MLB Odds & Picks: 3 Thursday Best Bets for Cardinals vs. Cubs, Mets vs. Nationals

MLB Odds & Picks: 3 Thursday Best Bets for Cardinals vs. Cubs, Mets vs. Nationals article feature image

Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Christopher Morel

  • Thursday's MLB slate features only five games, including an Angels vs. Tigers doubleheader.
  • Still, our MLB writers hand-picked three best bets for Thursday, including picks for Cardinals vs. Cubs and Mets vs. Nationals.
  • Read on for all three of our staff's best bets for Thursday's five-game MLB slate.

Thursday brings us a minuscule MLB slate, with just five games in total, including an afternoon doubleheader between the Angels and Tigers.

Despite there being just three games under the lights, our MLB analysts have found value, with three bets across two games, including Nationals vs. Mets and Cubs vs. Cardinals.

Here are our best MLB bets for Thursday, July 27.

Thursday's MLB Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our MLB betting staff is targeting from Thursday's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

7:10 p.m. ET
Mets F5 ML (-200)
7:45 p.m. ET
Cubs ML (+100)
7:45 p.m. ET
Cubs ML (+100)
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our MLB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Nationals vs. Mets

Thursday, July 27
7:10 p.m. ET
Mets F5 ML (-200)

By Tanner McGrath

I’m starting to change my tune surrounding Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga.

He’s starting to look like the guy the Mets signed to a big-money contract in the offseason.

Excluding his last start in Boston (which was cut short due to rain), Senga boasts a 2.45 ERA over his past eight starts. He’s reduced his walk rate, which was bugging me all year. He has a 112 Stuff+ rating on his fastball over the past month. He’s generated double-digit whiffs in six straight performances.

Kodai Senga, 96mph Fastball and 85mph Ghost Fork, Overlay

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 16, 2023

Everything looks good!

Senga will share the mound with Washington starting pitcher Josiah Gray.

Gray is a guy I used to like, but he’s way overvalued. His xERA (4.55) is about a run higher than his actual ERA (3.45), and his strikeout rate is way down (20%) because he’s not finding the zone (double-digit walk rate, 27.5% CSW rate).

If he could locate his secondaries better and add some life to his fastball, Gray could develop into a top-end starting pitcher. But an 82 Stuff+ fastball won’t get the job done for now.

So I’m looking to bet directly on Senga and against Gray. The Mets F5 ML (-200) is the way to go, and I don’t mind drinking the Senga juice here.

It’s worth mentioning that over the past month and against right-handed pitching, the Mets are sixth in wRC+ (121), while the Nationals are 17th (94).

With that in mind, I’m quite comfortable backing the Metropolitans on Thursday.

Pick: Mets F5 ML (-200)

Cubs vs. Cardinals

Thursday, July 27
7:45 p.m. ET
Cubs ML (+100)

By D.J. James

Justin Steele as an underdog against Miles Mikolas makes zero sense at all. Mikolas owns an Average Exit Velocity of nearly 90 mph with a Hard Hit Rate of 40%. His xERA is 4.97, which is well above his ERA of 4.33.

Steele, on the other hand, is much more effective. He owns a 2.95 ERA and a 3.21 xERA. His Average Exit Velocity is 33%, and his Hard Hit Rate is 33%. He also owns a walk rate in the 92nd percentile.

The Cardinals can hit left-handers. They have a 10% walk rate in July with a 118 wRC+. That said, the Chicago Cubs have a 9.2% walk rate and a 114 wRC+ with a .778 OPS. With Mikolas pitching against the Cubs, the edge truly lies with the Cubs’ bats.

Now, the Cubs have struggled in relief with an 11.9% walk rate and 4.46 xFIP, but the Cardinals are just as bad with a 10.5% walk rate and 4.36 xFIP. The difference here is negligible, and in fact, another advantage might go to Chicago. Steele can pitch deep into games. He's logged at least six innings in each July start and has pitched fewer than five innings only twice this year.

The Cubs should win this game with an edge in nearly every facet. Take them to -130.

Cubs vs. Cardinals

Thursday, July 27
7:45 p.m. ET
Cubs ML (+100)

By Tanner McGrath

There isn’t a hotter team in baseball than these Cubbies.

They have a 165 wRC+ against right-handed pitching over the past two weeks, consisting of a .975 team OPS ([). They were left for dead yesterday, down 7-2 to the White Sox, but scored 10 runs in a three-run win anyway.

Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger are obliterating the ball. Nico Hoerner has been slapping the ball around (.340 average this fortnight). Patrick Wisdom has six barrels in 23 PAs over the past two weeks.

I could go on and on.

The Cubs have won seven of their past eight games, scoring 63 runs during the streak (7.9 per game[).

The Cubs should crush Miles Mikolas and his 5.00 xERA, 89 Stuff+ rating (with one plus pitch) and lackluster batted-ball profile.

Mikolas throws everything in the zone but simply doesn’t have the stuff – he ranks in the first percentile among starting pitchers in whiff rate – and that won’t work against the reddest, hottest lineup in MLB.

We know this already, as Mikolas tried to take on the Cubs last week and allowed five earned across five innings on a whopping 11 hits.

I trust Chicago starting pitcher Justin Steele, a contact manager lefty with an elite batted-ball profile. He’s playing in front of a top-five defense – including the best up-the-middle infield duo in baseball, Dansby Swanson (100th percentile OAA) and Nico Hoerner (95th percentile OAA) – which is a monster boost for a pitcher in Steele’s mold.

It’ll be hard to keep the hard-hitting Redbirds at bay, but I think something like three earned over five or six innings would get the job done.

Projecting these two bullpens is a tougher task. But I probably give the late-inning advantage to Chicago, primarily because there are zero relievers I trust in St. Louis (not Jordan Hicks, not Giovanny Gallegos, not Chris Stratton, not Andre Pallante, not Drew VerHagen, not Dakota Hudson …).

So, yeah, give me the hottest lineup in baseball. I’ll keep betting the Cubbies until the regression comes home.

Pick: Cubs ML (+100)

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