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Odds and Ends

MLB Best Bets for July 26

by Kenny Ducey
Updated On: July 26, 2021, 3:28 pm ET

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If you're feeling the Monday blues, then a fun little nine-game card on the diamond Monday night is just the thing you need. With plenty of tight lines, there is money to be made everywhere. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite bets.

Cincinnati Reds (+115) vs. Chicago Cubs (-136) Total: 8.5

I'll admit it, I jumped the gun on Kyle Hendricks. The righty struggled mightily for a month and change, and I really thought it was the beginning of the end for the veteran, who is on the wrong side of 30.

Well, Hendricks has turned things around in grand fashion. He's brought that hard-hit rate down below league average and continues to excel at inducing soft contact, just as he's done for years. The walks are still very rare, and aside from one clunker at the hands of the Brewers this has been an excellent two months to be an investor in Hendricks.

While he's been great, this Cubs offense has continued to slump. It ranks in the bottom five of the league in wRC+ over the last two weeks, and now runs into a strong lefty in Wade Miley. The Reds haven't fared much better at the plate over that span, ranking 21st in wRC+, making them a great candidate to get shut down by a surging Hendricks. It should also be noted that the Cubs hurler has fantastic numbers against Cincy this year.

Edge: Under 8.5

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Chicago White Sox (-121) vs. Kansas City Royals (+100) Total: 9.5

I'm just not really sure what we're doing with this line. The gap between the two offenses couldn't be any wider, and the pitchers are even at best. If anything, I'd give Dallas Keuchel a leg up on Mike Minor.

The Royals have seen Jorge Soler awaken at the dish over the last few games, but aside from that their team has struggled to hit. Not only have his homers been of the solo variety, providing further proof this team has struggled, the ISO over the last two weeks is .175.

While this team has many weighted runs over that span, it's hard to be too scared by these bats given the lack of power in general and a middling 94 wRC+ against southpaws this year.

Mike Minor's peripherals point to the fact that he mostly deserves his 5.45 ERA, and he's going to have to face the league's third-most dangerous offense against lefties, which is returning one of its best right-handed power bats in Eloy Jimenez. I expect a big night at the dish for Chicago.

Edge: White Sox -121

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Kenny Ducey

Kenny Ducey is a former member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. His work also appears at DraftKings and The Action Network. Follow him on Twitter @KennyDucey.