MLB Friday Night Lines: Best baseball bets, including Rays over Braves and underdog White Sox

Welcome back to Friday Night Lines, your weekly home for casual baseball bettors or even baseball fans who just enjoy making picks for fun. Many of you have gone through a long week at work and now it’s time to kick back with some of America’s pastime on a Friday night with a beverage of your choosing. 

That was a fun All-Star break, no? Now it’s time to get cracking on the second half and keep our good vibes going after a predictably rough start to the season. 

Season record: 22-22 (2-2 last week) … +717 (12-5 in last 17 moneyline picks)

All lines are courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook. 

And as always, best of fortune to our gambling friends. 

Pitching matchup: Michael Wacha (2-2, 4.87 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (8-3, 3.64 ERA)  

Featured Game | Atlanta Braves vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Braves are favored here, but they sure haven’t done much to inspire a ton of confidence to this point and now they are without their best player in Ronald Acuña Jr.

The reason the Braves are favored is likely two-fold. One, they are at home and two, the starting pitching matchup favors them. Let’s discuss those two. 

The Braves are 24-22 at home while the Rays are 25-20 on the road, so I fail to see a huge home-field advantage here. 

Morton is generally good, but he’s been inconsistent this season. He’s also got a 4.21 ERA in 11 home starts vs. 2.83 in seven road starts this season. 

As for Wacha, I’m not too worried about him being a major player here. Last time out, he went six innings, but in his previous nine outings, he only went deeper than four innings one time. Coming off the break, the Rays could rely heavily on the bullpen and just use Wacha to get through the Braves’ compromised lineup one or two times, depending upon how he’s throwing. After a 4.27 bullpen ERA in April, the Rays’ relievers have been excellent. 

I’m riding the underdog here. 

Pick: Rays moneyline (+115)

Pitching matchup: Lance McCullers (6-2, 2.94 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (7-4, 4.11 ERA)  

Featured Game | Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros

We’ve got a gut feeling on this one. Former Astros starter and current White Sox rotation-member Dallas Keuchel recently said something along the lines of his current team being very good at beating up inferior competition but needing to step up against good teams. He mentioned the Astros coming out of the break. His teammates rise to the occasion here. 

As a bonus, we get underdog odds for the Sox at home, where they are 31-14. 

Cease was a disaster against the Astros earlier this season, but it was in Minute Maid Park. He’s 3-4 with a 6.27 ERA away from home. In the comfortable confines of Guaranteed Rate Field, however, Cease is 4-0 with a 1.81 ERA. 

With McCullers, there isn’t really good news on the White Sox end. He’s good and has been consistent regarding both home and on the road. He held them down last time they saw him, too. We’re just gonna have to lean on the White Sox and Cease being so much better at home carrying the day here. 

Pick: White Sox moneyline (+115)

Pitching matchup: Julio Urias (11-3, 3.64 ERA) vs. Antonio Senzatela (2-8, 4.58 ERA)  

It bears repeating so long as the odds are going to be so heavily in our favor: The Rockies are great at home. The current win percentage shows that they play like a 105-win team at home. And yet we can get underdog odds just for them to come within 1.5 runs.

Yeah, the Dodgers are insanely talented, but they’ve been far from perfect. They are good away from home, but 26-21 is hardly anything to scare me off. 

Senzatela is much better at home (3.75 ERA) vs. the road (6.03), too. 

The Dodgers send lefty Urias to the hill and that’s even better news. The Rockies hit lefties at a .265/.329/.431 clip, which is 28 batting average points and 76 OPS points better than righties. Urias had a 5.28 ERA in seven career outings in Coors Field. 

It might seem scary to take the Rockies over the Dodgers, but even a one-run loss gets us home here. And the Rockies have won nine of their last 13. This is good action. 

Pick: Rockies on the +1.5 run line (+115)

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