Thursday MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Staff’s Best Bets Including Brewers vs. Dodgers & Red Sox vs. Rangers (April 29)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: JD Martinez.
- Thursday's MLB slate features 10 games, giving a number of teams in the league a night off.
- Our staff didn't take the day off, though, finding betting value on two games on Thursday's slate.
- Check out all three picks for both games below, and check out the full breakdown for each pick.
Thursday’s MLB slate features 10 games, giving a good chunk of the league ample time to rest up for Friday’s slate.
With Thursday’s schedule cut down, our staff came to a similar conclusion: There’s value on the Boston Red Sox against the Texas Rangers. Throw that in with a fade of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and we’re in for an entertaining night of baseball.
Check out the full breakdowns for Brewers vs. Dodgers and Red Sox vs. Rangers, complete with a betting pick below.
MLB Odds & Picks
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tanner McGrath: As I’ve been saying all season: If you’re going to fade the Dodgers, it has to be against a southpaw.
The Dodgers lineup doesn’t hit lefties well. After a horrific recent outing against San Diego’s Ryan Weathers, the Dodgers now have just a .683 OPS and a .297 wOBA against left-handed pitchers this season.
While Milwaukee’s starter today, Eric Lauer, has been dealing with injuries the past few seasons and has yet to make an appearance this year, it’s worth noting he’s had considerable success against the Dodgers in the past:
Postgame news from the Brewers: Zack Godley is going on the IL and lefty Eric Lauer is coming up to start tomorrow against the Dodgers. Everyone gets pushed back a day, so:
Lauer, Peralta, Woodruff, Burnes vs. Dodgers.
Houser pushes to Monday at Philly.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 28, 2021
The Brewers are still banged up with injuries to Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. However, the offense has picked up the pace recently, as Milwaukee ranks top-10 in wOBA and wRC+ over the past seven days.
Yes, Trevor Bauer has been otherworldly on the mound. However, he throws his four-seam and cutter almost 70% of the time, and the Brewers have been great against both those pitches. Milwaukee is sixth in weighted fastball runs created and fourth in weighted cutter runs created.
In the long run, the Brewers lose this game far more times than they win. But one of my favorite things to do is bet home underdogs, and I think there’s value with Milwaukee as a heavy home ‘dog today.
Because the Dodgers have an absurd bullpen advantage, I’m avoiding that drama and playing Milwaukee in the first five innings. I’m looking to make a small-ish play on either Milwaukee F5 ML at better than +190 and/or Milwaukee F5 +0.5 at better than +125.
Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Kenny Ducey: If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s not to trust Kyle Gibson. The former first-round pick has been nothing but a tease for his entire career and has had an affection for allowing home runs every time he pitches.
Well, that hasn’t really been the case this year. Gibson has yet to allow a gopher ball and has a glistening 2.96 xERA (glistening for his standards, anyway) to go along with better strikeout and walk rates. I’m inclined to believe this begins to turn in the opposite direction for Gibson soon, and that should start on Thursday against the Red Sox.
Boston surprisingly may be the best offense yet to face Gibson in 2021, after the Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles and White Sox failed to find a way through in his last four starts. The Red Sox have been on a roll offensively and are hitting some pretty good pitching.
The runs should be more than enough for Martin Perez, who is in the same boat as Gibson when it comes to failing to deliver on loads of potential. The difference here is that Perez will get to face a Rangers team that ranks 26th in wRC+ against lefties. I’d make the Red Sox a heavier favorite in this one, even on the road.
Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Tanner McGrath: The Boston Red Sox have been, arguably, the best team in baseball in the early going. And things may only get easier for them in the coming weeks:
What’s that sound?
The Red Sox just beat the Mets in Flushing during a deGrom start and now have 11 straight games against the Rangers, Tigers and Orioles?
— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) April 29, 2021
Today, Boston is starting lefty Martín Pérez. While Pérez has struggled this season, I believe he’s underperformed relative to his potential, and he’s got a great matchup today.
The Rangers lineup sucks against southpaws. Against left-handed pitchers this season, the Rangers rank 27th in OPS (.629), 28th in wOBA (.280) and 26th in wRC+ (83).
Moreover, they haven’t gotten it done against lefties in Arlington, either. At home against lefties this season, the Rangers have posted a .536 OPS, a .242 wOBA and a 57 wRC+ — all pathetic numbers that rank at or near the bottom of the league.
Moreover, Pérez likes to throw a cutter-changeup-sinker mix. While the Rangers are 10th in weighted cutter runs created, they’re 28th in weighted changeup runs created and weighted sinker runs created.
Finally, whenever Pérez is done today, the Rangers will have to hit against a Red Sox bullpen that is second in the league in FIP and hasn’t allowed a run in three straight games.
Yes, Kyle Gibson has pitched very well. But the Red Sox offense is obscenely good and seems to only get better when they’re on the road. In fact, Boston paces the league in OPS, wOBA and wRC+ among road teams this season.
And, against righties on the road this season, the Red Sox’s OPS jumps to .810, and their wOBA jumps to .352. Good luck with that, Kyle.