pitbull will have to figure out how to get inside on McKee so he can go to work with his looping bombs. Once Pitbull manages to get inside, he has to deal with McKee looking to put the fight on the floor where he McKee has a strong edge as long as he can keep himself out of Pitbull’s dangerous guillotine choke.

Despite McKee’s advantages on the ground and in the purely physical, Pitbull is a deserved favorite entering the cage. He has faced the higher level of competition while being a dominant force for years. Pitbull could easily win the fight with his striking alone and McKee will need to be cautious at every turn. That said, McKee has been brought along brilliantly and is ready to take the next leap in his development, becoming world champion. Look for some tense rounds before McKee traps Pitbull in a bad spot on the ground and goes to work for a TKO win.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Mixed martial arts expert Ian Parker has revealed his top selections for Saturday’s UFC showcase in Las Vegas.

💸 The DFS Rundown


Top Three Starters

Value Starter

Today’s Top Stack

Value Hitter

 ⚾ Chalk City Parlay

We’re betting three of the biggest favorites on the board tonight in a three-leg parlay paying +233.

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