Best Bets of the Day – July 4th

Andrew Gould highlights his favorite non-hot dog bets for July 4th.

Baseball may not be the only event on bettors’ minds this Independence Day.

Although MLB is the only one of the four major men’s team sports in action Sunday, another one of America’s pastimes will unfold in Brooklyn. According to ESPN.com’s David Purdum, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest typically draws a comparable amount of betting interest to an MLB game. The event is second to the Academy Awards in terms of interest among novelty markets offered by DraftKings.

Joey Chestnut is an astronomical -3335 favorite on DraftKings, meaning bettors would have to wager $100 just to net a $3 profit. Although he’s likely to capture his 14th title in 15 years, it’s Betting 101 to not chase such unsavory odds. If you’re hungry for some action, take the +125 odds boost (limited to New Jersey, Indiana, and Colorado residents) on Chestnut breaking his record by consuming at least 75 hot dogs and buns.

Of course, you could also savor one hot dog at your leisure — or none — and enjoy the 16 games on Sunday’s MLB schedule. Here are some bets for those who don’t want to puke while monitoring their wagers.


Padres at Phillies: O/U 9 or 9.5 Runs


As of Saturday night, Blake Snell is expected to return from the COVID-19 list and make his first start since June 22. Although he was last seen tossing five scoreless frames against the Dodgers, the southpaw has had a maddening first season in San Diego. He’s still collected 90 strikeouts over 66.1 innings, but Snell has also allowed 40 runs and walks apiece, giving the 28-year-old the highest ERA (5.29) and walk rate (13.2%) of his career. As a result of getting slammed for seven runs each by the Rockies and Astros, he’s posted a disastrous 10.36 ERA, 2.23 WHIP, and .441 opposing wOBA in eight road starts. He only made it through five innings in one of them.

Vince Velasquez is actually settling into a fairly reliable starter, by comparison, posting a 3.66 ERA since the start of May. Yet, as usual, he’s issuing too many walks (12.2%) for comfort and remains dicey on a game-by-game basis. He hasn’t earned everyone’s trust against a Padres lineup gradually shaping into form. After ranking sixth in wRC+ last month, they’re fully healthy and looking to avoid their fourth straight loss. The first two games of this series have seen just seven and six total runs, respectively. However, two volatile starters could give up plenty of offensive fireworks. (Side note, fireworks are dumb and pointless. Take it from a cranky writer trying to focus while dealing with a splitting headache.)

Pick: Over 9 (-114 on FanDuel), Over 9.5 (+102 on DraftKings)


Red Sox at Athletics: Moneyline


DraftKings sees this battle of AL pennant hopefuls as a stalemate, assigning -108 odds to both Boston and Oakland. On one hand, the Red Sox have won eight of their last nine games. They have registered an AL-high 52 victories while brandishing baseball’s third-best team wOBA behind the Astros and Blue Jays.

On the other hand, how much faith do you have in Nick Pivetta?

Considering how far his career cratered, a 4.43 ERA represents quite the turnaround for the 28-year-old righty. But he’s also slipped back into bad habits lately. Pivetta served up nine home runs and 14 walks over five June starts, during which opponents slugged .537. On Tuesday, his average fastball velocity dipped to a season-low 93.3 mph, over a full tick below his 2021 average (94.8 mph).

While Pivetta has baffled onlookers for years, James Kaprielian has just 50 impressive MLB innings to his name. He made a strong debut at Fenway Park, allowing one run over five innings to notch his first of four wins. The 27-year-old righty has allowed three runs or fewer runs in at least five innings in each of his last five starts, which has included trips to Coors Field and Yankee Stadium. His 3.06 ERA comes with a less stellar 4.42 FIP, but he wields a sharp 30.3% CSW while displaying commendable steadiness to start his career. Take Oakland at home following last night’s feisty comeback win in extra innings.

Pick: Angels (-108 on DraftKings, -112 on FanDuel)


Cardinals at Rockies: Run Line


Carlos Martínez pitching at Coors Field could get real ugly in a hurry. In his last 20 starts dating back to 2020, the former ace has coughed up a 7.09 ERA. Only three starters with at least 60 innings pitched this season have a worse K-BB% than his microscopic 5.7. That doesn’t even account for the 10 batters he’s hit in 79 innings. (Martínez has never had more than 11 hit by pitches in a season.) He allowed five runs to the Rockies at home on May 5. If Martínez can’t even manage that matchup at Busch Stadium, what chance does he have in the Mile High State? Colorado’s MLB-worst .253 wOBA on the road skyrockets to .349 at home.

Germán Márquez gets annihilated at Coors Field at least once a year. This year is no exception, as the Giants tagged him to eight runs in the first inning on May 4. Márquez somehow still has a 3.06 ERA at home this season. He also had a 2.41 ERA in June despite getting shelled for nine runs (eight earned) at the Great American Ball Park. He’s been great far more often than bad lately. The righty has allowed four combined hits in his past three starts, including Tuesday’s complete-game, one-hit shutout against Pittsburgh at Colorado. As of Saturday night, those Pirates are the only team with a worse wOBA against righties than the Cardinals. Coors Field tends to lift up the most lethargic lineups, but perhaps a high-quality hurler can handle a subpar lineup during a sizzling hot streak.

Like Márquez, Martínez has also endured catastrophic lows. Atlanta tattooed him to eight runs two weeks ago, and the Dodgers delivered permanent damage to his stats with 10 runs in 0.2 innings to open June. As dangerous as it may feel to bet the run line in favor of such a mediocre squad, the Rockies are in the perfect position to light up — just like to take this chance to remind everyone again that fireworks are stupid — Martínez in a blowout win.

Pick: Rockies -1.5 (+125 on DraftKings, +122 on FanDuel)

Andrew Gould Overall Record: 22-20

Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): +$392.22

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Andrew Gould

Andrew is Pitcher List's DFS Manager who also covers MLB and NFL for FantasyPros and Bleacher Report. He placed second in FantasyPros' MLB accuracy ratings in 2016 and fifth in 2018.

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