Today's Top Picks: Two great underdog MLB plays, plus a best bet for Tuesday's Red Sox-Rays tilt

Tuesday brings us a full 15-game slate -- all of it under the lights -- and that means plenty of options for Tuesday MLB action. After careful consideration, this scribe, who's filling in for the lovely and talented Tom Fornelli, has leveled his steely gaze upon three choice picks for sports-betting enthusiast.

Shall we begin? We shall begin. 

As always, all odds are via William Hill.

1. St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates: Cardinals +117

Here we have two teams trending in opposite directions. The Cardinals are 11-6 in July and 8-3 in the second half, while the Pirates are 7-10 and 2-8 over those same spans. Starting for the Pirates will be Chris Archer, who's struggled badly in 2019. Going into this one, he's got a 5.36 ERA through 17 starts with an NL-high 22 home runs allowed and a career-worst K/BB ratio of 2.36. In related matters, Archer's lost velocity from his fastball, which is a pitch he leans on 40 percent of the time. Across the way, the Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson. While the peripherals don't wow you, he boasts a sub-4.00 ERA on the season with a ground-ball percentage of almost 60. 

More broadly, the Pirates simply aren't as good as their (still not good) 46-53 record. Look at their run differential of minus-57 (only the Marlins have a worse run differential among NL teams) and their results at the plate appearance level suggest they've been fortunate even to be seven games below .500. On another level, you can argue the Cardinals are a better team right now for having Tyler O'Neill, Tommy Edman, and Matt Wieters as lineup fixtures. 

2. Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays: Over 7.5

The Red Sox this season average 5.69 runs per game, which trails only the Yankees in the AL, and the Rays are at 4.56 runs per game, which is a below-average figure in the DH league. This one features a pitching matchup of Chris Sale against Yonny Chirinos. Sale is still capable of dominance, but he's been wildly inconsistent this season. To wit, he's allowed four or more runs in exactly half of his starts this season. 

Mostly, though, this is about the lowest O/U on today's board involving one of the best offenses in baseball. Boston leads the AL in total runs scored and ranks third in OPS. Yes, Fenway is a hitter's haven, but this year's Sox model doesn't see much of a drop-off in terms of OPS when they're on the road. As well, they've been much better against right-handers than lefties this season, and Chirinos is a righty (albeit a very good one). 

3. Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros: A's+145

The A's this season have had one of the AL's best offenses against left-handed pitching, and lefty Wade Miley goes for Houston. Miley's been excellent in 2019, but the platoon splits are stark. On Tuesday, he'll likely be facing a lineup that includes only one left-handed batter, first baseman Matt Olson. Opposite him will be Mike Fiers, who's ripped off 11 straight quality starts and who has an ERA of 2.43 since the end of a tough April. The Astros are hot, having won six in a row, but we'll lean Oakland in this one.

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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