Free MLB Picks – July 20, 2018

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MLB Free Pick Today

The Phillies lead the NL East as we return from the All-Star break. Can they finish the job and win us our 14-1 bet in the process?

Welcome back to the LazyBets MLB Picks column for Friday, July 20th.  We hope you enjoyed the All-Star festivities - we particularly loved the Home Run Derby, which has been legitimately awesome since the time limit and 1v1 bracket format was implemented in 2016.  Good work on that one, MLB.

With our batteries recharged and a solid first half behind us (68-50 record), we’re ready to take you all the way through the 2018 World Series with our free daily MLB picks.  We’re feeling more and more confident in our ability to pick winners this season - we hope you’ll join us in our quest to beat the books and make some bank in the second half.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on some of the wagers we made in the preseason - our best bets to win each division look like they’re going to turn a profit at the very least.   The odds have improved for 5 out of the 6 teams we bet on -  most notably, the Philadelphia Phillies are now the +150 favorites to win the NL East after we took them at better than 14-1 odds in the preseason.  That single wager could make us a 250% profit on all of the bets we made all on it’s own - needless to say we were a little disappointed that they missed out on the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

We still think that the Fightin’ Phils have a great chance of finishing the job, and we like the matchup they’re getting coming out of the break.  They’ll face off against San Diego in a three-game set - while the Padres’ future is looking very bright, the rest of 2018 should involve a good deal of losing.  We think that will be the case on Friday - let’s get into it.

San Diego Padres (Richard) at Philadelphia Phillies (Arrieta)

Game Time: 7:05 PM EST

Where to Watch: (Free Game of the Day)

Run Line: Philadelphia -1.5 (+140)

Moneyline: Philadelphia -153

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Phillies Padres Pick

Jake Arrieta has been just what the doctor ordered for the Phillies this season, delivering exactly the type of production that led them to give Arrieta a 3 year/$75 million contract this past offseason.  His 103 innings is second-most on the club, and his ERA of 3.23 is even better than the Phillies could have bargained for. His strikeout rate has been a bit worrisome (down to a troubling 6.29 Ks per nine), but the data doesn’t seem to support the drop-off - his fastball velocity is actually up from last season.   If he can start controlling his curveball better, it should be smooth sailing for Arrieta as the Phils make their playoff push.

The Padres will send a similarly strikeout-challenged pitcher to the mound on Friday in Clayton Richard.  While Arrieta has had better swing-and-miss stuff in the past (8.13 K/9 career), Richard has made his living with a well-below average strikeout rate for his entire career (6.68 K/9 in 2018, 5.87 career).  While the difference between the two isn’t extreme, we favor Arrieta in this matchup, especially considering the offenses the two will be facing on Friday.

While the Phillies’ offense hasn’t lit the world on fire this season (21st in wRC+), they’re miles better than the woeful Padres offense (28th in wRC+).  Outside of Wil Myers, there aren’t a whole lot of bats in the San Diego lineup that scare you as an opposing bettor - Eric Hosmer has been solid in the past, but he’s slugging .397 in 2018. Given that the two starting pitchers on Friday aren’t missing a ton of bats, along with the fact that Citizens Bank Park is one of the most homer-friendly parks in baseball, we prefer to take the team with more pure power in the lineup.  Look for Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins to do some damage against the lefty Richard in this one.

With a slight edge in the starting pitching matchup and a huge edge on offense, we’re taking the Phillies at -153 over at BetOnline as Friday’s free MLB selection.  For our sake and theirs, we’re hoping that Philadelphia can get off to a hot start and remain in playoff contention throughout the end of 2018 - it would make for a very fun ride.

That’ll do it for today, good luck to all of you LazyBets readers out there.  Let’s get a win!

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