Thursday MLB Odds & Picks: Our Top 7 Best Bets, Featuring Giants vs. Padres & Yankees vs. Red Sox (July 7)
Lachlan Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Thairo Estrada.
- Thursday's MLB slate is packed with 13 games, and our MLB crew came through with seven (!) best bets for five games.
- The games our staff sees betting value in include Yankees vs. Red Sox, Angels vs. Orioles, Giants vs. Padres and more.
- Check out all seven of our top picks for Thursday's MLB slate below.
While not every team is in action, Thursday’s MLB slate is still a loaded one — and our baseball crew has found plenty of value.
With 13 games on the docket, our staff has hand-picked seven (!) best bets for Thursday, ranging from Royals vs. Astros in the 2:10 p.m. ET afternoon slot through Giants vs. Padres at 9:40 p.m. ET.
Plus, we have two picks for one of the biggest rivalries in sports: Yankees vs. Red Sox.
Be sure to check out all seven of our best bets below, and be sure to check back tomorrow for some Friday action.
MLB Odds & Picks
Royals vs. Astros
Alex Hinton: Yordan Alvarez has a strong claim as the best left-handed hitter in all of baseball this season.
The Astros outfielder/designated hitter has 25 home runs and 58 runs batted in while slashing .313/.411/.660 in 72 games. He has been on fire of late with a .396 average, 13 home runs, 32 runs batted in to go with a 1.328 OPS in his last 30 games. He was an easy choice for AL Player of the Month in June.
As a result of Alvarez’s dominant run, he has racked up a ton of total bases.
For the year, Alvarez is averaging 2.34 total bases per game. He has also had at least two total bases in 21 of his last 30 games, two of which he entered as a pinch hitter. He has reached at least two bases in six of his last seven home games, including in every game to this point in the series against the Royals.
Alvarez faces a left-hander today in Royals starter Kris Bubic. However, Bubic is not one of the toughest lefties he will face this season. He owns a 1-5 record with a 7.07 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP.
Bubic is also worse against left-handed batters, allowing a .419 average, three home runs and a 1.272 OPS this season. Alvarez singled off Bubic last month in his lone AB against him last month.
DraftKings is offering Alvarez total bases at +110 compared to -120 on FanDuel. I’ll gladly take plus money on one of the best bets this season.
Angels vs. Orioles
Brad Cunningham: There’s no reason why Chase Silseth should be around even money against Jordan Lyles.
First off, Lyles for the third straight season has an xERA over 5.00 and a hard-hit rate allowed over 40%. I mean, opponents have a .287 xBA and .368 xwOBA against him this season.
He does have five pitches in his arsenal, but he mainly relies on a fastball, slider and sinker, but none of those pitches have been effective at all. His fastball and sinker have been especially bad, as he’s allowing over a .375 xwOBA with those pitches.
Chase Silseth hasn’t been great in his first season in the big leagues, posting an xERA over five, but it’s a small sample size of only five starts and 20.1 innings.
FanGraphs has him projected as a 4.01 ERA pitcher, and he has the pitch arsenal to give the Orioles lineup problems. He mainly relies on a fastball, splitter and slider combination, which the Orioles have a combined -24.4 run value against this season.
I have the Angels projected at -156 for the first five innings, so I love the value on them at -105. I would play this to -135.
Angels vs. Orioles
Jules Posner: The Orioles welcome the Angels to town to open a four-game set. The Orioles are fresh off a sweep of the Rangers, and the Angels just dropped a series in Miami against the Marlins.
Although the Orioles’ offense has been a little sluggish against right-handed pitching at home over the past couple of weeks, they face Angels starter Chase Silseth, who has struggled in his first five starts of the season. In his last road start he was pulled after 1.1 innings against the Phillies.
Jordan Lyles takes the mound for the Orioles, and he’s been enjoying pitching in the newly spacious Camden Yards.
He has a 2.29 ERA and a 2.54 FIP at home this season, and he’s taking on an Angels’ offense that has a -5 (you’re reading that correctly) wRC+ against RHP on the road over the past two weeks. Additionally, the Orioles’ bullpen has been the more reliable unit of the two.
The Orioles enter this matchup as home favorites and their moneyline can be found at -110. This should be the move. Play it to -135.
Yankees vs. Red Sox
Tanner McGrath: It’s always a little different when these two get together. Again, I’m expecting a hard-fought game with plenty of fireworks.
Emphasis on the “fireworks.” Gerrit Cole has turned his season around after an uncharacteristic start, pitching to a 1.37 ERA over his last four starts, recording 33 strikeouts over 26.1 innings to boot.
But he’s struggled with this Boston lineup. He allowed 13 runs over 22 innings in four starts against Boston last season, walking nine during the stretch and allowing five home runs. He went on to allow three runs in four innings on Opening Day against the Red Sox this year.
