Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, June 24th (2021)

Two bizarre things happened in the world of MLB betting yesterday. First, the Colorado Rockies were favored on the road against the Seattle Mariners, despite entering the game with an abysmal 5-28 road record. It was just the second time they were favored on the road all season and came against a Mariners team that was a profitable 7-5 as home underdogs on the season.

Second, the Los Angeles Dodgers were underdogs to the San Diego Padres, marking just the second time since October 7, 2019, that the Dodgers were not favored. Their first game as underdogs came on Monday against the Padres, in a game San Diego won 6-2. That game broke a span of 150 consecutive games Los Angeles was favored, including the playoffs.

In both of these instances, the more “head scratching” side won. Colorado beat Seattle 5-2, while the Padres finished a sweep of the Dodgers last night with a 5-3 victory. There were sure to be many bettors who thought each of these instances was unusual and could not wait to get their money in on the side of the Mariners or Dodgers. Though it is not a foolproof system, typically, when something seems too good to be true, it is better to wager on the “fishy” side, as the sportsbooks usually win.

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 94-75-3 (+9.89 units)

Royals-Yankees UNDER 9.5 runs (-113)

Not much about two starting pitchers with ERAs in the mid-5.oo’s and higher screams “under.” The over is 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. Yet with an early 1:05 start after a night game, we expect each team to give some of their regulars a day off. And as we discussed in the opening to this article, sometimes it is better to go against the grain. 

Kansas City’s Brad Keller (6-7, 6.34) has allowed at least five earned runs in each of his last three starts. He has struggled with command lately, as he has issued at least three walks in four of his previous six starts. The Yankees are one of the most patient teams in baseball, entering this contest ranked in the top-five in the league in walks. Thus, it would behoove Keller to attack the strike zone today.

Despite Keller’s ineffectiveness of late, the under is 3-0-1 in Keller’s last four starts as an underdog. He is 4-3 with a 4.75 ERA in seven road starts and is 2-4 with a 7.97 ERA in eight home starts. In addition, the under is 6-0-1 in Keller’s last seven road starts, with the total set between 9.0-10.5 runs. Thus, Keller has a great chance to pitch better than expected at Yankee Stadium.

New York counters with Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.59), who held the Royals scoreless through seven innings while striking out 11 in a 2018 start. Taillon’s numbers at home are not at all bad, as he is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in eight home starts. On the road is where Taillon gets into trouble, as he is 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA in five road starts.

The over is 5-0 in Taillon’s last five starts versus a team with a losing record. However, we prefer to focus on each pitcher’s drastic home/road splits as the key to finding value with this total.

Minnesota Twins -1.5 runs (+115)

The Cleveland Indians pitching staff has been dropping like flies, and MLB wins leader Aaron Civale is the latest casualty. Civale will miss the next 4-5 weeks with a finger sprain, leaving manager Terry Francona to continue pulling together a rotation. One of those “band-aids” is J.C. Mejia, and he is a big reason we like the Twins to cover the runline tonight.

Mejia (1-2, 6.11) has been dreadful in his last two road starts, allowing a combined ten earned runs in 5.2 innings to the Cardinals and Pirates. He does not miss many bats, as he has not struck out more than three batters in any of his last six starts. He faces a Minnesota offense that is heating up, scoring at least seven runs in four of their previous six games.

Opposing Mejia is the team’s best pitcher, Jose Berrios. Berrios (7-2, 3.56) leads all Twins starters in innings pitched (83.1), ERA, WHIP (1.09), K/9 (9.4), and WAR (1.5). Berrios is 5-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. He has allowed three runs or less in five of his last six starts and should lead his team to a convincing win tonight.

Chicago Cubs Team Total UNDER 2.5 runs (+120)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are coming off a series sweep to the Padres and have not won any of their last three series against teams with a winning record. While we do not fully trust them in tonight’s series opener with the Cubs, we trust starter Walker Buehler to pitch well.

Buehler (7-0, 2.38) has a WHIP of 0.90 and is coming off a start against the Diamondbacks, where he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He faces a Cubs offense that has been held to three or fewer runs in nine of their last ten games. Chicago has not scored more than three runs in any of their previous five road games, and they rank 23rd or worse in batting average and OPS on the road this year. Buehler has a career of 2.50 ERA in 42 appearances at Dodger Stadium. He held the Cubs to two runs in six innings while striking out eight and walking none earlier this season, and we expect him to pitch even better at home tonight.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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