MLB Expert Predictions for Thursday: Can the Tigers Do It Again?

MLB Expert Predictions for Thursday: Can the Tigers Do It Again? article feature image
Credit:

Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jordan Zimmermann

  • Our experts give out their favorite plays for Thursday's MLB slate.
  • The Tigers are historic underdogs against the Astros again on Thursday. Can they pull off another upset?

Danny Donahue: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros

Jordan Zimmermann (1-8, 6.66 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA)

  • Tigers Moneyline: +430
  • Astros Moneyline: -510
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Big home favorites immediately draw my attention to the under. The theory is pretty simple: If we assume that the home team is going to win, there’s a good chance they’ll be up after the top of the ninth, and we can cut the offensive chances (half innings) down from 18 to 17 — and from 9 to 8 for the more dangerous team.

A couple filters make the strategy especially profitable: low totals and no increases in the number. We’ve got both in tonight’s game.

When a game features a total of 8 or less that hasn’t risen and a -300 or larger home favorite, the under is 45-26-1 since 2005.

The PICK: Under 8

John Ewing: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros

Jordan Zimmermann (1-8, 6.66 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA)

  • Away Moneyline: +430
  • Home Moneyline: -510
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Last night I was on the Astros-Tigers under 8.5. Detroit’s 2-1 win cashed my ticket and I’m looking to run the bet back on Thursday.

Gerrit Cole will toe the rubber tonight. In his past 14 starts, Cole is 10-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 126 strikeouts. Cole was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for June and July.

With another ace on the mound, the Astros are -500 favorites. Since 2005, the under has gone 8-3 in games with a favorite of -400 or greater.

This is a small sample but there are other reasons to think tonight’s game will be low scoring:

  • The Tigers have scored the fewest runs in baseball (449)
  • A Steam move bet signal has been triggered on the under – an indication of smart money
  • Jeremie Rehak is behind home plate – the under is 25-17 in games he has called balls and strikes

My prediction: Astros win in a shutout and the under hits again.

The PICK: Under 8

Mark Gallant: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros

Jordan Zimmermann (1-8, 6.66 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA)

  • Tigers Moneyline: +430
  • Astros Moneyline: -510
  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Could the Tigers possibly win back-to-back games as gigantic record-breaking pooches? The parlay odds on them winning both were around 27-1, but they’re halfway to the promise land.

Unfortunately, they face yet another Cy Young candidate in Gerrit Cole. Could they possibly win another game behind just two hits? Probably not, right?

Hold your horses, though. Don’t think for one second that I’m betting on the Astros. One of my favorite systems is firing on the Tigers again – big plus-money runline dogs. If I see a team getting +1.5 at +140 or higher, I bet it.

The Tigers have cashed both times that’s been applicable this series and, for the second straight night, are north of +190 on the runline. This has been quite a profitable approach historically and this season has yielded almost 10 units alone.

When I was monitoring last night’s game, the Tigers’ lineup was significantly worse than I recalled. It’ll likely take another low-scoring affair for them to cover, but I like my chances at this payout.

The PICK: Tigers +1.5 (+195)