Top 3 MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, May 20th (2021)

With the late ending to the Tigers-Mariners game on Tuesday night, we did not get to give Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull his due for throwing the fifth no-hitter of the young season. To think that Turnbull was capable of that kind of performance is mind-boggling, considering just two years ago (his first season in the big leagues), he went 3-17 and led the majors in losses. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mariners are just the fifth team in MLB history to be no-hit twice in 14 days but are just the second to have it happen to them in the last 98 years.

If Turnbull’s no-hitter could be thought of as any more improbable, the Yankees’ Corey Kluber followed Turnbull’s performance up with a no-hitter of his own on Wednesday. Stats By Stats posted on Twitter just how rare of a feat that is.

There have been no-hitters on back-to-back days for the first time since April 30 and May 1, 1969.

— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 20, 2021

Can we get a no-hitter on three consecutive days?

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: 57-41-3 (+10.61 units)

Yankees-Rangers UNDER 8.5 runs (-115)

Despite Kluber’s no-hitter yesterday, there are plenty of trends supporting the over in today’s matinee between the Yankees and Rangers. The over is 5-2 in the Yankees’ last seven games, is 4-2 in the Rangers’ last six games, and is 7-3 in the previous ten meetings between these two teams in Texas. However, we like the under today as a contrarian play between two starting pitchers who are not typically thought of as “top of the rotation” guys.

New York’s Domingo German (3-2, 3.62 ERA) has been on fire lately, throwing four quality starts in his last five outings. German is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in that span and has lowered his ERA from a season-high 9.00 earlier this season. The way German is throwing now, it is becoming more evident that his early-season rust was due to him missing the last 18 games of 2019 and all of 2020 due to a violation of MLB’s domestic violence policy. German has a WHIP of 1.15 and has 37 strikeouts in 37.1 innings, which is evidence that he has an elite arsenal of pitches.

Texas’s Dane Dunning (2-3, 4.34 ERA) allowed four runs in the first inning of his last start against the Astros but rebounded nicely with three scoreless innings after that. The Yankees have historically been poor against pitchers they have faced for the first time, which is the case today as Dunning is making his 16th career start. Dunning has allowed two runs or less in three of his four home starts, and his 3.00 home ERA is much better than his 6.06 road ERA.

Entering Wednesday, the Rangers and Yankees ranked 16th and 24th respectively in OPS in day games. The Yankees, in particular, are already dealing with injuries to Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and now Gary Sanchez is considered day-to-day after leaving Tuesday’s game with hamstring cramps. With manager Aaron Boone likely to be cautious with his other key players in a day game after a night game, look for a rare low-scoring battle between these two teams.

Red Sox-Blue Jays OVER 10 runs (-105)

The over in the Red Sox-Blue Jays matchup is yet another contrarian play based on the recent trends. The under is 7-1-2 in Boston’s last ten games, is 6-1-1 in Toronto’s last eight games versus the AL East, and is 13-5-1 in the previous 19 head-to-head meetings between these teams. However, the double-digit total suggests the oddsmakers figure an offensive explosion is coming, and we will gladly be on the house’s side.

Boston’s Nick Pivetta is one of four undefeated pitchers with at least five decisions. Even more impressive than his 5-0 record and 3.16 ERA is that he has held opponents to a minuscule .189 OBA. However, Pivetta has feasted off an easy early-season schedule thus far, as he has made two starts against the light-hitting Orioles and one apiece against the Tigers, and Mariners, who have been no-hit twice. A Blue Jays offense that entered Wednesday ranked third in the majors with a .779 OPS and second with a .273 batting average will pose a much bigger problem. In particular, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is second in the majors (behind only the injured Mike Trout) with a 1.053 OPS and enters this contest hitting .327 on the season.

Toronto’s Steven Matz (5-2, 4.29 ERA) followed up a rough stretch where he allowed 17 earned runs over four starts with five scoreless innings in his last start against the Phillies. However, Matz is allowing a .306 OBA in three May starts and now faces a Red Sox lineup that second first in the majors with a .263 batting average and first with a .771 OPS. Plenty of runs should be scored in this one.

Arizona Diamondbacks Team Total UNDER (Odds not yet posted)

Two days ago, we hit Arizona’s under on their team total, as we correctly analyzed that they were stuck in a rut offensively. Things have not changed since then, as they have been held to just three runs in their last two games and have now scored two or fewer runs in seven of their previous eight games. Things do not get any easier when facing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer.

Bauer is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA, and his 0.75 WHIP ranks third in the majors. He has won all three of his home starts while pitching to a 0.90 ERA, and he has 28 strikeouts in 20 innings over that stretch. Speaking of strikeouts, he has whiffed Diamondbacks hitters a combined 20 times in 49 plate appearances, so another double-digit strikeout total is likely. In those 49 plate appearances, the Diamondbacks are also a combined 6-for-47 (.128 BA) and are slugging .277. Do not overthink this one, as today is not the day for a sudden resurgence from Arizona’s lineup.

I would play this number at anything 2.5 runs or higher.

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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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