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Best MLB Bets Today: Yankees, Tigers and a NRFI Prediction on Friday, July 5

Publish Date: 07/05/2024
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

Check out my Best MLB Picks for today

If you're looking to wash down the Fourth of July with a fun day of baseball, you're in luck. We've got a large collection of intriguing matchups up and down Friday's slate, and we've selected the three best lines to take a look at.

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

I'm going to take the opportunity to break down Red Sox vs Yankees on Friday as well as back an unsung hurler in Reese Olson before heading to Atlanta to find a NRFI prediction today.

Let's get right into the slate and hand out our MLB Best Bets for Friday, July 5.

Caesars
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MLB Betting Resources:

MLB BEST BET FOR BOSTON RED SOX VS NEW YORK YANKEES

It's admittedly tough these days to believe in the Yankees in the midst of a terrible offensive slump, but given the matchup we've got on our hands Friday it's hard not to favor them against their rivals.

The Boston Red Sox have made us a lot of money over the last month or so, but the one thing that remains true is that they've been considerably more potent against pitchers that avoid giving up batted balls in the air.

  • Boston is hitting .318 and slugging .512 against ground-ball pitchers this season to just .243 and .417 against fly-ballers.
  • There's been insane delta in OPS with this split of over 150 points, and that's simply hard to ignore -- even in a park which will reward fly balls in New York.

Nestor Cortes has once again served up plenty of fly balls this season at 33.9% -- more than 10 points higher than average -- but he's managed to allow just a .231 Expected Batting Average and .392 Expected Slugging, both of which sit comfortably below the league norm.

Though he's hit a bit of a wall over the last month, I still feel as though these splits are hard to ignore.

  • On the flip side, the Yankees rank inside the top five against ground-ball types and will meet Tanner Houck here, who's been a bit lucky to pitch around a .256 xBA to a 2.67 ERA.

The Red Sox infield defense continues to rank among the worst in the league, so with a hard-hit rate over 8 points worse than average and so many expected hits it's a marvel that Houck has survived this long.

New York's shown some signs of life at the dish lately, too, ranking fifth in wRC+ over the last week while Boston has slipped back into mediocrity with a 99 wRC+ and just a .142 Isolated Power. I think New York is the only way to bet this one.

Caesars
Caesars
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Best Bet: Yankees ML (-140 at Caesars)

Looking to bet this one as the action unfolds? Check out our MLB Live Betting Guide.

MLB BEST BET FOR DETROIT TIGERS VS CINCINNATI REDS

Carson Spiers has pitched just 37 1/3 innings this season after a pretty middling first 13 innings as a rookie last year, so the book is very much still out on him.

  • The nicest thing we can say about him is that he's been average at this level, though he did own a 2.51 ERA down in Triple-A before getting the call this year.

I still remain skeptical that he can deal with a Tigers team which owns a .201 ISO over the last week of play and has been mainly held down by strikeouts this season. Spiers won't offer plenty of hope in that category, and Detroit has also looked a tick better against right-handers this year.

  • The main guy I'm looking at here is Reese Olson, who's been a wizard when it comes to rolling up ground balls and getting outs on contact.
  • His strikeout numbers have even begun to come up over the last month or so as well, so against a fly ball-happy Reds team that struggles with ground-ball types and strikeouts as a result of their approach, I think Olson should be in an excellent spot.

Detroit's ability to slug lately should be on full display inside one of the smallest ballparks in the league, and Olson's knack for contact on the ground should help him stick around for a long outing.

DraftKings
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Best Bet: Tigers ML (+110 at DraftKings)

Not sure where to place your bet? Be sure to check out our ballislifebets section. 

MLB BEST NRFI BET TODAY

In a pitcher's duel between Aaron Nola and Max Fried, it may not seem like the most novel concept to take the No Run in the First Inning. With that said, I think there's no better game to circle for our NRFI today.

  • Nola's owned great numbers in his career against the top of the Braves' order, pitching to a .211 xBA against Ozzie Albies and a .266 xBA against Marcell Ozuna.
  • While Albies is hitting the ball well as Atlanta searches for answers at the dish, Ozuna has hit just .200 over the last week of play and leadoff man Jarred Kelenic has cooled as well in hitting .217 with a poor 32% strikeout rate during that time.

With that, I have few issues with backing Nola to navigate the first, and though I'm not Max Fried's biggest fan I see few potential problems with him here.

We've picked on the Phillies for a NRFI a few times in the last week after they lost both Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber at the top of this lineup, and even though there are some capable replacements towards the top on Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh, they'll be at a platoon disadvantage against the southpaw Fried.

  • Stott owns just a .222 xBA in his career against Fried, and while Bohm and Turner have fared better, the former has been ice cold at the dish over the last week with a hit in just 22% of his at-bats.

Fried continues to pitch to ground balls incredibly effectively to few walks, which should mean the Phillies' only route to a run in the first requires several baserunners. I don't see that happening, and think this line is a little unfair to two stud arms.

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NRFI Prediction: Phillies vs. Braves NRFI (-125 at BetMGM)

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