July's a slow time to be a sports fan, but at least we're through what might be the slowest stretch of all.
The MLB All-Star break left us with not much more than NBA Summer League action to bet on in the four major sports, but the Cleveland Guardians are back in action with six games this week while the Cleveland Browns are just one week from opening training camp.
Of course, with the Guardians coming off a tough weekend but remaining within striking distance of the Minnesota Twins in AL Central action, it's still baseball that's on most Cleveland fans' minds right now, and that's where the Factory of Sadness team is focusing our attention for betting on Monday.
Now to Monday's best bets from each of our Factory of Sadness editors.
Best Bets: July 17, 2023
Jason Schandl: Guardians Runline -1.5
It was never going to be much fun coming out of the All-Star break with a series against the Texas Rangers, but Cleveland fans probably didn’t expect things to be that ugly. Luckily, we’ll be able to erase those memories pretty quickly.
We go from playing the MLB’s No. 1 offense in terms of wRC+ to the team that ranks No. 23 in the Pittsburgh Pirates. Our bats obviously haven’t been amazing lately, either, but the difference is that the Guardians’ lineup is in an incredibly juicy spot with Quinn Priester set to make his debut on the mound at PNC Park.
The 22-year-old righty has plenty of Triple-A experience (18 starts in 2023), but posting a 4.31 ERA (backed by an ugly 4.29 xFIP) and averaging 8.62 strikeouts per nine in that time doesn’t exactly scream that he’s ready for the jump to the majors.
We’ve been a little better against righties than we have against southpaws, and this is where Cleveland's bats will start to build some momentum coming out of the break.
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Isaiah De Los Santos: Sam Merrill 20+ Points (+100 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the Summer League Championship thanks in part to Sam Merrill’s scoring. He’s had the green light from Cleveland’s coaching staff the entire tournament, which has led to a team-high 18.8 points per game and 13.5 field goal attempts per contest.
Merrill hasn’t been afraid to let it fly from beyond the arc with a whopping 11.0 of his attempts per game coming just from 3-point land. The second-round pick is burying them from deep, too, with 4.8 makes per game in Las Vegas.
Merrill’s penchant for high-volume shooting and strong efficiency from deep makes him a threat on any night. He put that deadly combination on full display last week when he burned the Memphis Grizzlies for 27 points in just over 21 minutes. Against a Houston Rockets defense that’s allowed six different 20-point scorers already, I like Merrill at +100 on FanDuel Sportsbook to record 20-plus points.
Tyler Maher: Seattle Mariners Moneyline
The Minnesota Twins (48-46) came out of the All-Star Break with a three-game sweep of the lowly Oakland A’s, opening up a 2.5-game lead over the Guardians in the AL Central. But tonight, Cleveland has a chance to close some of that gap as the Twins draw a tough road trip stop in Seattle.
Monday’s game projects to be a pitching duel between Sonny Gray and Logan Gilbert. Gray earned his third career All-Star selection earlier this month and is 4-3 with a 2.89 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 99 ⅔ innings for Minnesota. On the other side, Gilbert is 7-5 with a 3.66 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 108 ⅓ innings for the Mariners.
Gilbert’s been outstanding lately with a 1.86 ERA over his last four starts. He should be able to produce another strong outing against a Twins offense that ranks 21st in MLB in scoring at 4.26 runs per game – 0.2 fewer runs than Seattle is averaging.
The Mariners sport a winning record at T-Mobile Park (25-22) while Minnesota’s been subpar away from home (22-24). Take Seattle on the moneyline as slight home favorites.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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