There are 12 games on the Major League Baseball slate today, which means six teams receive a much-needed day off. One team that could use a day off is the Kansas City Royals, who have lost 10 straight games. Not even ace Danny Duffy could stop their long losing streak, as they fell once again to the lowly Tigers.
Today’s action features several intriguing storylines. Corbin Burnes returns from the COVID-19 IL in time to oppose the Cardinals and undefeated ace Jack Flaherty, who leads the majors in wins. Cincinnati’s Wade Miley makes his first start since throwing a no-hitter against Cleveland but is greeted roughly with a start at Coors Field. In addition, many division rivals finish their series against one another today, like the Phillies and Nationals, Yankees and Rays, and Twins and White Sox.
Do any of these storylines intrigue us from a betting perspective?
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: 47-36-2 (+7.50 units)
Washington Nationals ML (-103)
The Washington Nationals are 8-10 at home, 3-7 in their last ten games, and have the worst run differential in the NL East. However, we still like them as a buy-low team in their series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies because of the recent success of starting pitcher Patrick Corbin.
Corbin (1-3, 7.36 ERA) has turned in back-to-back quality starts against the Yankees and Marlins. His WHIP in those two starts was two of his three lowest of any outing this season, and his 0.67 WHIP in his last start in the Bronx tied a season-low. In his previous two full seasons as a member of the Nationals, Corbin is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in six starts against the Phillies. He has been tough on left-handed hitters this season, allowing just a .182 batting average against them compared to a .293 average against righties. That bodes well when facing a lineup with two of their best hitters (Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius) batting from the left-hand side, and who may be without J.T. Realmuto, who is still considered day-to-day.
The Nationals have a combined career .310 batting average and .513 slugging percentage against Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Eflin has five quality starts in seven outings this season. His career 4.26 ERA against the Nationals is his lowest against any NL East opponent, but it still suggests he is due to give up some runs today. Once he is removed from the game, the Nationals should feast on a Philadelphia bullpen that entered Wednesday ranked 23rd in the league with a 4.75 ERA.
Houston Astros -1.5 runs (+104)
The Astros have the second-best run differential in the American League, which suggests they are better than their 20-17 record. Today’s opener of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers is just what the Astros need to climb up the AL West standings.
Houston enters this contest 13-3 in their last 16 home games against Texas and 12-5 in their previous 17 meetings overall. The Astros also seem to like playing on Thursdays, as they are 8-1 in their last nine Thursday games.
Houston’s odds are not much higher than they would typically be since starting pitcher Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90 ERA) is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed four hits, four walks, and five runs in a loss to the Blue Jays. The fact that the poor start brought his WHIP to 1.00 suggests how dominant he has been in the early part of the season. Current Rangers hitters have homered twice off Javier in 21 combined plate appearances, but he has done a great job of keeping the ball in the yard this year with just three home runs allowed in 31 innings of work.
The Astros should open the floodgates offensively against Texas starter Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.50 ERA). He has allowed at least four runs in three of his seven starts. Foltynewicz has had much better command since starting the season with allowing six walks over his first two starts, but he has not generated as many swings and misses, as he does not have more than five strikeouts in any of his last three starts.
Houston is 14-8 SU in division games and 13-9 against the runline. Thus, there is much better value laying the -1.5 runs than wagering on their steep moneyline odds.
Reds-Rockies OVER 11 runs (-104)
The over in the Reds-Rockies matchup is a contrarian play since Cincinnati starter Wade Miley is coming off a no-hitter in his last start. His 2.00 ERA and 0.75 WHIP are way below his career averages of 4.18 and 1.37. Thus, some regression for the 34-year old is likely to happen, and it is a good bet that it does in this start at Coors Field. He has made six career appearances (five starts) at Coors Field and has pitched to a 4.19 ERA.
Miley is opposed by Colorado’s Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-1, 5.97 ERA), who is coming off an outing where he allowed seven runs in four innings against the Cardinals. Gonzalez has a WHIP of 1.57 and a .310 OBA, but the most concerning number is his 15:10 K/BB ratio in 29.2 innings. Gonzalez is prone to big innings because he routinely allows lead-off runners on base, as more than half he has faced has done so this season. He has a 3.60 ERA at home compared to a 7.23 ERA on the road. But the Reds are the National League’s third-highest scoring offense and will make Gonzalez pay with his lack of strikeout ability.
The Reds are the major’s most profitable team to the over at 22-11-1 this year. The over is 6-0 in their last six games against the NL West, and is 3-0-1 in Chi Chi Gonzalez’s last four starts. Look for another high-scoring matchup tonight.
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