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Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (July 18th, 2022)

By Hank Blaine

Once Major League Baseball comes out of its All-Star break, expect trade rumors to really heat up around talented A’s right-hander Frankie Montas, who is scheduled to start Thursday against the Detroit Tigers – quite possibly his last start in an Oakland uniform. Check back for MLB odds.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (July 18th, 2022)

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A’s

  • When: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 3:37 PM ET
  • Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
  • TV: Bally Sports Detroit, NBCSCA, MLBN (out-of-market only)
  • Radio: WXYT 97.1 FM (Tigers) / Bloomberg 960 AM (Athletics)
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

It’ll be Montas’ first appearance since he left his July 3 start due to what the team later announced as shoulder inflammation. Oakland never placed Montas on the injured list, even as he missed more than what would’ve been the 15-day minimum. The injury wound up costing him a couple starts, but that he’ll be back this week is the most important thing for the A’s.

Through 17 starts, he owns a 3.26 ERA with an above-average 25.8% strikeout rate. He’s walked only 6.2% of opponents and induced grounders on 47.1% of batted balls. Montas has been above-average at virtually everything, missing bats at a 12.9% clip while averaging north of 96 MPH on his fastball.

In what’s likely to be retroactively viewed as a clever piece of posturing, A’s executive David Forst is doing his best to suggest Montas won’t be traded: “We didn’t trade him in Spring Training because there wasn’t a trade that made sense for us. That will continue to be the case. Whether it’s at the deadline or next offseason or whatever, there’s not a feeling at all that in the next 30 days we have to trade Frankie Montas.”

With a full 2023 season still under team control, there’s a lot that the A’s could get in return for Montas, and it would be a major upset if he is still with Oakland on Aug. 3. Toronto, St. Louis, San Diego and the Mets have been listed as possible landing spots.

The A’s tore down the bulk of their core over the winter, shipping Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea out in a series of cost-cutting trades that also built up what had become an increasingly thin farm system.

Not clear whether the moderately disappointing Tigers (37-55) will do ahead of the deadline. One thing to watch in the second half is future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera climbing more all-time lists. He is currently tied with Ted Williams for 14th in history with 1,838 and will tie Al Simmons with 1,839. Cabrera is tied with Paul Molitor for 15th with 605 doubles and will tie Paul Waner for 14th at 606. Finally, Cabrera has 1,127 extra base hits and would tie Tris Speaker for 16th at 1,134.

MLB Betting Pick: A’s

READ MORE: Padres vs. Mets MLB Odds, Preview and Prediction – July 22nd, 2022

New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros

  • When: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 6:40 PM ET
  • Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
  • TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, ATT SportsNet-SW Bally Sports West
  • Radio: WADO 1280 (Yankees) / KBME 790 AM (Astros)
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

These teams play a doubleheader on Thursday and then are done for the regular season but it’s quite possible they meet in the playoffs as both clubs are going to make it. The Yankees are favored to win their first World Series since 2009.

New York has the best record in the majors at 64-28 (.696). Those 64 wins are their most before the All-Star break in franchise history (previous: 62 in 2018) and tied with the 2018 Astros for the third-most by a Major League team before the break. Only the 2018 Red Sox (68) and 1969 Orioles (65) had more.

Their 64-28 record matches their fifth-best 92-game start in franchise history (excluding ties) and marks just the sixth time the Yankees have won at least 64 of their first 92 decisions, trailing only the 1998 Yankees (68-24), 1928 Yankees (67-25), 1939 Yankees (66-26) and 1927 Yankees (66-26). The 1941 Yankees also went 64-28. New York is the sixth MLB team in the last 76 years (since 1947) to win 64 of their first 92 decisions of a season, joining the 2001 Mariners (66-26), 1998 Yankees (68-24), 1970 Reds (64-28), 1969 Orioles (64-28) and 1954 Indians (64-28). New York has only lost four series.

Aaron Judge is currently second to the Angels Shohei Ohtani in the betting race for AL MVP and Judge leads the majors with 33 homers. New York batters have hit 157 dingers this season, the 18th time the Yankees have led the majors (outright or tied) in home runs prior to the All-Star break (since the first ASG in 1933).

Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is having an MVP-caliber season as well but hasn’t played since July 9 due to hand inflammation. Not clear if Alvarez will return Thursday yet. He leads the Astros in hits (82), batting average (.306), home runs (26), RBIs (60), on-base percentage (.405), slugging percentage (.653) and OPS (1.058).

The Astros are an AL-best 24-8 in their last 32 games, dating back to June 12. Houston’s 59-32 record is the second-best record in the AL and second-best entering the All-Star break. The 2017 team was 60-29 at the break.

MLB Betting Pick: Split DH (pitchers TBA)

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (July 25th, 2022)