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Best MLB Bets Today July 3: Backing Zack Wheeler on Wednesday

Publish Date: 07/03/2024
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

Check out my Best MLB Picks for today

We've got ourselves a loaded baseball slate to bet on Wednesday with some of the top arms in the game toeing the slab throughout the evening.

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Zack Wheeler is one who should find himself in a favorable spot against a struggling Cubs team, and even if his offense is missing some big bats I still think they may do enough against Shota Imanaga on the road. I'm also ready to fade Adam Mazur once again, and will look to a fellow NL West pitcher to take us home with a NRFI bet.

Let's explain the above and get right into our MLB Best Bets for Wednesday, July 3.

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MLB BEST BETS FOR PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES VS CHICAGO CUBS

The Cubs have been abysmal of late, striking out in nearly 28% of their plate appearances over the last week and hitting just .202. Sure, they're walking a but more and looking ever so slightly better, btu this is not a matchup where we want to be betting on them.

Not against Wheeler, who's been one of the most consistent strikeout arms in baseball over the past three seasons.

  • He's pitched around a middling ground-ball rate to incredible success this season with a .208 Expected Batting Average that would be a career-best and a sharp decline in hard-hit balls.

The Cubs' lone redeeming quality of late has been their power, and now that they'll be heading home to their pitcher-friendly park against a guy who should miss plenty of bats I think those numbers will regress.

Their starter, Shota Imanaga, is quite good -- and his recent clunker against the Mets is merely an outlier when you look at how his expected numbers have been trending.

  • With that said, even though the Phillies are missing Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, their offense has looked the part of in the past two games and can boast a .253 average against fly-ball putchers to rank fourth in the game.

Imanaga is as extreme as they come in that department, and despite what I've said about the spacious nature of Wrigley Field the key here is that the Phillies should be capable of piling up hits given their steady contact against these types of pitchers.

Factor in, too, that they haven't been a very power-reliant team and also haven't hit a ton of fly balls and I think we've got ourselves a winner to start the night.

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Best Bet: Phillies ML (-112 at DraftKings)

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

MLB BEST BET FOR SAN DIEGO PADRES VS TEXAS RANGERS

It's incredibly tough to pitch to fly balls inside Globe Life Field, which ranks third in Park Factor over the last three years, so the task at hand here for young Adam Mazur -- owner of a low 36% ground-ball rate -- will be mighty large.

Mazur has stumbled out of the gates to begin his big-league career, and even tough he seemed to reign in the issues with walks last time out against the Nationals he still allowed a home run for a third time in four starts and has now yielded 11 hits over his last two, spanning 9 2/3 innings.

Texas is without Corey Seager at the moment, but its offense is beginning to show some signs of life and can still hit the ball out of the park at a high rate with its fly-ball approach, as we saw over the weekend.

  • Mazur should continue to serve up some longballs here, and against a team which hasn't struck out much this season, I expect his .275 xBA to play up quite a bit here.

On the other side of the coin, the Padres continue to look a little flat at the plate over the last week and even though they've done just as good of a job -- if not better -- of limiting strikeouts, that should actually be a good thing here.

  • That's because Jon Gray has done a good enough job on contact over the last two years, allowing hits at roughly a league average rate to opponents, and despite some higher expected numbers he'll have the best defense in baseball by Outs Above Average behind him.

I think you want to bet on the Rangers' defense here to make some plays and steal this game away from the Padres, given they'll be afforded plenty of opportunities to do so. You also certainly don't want to back Mazur in this spot given what we've seen out of him to start his rookie year, even if the Rangers may not seem like the strongest offense on paper.

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Best Bet: Rangers ML (-137 at Caesars)

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

MLB BEST NRFI BET TODAY

Let's get a NRFI bet on the card for Wednesday, and let's say some nice things about Jordan Hicks.

Yes, the right-hander's expected numbers and real-life results have tailed off in the last month or so, but it's important to note that he's been battling an illness for much of this stretch. He's still producing ground balls at a high rate and his strikeout prowess has begun to show itself here in the month of June.

  • He's been burned by the occasional longball, but to start games off he's been pretty competent with a .213 Batting Average against him in the first inning and an acceptable 3.18 ERA. Pitching to a heavy fly-ball team, I like him to keep the ball in the yard to start and work a clean first.

On the flip side, Chris Sale has been downright special this season with a return to form that's featured a 2.79 ERA and fantastic 32.3% strikeout rate, and this is of grave concern for San Francisco.

Yes, the Giants have recently returned LaMonte Wade, Jr. and Mike Yastrzemski to the lineup to give them a stronger look, but the unfortunate news here is that because they hit from the left side, they won't be featured here against a southpaw in Sale.

With that, I expect a ho-hum first to open things up.

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NRFI Prediction: Giants vs Braves NRFI (-135 at Caesars)

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