Welcome back MLB with a Shohei Ohtani player prop: Best Bet for July 14

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, left, throws to Houston Astros' Jose Altuve during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 2, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here is our best bet for Friday, July 14:

TOP PLAY

The play: MLB, Shohei Ohtani OVER 1½ walks vs. Astros

The odds: +105

The book: DraftKings Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9:38 p.m. (MLB.tv)

Our take: As the unofficial second half of Major League Baseball’s 2023 season starts Friday night, one storyline will dominate all others over the next two and a half weeks: Will the Angels trade Shohei Ohtani? They can get a king’s ransom to loan Ohtani to another team for the final two months before he hits free agency — but they may risk him not considering returning to Anaheim in the offseason. They could hold onto him and hope a playoff run convinces him to remain an Angel — but they would risk losing him without getting any prospects in return.

It’s a fascinating situation for a fascinating player, and the next chapter is written Friday night against the reigning World Series champion Astros. Ohtani hasn’t pitched since July 4, when his start against the Padres was cut short because of a cracked fingernail. So we may expect a bit of rust, and although he may eventually pitch well, this seems like a gift of a price.

Ohtani has walked at least two batters in 13 of his 17 starts this season. Houston actually isn’t one of the league’s more patient teams, but it has been in the past, and the Astros would be wise to wait out a pitcher who may or may not be ready to go for a full workload tonight.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

• NASCAR Crayon 301, Chase Elliott to finish top 5 (PENDING)

Thursday’s record: 0-0, 1 pending

Total for the week: 1-3, 2 pending

Total for July: 8-13, 2 pending

Total for 2023: 158-175, 2 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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