The Yankees went down early in that Opening Day contest but then battled back against a poor Boston bullpen to win, 6-5.
Given these are two of the hardest-hitting teams in the league (both rank among top-five teams in avg. exit velocity, barrel rate and hard-hit rate), Cole’s history against Boston, Josh Winckowski’s rookie status, and Boston’s unpredictable relief core, I’m expecting a similar game in Fenway Thursday evening.
The wind is also projected to be blowing out to left-center field at around 10 MPH during first pitch. Plus, the Action App has tracked sharp money coming in on the over, and our internal projections make this total 9.5.
There’s a ton to love about this over, which I would play at either 8.5 (-120) or 9 (+100).
Yankees vs. Red Sox
DJ James: The Red Sox have seen their fair share of Gerrit Cole since he became a Yankee.
They will see him once again on Thursday in Boston. In Cole’s lone outing against Boston on April 8, he allowed three earned on five baserunners in four innings of work.
He will face off with Josh Winckowski, who has been a welcomed addition to the Boston pitching staff.
Funny enough, Winckowski has a 3.12 ERA against a 3.37 xERA, while Cole owns a 2.99 of each. Yes, his mark is better but not by as much as expected. In addition, Winckowski has gone at least five innings in each of his last four outings. This is encouraging against a workhorse like Cole.
The Red Sox own a 107 wRC+ off of righties in the last month, while the Yankees boast a mark of 111. The discrepancy is negligible, considering Boston has a higher OBP of .333 against a Yankee OBP of .313 in that same timeframe.
Lastly, each team has hovered around a 3.90 xFIP out of the bullpen, so the difference is once again meaningless.
Take the Red Sox at +140, and play them to +115. This should be closer to even money for the Red Sox at home, even with Cole pitching for New York.
Cardinals vs. Braves
Sean Zerillo: We targeted the Cardinals against the Braves on Wednesday — partly due to St. Louis’s perceived advantage in offensive splits against the opposing pitcher.
The advantage flips on Thursday, as righty Spencer Strider (2.90 xERA, 2.52 xFIP, 2.50 SIERA) faces southpaw Matthew Liberatore (6.24 xERA, 5.27 xFIP, 5.11 SIERA).
As a reminder, while St. Louis crushes lefties (120 wRC+, 2nd in MLB), they are closer to league-average (11th) against righties. And the Braves show similar differentials in their offensive splits — seventh against lefties, compared to 12th against right-handed pitching.
Moreover, Strider is just a significantly superior pitcher to Liberatore at this stage of their careers. Strider — the current leader in WAR among NL rookies — should be the favorite for top rookie honors.
Strider has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season — not just one of the best rookies.
Among the 130 pitchers who have tossed at least 50 innings this season, Striders ranks third in both strikeout minus walk rate (or K-BB%) and swinging strike rate; sandwiched between Shane McClanahan and Shohei Ohtani in the former category and Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease in the latter.
Strider also ranks 12th in called-strike plus whiff rate amongst that same group of pitchers — just behind Max Scherzer, Brandon Woodruff and Aaron Nola. So, Atlanta’s young righty is in elite company.
I projected the Braves’ first five innings moneyline at -254 (71.75% implied) for Thursday’s matchup. You can play that line up to -230 (69.75% implied) at a 2% edge.
Giants vs. Padres
Tony Sartori: We have the first matchup of this four-game NL West divisional series as the Padres host the Giants. The Padres have been in poor form recently, losing eight of their last 10 games.
I expect this trend to continue as they’re slated to go against right-hander Logan Webb. Through 16 starts this season, Webb is 7-3 with a 3.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
Of those 16 games, the Giants have won 10 of them (63%). Webb’s metrics are just as strong, boasting a .303 xwOBA, .257 xBA and .392 xSLG.
Over his last two starts against the Padres, Webb has allowed just five earned runs while racking up 15 strikeouts over 15 innings pitched. San Francisco won each of those two games.
Through 80 career plate appearances against Webb, this current Padres roster possesses a .246 xBA, .369 xSLG and .305 xwOBA. Following Webb is one of the league’s stronger bullpens.
Since June 1, the Giants’ relief pitching ranks fifth in the league in ERA and 12th in wOBA. Additionally, this pitching staff could get some solid run support as the Giants face right-hander Joe Musgrove.
There’s no denying Musgrove’s brilliance this season. However, this Giants roster has had some success against the Padres right-hander in the past. In 115 career plate appearances against Musgrove, this current Giants lineup boasts a .275 xBA, .497 xSLG and .359 xwOBA.
Because of Musgrove’s strong numbers this season, I believe we’re getting solid value on the Giants as underdogs in this contest.
This should be a pitcher’s duel, and with San Francisco boasting a stronger bullpen and having better success against Musgrove than San Diego has had against Webb, the Giants are a good play to make at plus-money.
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