MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays

Greetings bettors, it's Chris Bengel with you on this Monday. As I mentioned on Friday, you'll be stuck with me all week as I fill in for Tom Fornelli. We got off to a nice 2-1 start and would've been 3-0 if the Reds didn't have an offensive explosion against the Cardinals.

Speaking of the Cardinals, they open up a two-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays beginning on Tuesday. For that series, the Cardinals are going to be without their top two hitters in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt because both players are unvaccinated against COVID-19. You might think that it's a great opportunity to side with the Blue Jays, but I'm going to give you some sound advice: don't. 

When the Royals faced the Blue Jays in Canada prior to the All-Star break, Kansas City was without Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield. While the Blue Jays did win three of those games in that series, three of those contests were decided by two runs or less. This is Major League Baseball and there's just too much uncertainty. I'd stay away because the odds will be high and it isn't a guaranteed payout.

Anyway, let's focus on Monday and get to the picks!

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Guardians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Cleveland Guardians -110
  • Key Trend: The Guardians are 4-1 in their last five games when their opponent allows five or more runs in their previous game
  • The Pick: Guardians (-110) 

The Guardians have been one of the more profitable teams around baseball of late. This is a group that is 5-2 over their last seven games. They're also in the thick of the postseason race as they sit just three games behind the Twins for first place in the American League Central. 

Now the Guardians have the luxury of taking on the Red Sox, beginning on Monday. The Red Sox are currently in free fall mode after getting swept by the Blue Jays over the weekend, which included a 28-5 drubbing. Even if you take the 28-run performance out of the equation, the Red Sox still surrendered 12 runs over the final two games. Let's just say that Monday's matchup isn't exactly in Boston's favor either.

Cleveland sends starting pitcher Zach Plesac to the mound and he's been terrific. Over his last nine starts dating back to May 30, Plesac has compiled a 1.78 ERA to go along with 40 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Boston starter Nick Pivetta has been absolutely dreadful lately. Over his last three starts, he's surrendered 20 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings. Pivetta is also coming off an outing in which he yielded seven earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Simply put: ride with the Guardians in a very bettor-friendly line.

💰 The Picks

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers


Nationals at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | TV: MLB Network

Latest Odds: Over 8.5

The Pick: Over 8.5 runs (+100)-- When a team has faced the Nationals this season, it's often a situation where the opposition can have a ton of value. In this spot, the Dodgers hold -360 odds on the moneyline and even -145 odds on the run line, so I'm staying away from those because of the elevated price.

However, I'm very confident that there will be a ton of runs scored in this contest. Over the Nationals' last five games, the over is 4-1 and they've surrendered at least seven runs in two of their last three games. Nationals starting pitcher Paolo Espino has yielded at least four runs in two of his last four starts and isn't a guy that goes deep into games. In addition, Washington's bullpen owns a 4.40 ERA, which is the fifth-highest in the majors. It's also worth noting that the Dodgers rank seconds in RBIs (462), fourth in batting average (.257), fourth in total bases (1,405, and sixth in home runs (123). I like the over in this spot and you're getting it at plus money.

Key Trend: The over is 8-1-1 in the Dodgers' last 10 games against a team with a winning percentage below .400

Pirates at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: JT Brubaker Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+110) --
 For anybody that consistently reads this newsletter on Tuesdays, you know that I'm a fiend for strikeout props. I absolutely love this matchup. Pirates starter JT Brubaker has quietly been very strong on the mound in recent weeks.

Over his last seven starts, Brubaker has recorded at least six strikeouts in five of those outings. Additionally, the Pirates right-hander has mowed down at least six batters in each of his last four starts, which have come against the Brewers (twice), Marlins and Rays. Brubaker is coming off arguably his best start of the season as he yielded just three hits and struck out nine against the Marlins. He also didn't allow a single run in that start. While his 2-8 record may not exude confidence, Brubaker has been spectacular lately from a strikeouts standpoint. On top of that, you're getting it at plus money once again, which is never a bad thing.

Key Trend: Brubaker has registered at least six strikeouts in each of his last four starts