MLB’s regular season is back after the break and these are the best bets to open the second half

Today we were presented with another reminder that removing all references to your employer from your social media bio is the only thing you have to do to make a lot of money. OK, maybe it helps if you play quarterback too.

After months of dancing around it and playing silly games, the Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray agreed to a contract extension. It’s a five-year extension that will pay Murray $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed. That’s just over $46 million per year and per foot tall.

So I guess we can finally say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kyler Murray made the correct decision to pass up the Oakland Athletics for the NFL. Just in case winning a Heisman and then going as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft hadn’t already done so.

Elsewhere in the wide world of sports…

Baseball is back in action, so let’s do like Pete Rose and bet on it.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Giants at Dodgers, 10:09 p.m. | TV: ESPN

  • Key Trend: The under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
  • The Pick: Under 8 (-120)

Carlos Rodon might not have been at Dodger Stadium for the All-Star Game this week (he made the team as an injury replacement and was then replaced himself due to a blister), but he’ll be in the building tonight as long-time rivals kick off the second half of the season against each other. Rodon has been terrific for the Giants this season, posting an ERA of 2.66 with a strikeout rate of 30.8%. While walks remain an issue for him, he has brought his walk rate down to 8.2%, which is just about the league average for a starter.

However, tonight presents a significant challenge for him, as the Dodgers have one of the deepest lineups in the league. If there’s good news for Rodon, it’s that while the Dodgers destroy righties (the team’s 122 wRC+ against them is a league-best), they’re merely “very good” (111 wRC+) against lefties. Because of that, I can see the Dodgers struggling to score runs tonight against Rodon and a rested Giants bullpen.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by Mike McClure, Larry Hartstein and Calvin Wetzel to dish out Thursday’s best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

They won’t struggle enough to cause me to take the Giants, though, because I don’t particularly love the matchup of the Giants offense against Los Angeles’ Mitch White and a well-rested pen of its own.

Four runs should be enough to win this game more often than not, which makes the under seem like a much smarter play in my eyes than taking either team to win outright.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model has a slight lean toward the over tonight, but it has a stronger lean on the money line.

💰The Picks

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Yankees at Astros, 6:40 p.m | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Yankees (+105) — 
This will be the second game of a doubleheader. A big appeal of this play is that we get to bet on the Yankees as underdogs. That doesn’t happen often. In fact, it’s only happened five times this season and guess what? The Yankees have won four of those five games. Tonight the Yankees will be sending Domingo German to the mound for his 2022 debut, and he was lights out in five minor league starts to get ready. German is not a shutdown starter by any stretch, but when right, he misses bats and avoids walks. The problem is he’s not right often enough.

Still, German is backed by the most dangerous offense in the sport, and while Houston’s Luis Garcia does a lot of things well, he’s not overpowering. His strikeout rate is satisfactory, and he avoids walks and induces ground balls, but I’m always wary of any starter who isn’t overpowering against this Yankees team. If you let the Yankees get the bat on the ball too often, they’ll kill you. So this seems like an excellent spot to take a shot on the Bronx Bombers to do some bombing.

Key Trend: The Yankees are 4-1 as underdogs this season.

Tigers at Athletics, 7:07 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 7 (-110) — 
Here we have another nightcap to a doubleheader and one with a total that confuses me. It shouldn’t be this low. Frankie Montas has been excellent for Oakland this season and will be one of the most sought-after starters on the trade market, but Montas left his last start due to shoulder inflammation back on July 3. So he’s coming off a shoulder issue and hasn’t pitched in nearly three weeks. It isn’t crazy to think he might not be sharp.

Detroit is sending Garrett Hill to the mound, and while we’ve only seen 11 innings from Hill this season, they have not been promising. He’s been smacked around to the tune of a 5.73 ERA, and any bat he misses is almost an accident. Yes, these are the two worst offenses in the league (they rank 29th and 30th in run rate), but in the second game of a doubleheader, with a couple of arms that don’t seem to be in the best condition pitching, we should see runs.

Key Trend: The over is 9-3 in the second games of Oakland’s last 12 doubleheaders. Yes, somebody out there tracks that.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for more picks? The Early Edge Podcast shared all its favorite plays for Thursday.

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