Mets get Max Scherzer back

Max Scherzer returns to the New York Mets on Tuesday. There are 82 games left in the Mets’ season, and they’re still in first place in the NL East by 3.5 games, even though Scherzer hasn’t played since May 18.

Mets fans would have signed up for this whole scenario when Scherzer went on the injured list with a string of hair.

The Mets’ position as the division favorite gets stronger with Scherzer back (and will get even stronger when Jacob de Grom returns), but that’s the big picture. What are the bettors making of Scherzer and the Mets on Tuesday?

The Mets are -200 favorites over the Cincinnati Reds at BetMGM. That’s a big number for a pitcher who hasn’t been on a major league mound in nearly seven weeks. Even if he is a three-time Cy Young winner.

We won’t have a full Scherzer start, that should be obvious. Via SNY, Scherzer said, “He’ll potentially go about six innings and 90 pitches, but it will depend on how he feels.” The Mets have a decent bullpen, tied for the 12th-best ERA in MLB, and we could see a lot from him on Tuesday. If Scherzer has one high-scoring inning, he could have a really short night. The Mets aren’t going to push him and move him back.

Taking Scherzer out of Illinois seems like a decent play, but that depends on whether the Reds actually take advantage of the situation. The Reds are 27-52 this season. They have lost 13 of their last 17. Cincinnati will start rookie Nick Lodolo, who has a 5.52 ERA in three starts. The Mets could start a scarecrow on the mound and still have to be favored.

It’s hard to put a number that high without knowing exactly what to expect from Scherzer upon his return. There will be plenty of other days to support him this season. In a long baseball season, it’s always good to pass.

New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer is back against the Reds. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Here’s a first look at Tuesday’s sports betting list:

A fun afternoon MLB game

There’s one MLB game this afternoon, and it’s not a bad one. The Seattle Mariners, with exciting young pitcher Logan Gilbert (9-3, 2.66 ERA), face the San Diego Padres. The Mariners won 8-2 on Monday as a +150 favorite. Julio Rodriguez, the AL Rookie of the Year favorite, hit his 15th home run.

The Mariners are +110 underdogs and seem like a solid place to take them, even though Padres starter Mike Clevinger has been good since injury. I’ll be rooting for the Mariners and Gilbert, who has won four of his last five starts.

The rest of MLB

The New York Yankees, the biggest team and the best team in baseball, did not play on the 4th of July when the sport was supposed to be showing off. That sums up MLB’s marketing failures. But the Yankees are back on Tuesday and are -200 favorites against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you’re a bettor who’s going to put -200 on a baseball favorite, this looks like a decent place to do it.

An interesting matchup elsewhere is the Chicago White Sox as -135 favorites against the first place Minnesota Twins, who are 5.5 games ahead of Chicago in the AL Central. The White Sox have Michael Kopech on the mound and have the best pitching game, but the Twins still look like a decent bet as underdogs. They will start Chris Archer, who they have used four or five innings at a time with good success.

What else is on the schedule?

There are eight Champions League qualifying round soccer games and a few WNBA games, but neither WNBA game is a great game. For the most part, you’re stuck with baseball.

What’s the best bet?

The Chicago Cubs, despite being a bad team, still look a bit overvalued in the betting market. The Milwaukee Brewers are 14 games ahead of the Cubs in the standings and at home, but are still only -130 favorites heading into Tuesday. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks is still a trademark, but he hasn’t been good since the start of the 2021 season. Take the Brewers.

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