Thursday MLB Odds & Picks: 7 Bets For 8 Games, Including Padres vs. Dodgers
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: The Dodgers-Padres rivalry is heated.
- Despite the small slate, it's an action-packed day of baseball to our betting analysts.
- They've found bets to recommend on five of the games, with seven bets in total.
- Below, you'll find our best bets from Thursday's MLB slate.
With series’ either ending or beginning across the landscape, there’s plenty of intriguing matchups, including Part 2 of the Dodgers-Padres NL West clash, and a battle between two of the surprises of the early season: the Red Sox and Mariners.
So, where does the value lie? Our analysts have seven bets to recommend, including two each on Yankees-Indians and Dodgers-Padres.
MLB Odds & Picks
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians
Brad Cunningham: Even though the Yankees are off to a 6-11 start, they are the much better team in this matchup. Cleveland’s offense has been putrid to start 2021, which really isn’t a surprise considering they were in the bottom five of MLB in wOBA and wRC+ and that was before it traded away Francisco Lindor.
Specifically, though, the Indians can’t hit right-handed pitching. In 2020, the Indians were 24th in wOBA against righties and so far this season they are 26th with a .284 wOBA and 80 wRC+. Additionally, the Indians were in the bottom half of MLB against fastballs and curveballs, which are Domingo Germán’s two main pitches.
Even though the Yankees have been struggling offensively, they have a fantastic matchup against Aaron Civale. New York was fourth in wOBA against right-handed pitching and were top five against fastballs and cutters, which are two of Civale’s main pitches.
I have the Yankee’s projected as -145 favorites tonight, so I think there is some value on the Yankees at -105.
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians
Kenny Ducey: This goes against my cardinal rule of “ride the trend, don’t guess when it will end” but I’m enamored with the Yankees now that they’re finally correctly priced as underdogs.
Why, you may ask? Well, the Yankees’ problem right now is simply making contact with the baseball. They rank 25th with just a 73.1% contact rate. When they have made contact, things have gone well for their best hitters; Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez all have hard-hit rates above 42% with DJ LeMahieu not too far behind.
So, this team will match up very well with Aaron Civale, who pitches to contact, giving it up on nearly 80% of swings against him this year which is 5% above league average. He’s also down in the 14th percentile in fastball velocity, and the 21st in whiff rate. In summation, the bat should be put on the ball here, and the Yankees have been good when they’ve actually gotten the bat to the ball.
On the other end we have Domingo Germán going up against an offense with an 80 wRC+ against righties, which ranks 26th in the league. German’s first start of the year didn’t go to plan, but generally speaking he’s been a perfectly fine, if not above-average starter over his four years. I like his chances against an offense he’ll have a splits advantage over, and I like the Yankees’ offense in a good matchup.
Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox
Kevin Davis: The two biggest surprises in the American League are the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox. Both teams entered the season with less-than-stellar expectations, yet the Red Sox lead the AL East and the Mariners are in second place in the AL West. They meet this weekend, and Boston should win the series.
The best indicator of how a team will finish the season is its run differential. Currently, the Red Sox have a run differential of +27, the second best in the league, while the Mariners have a -3 run differential.
Seattle may have a winning record, but in the long run the Mariners should have a losing record based on their negative run differential. Pitching for the Mariners on Thursday night is Justin Dunn, who as a young starting pitcher is a work in progress. Even at -160, I believe that the Red Sox are a good bet. I would bet them up to -175.
New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs
Sean Zerillo: This game is a potentially strong example of park factor over-adjustment from one day to the next at Wrigley Field. I projected the totals for both Wednesday and Thursday closer to 8.5 runs, but based upon the respective weather reports, the total closed at 7.5 on Wednesday and is sitting at 9.5 for Thursday.
If I assume that Wrigley Field usually plays three-percent below the league average scoring environment, a total listed at 9.5 would assume a scoring environment roughly 10% above league average. A total of 7.5 on Thursday would have assumed a scoring environment more than 12% below league average.
The betting public is more aware of the wind, weather, and park factor adjustments than ever before, but oddsmakers can use those tends against them, too.
Unders are hitting at a 54% clip this year (+$1,135 for a consistent $100 bettor, 4.3% ROI). Totals have seemingly come down across the market by a half run over the past week as the league adjusts to a new baseball.
Totals always open late for Wrigley Field games. More often than not, I think they’re adjusted a touch high in good hitting conditions, and a touch low in bad hitting conditions, with the expectation that those respective weather-correlated wagers will take money anyway.
I don’t think it’s profitable to be consistently contrarian about MLB weather trends (at least not yet, anyway), but in the case of Wrigley Field, I often find myself in that position.
Bet the Under 9.5 to -120 here. But with the way these defenses are playing (Mets 26th, Cubs 29th in Defensive Runs Saved), expect to get blown out with ugly errors or be sweating a 5-4 game.
Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants
Mike Ianniello: The Marlins and Giants will face off for a four-game series in San Francisco, right after playing a three-game set in Miami.
Daniel Castano will start the game for the Marlins, and he allowed just one run on three hits in five innings against these Giants last week. Castano is in just his second big-league season but had a solid 3.03 ERA last year and was excellent in spring training.
Aaron Sanchez will be on the bump for San Francisco and he has allowed just four runs and has 12 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings across his first three starts of the season. Sanchez surrendered one run while striking out five in his start against Miami last week.
The Giants’ offense has struggled at home this season, scoring just 3.5 runs per game. Last year’s breakout star Mike Yastrzemski is batting just .182 on the season. The Giants have been brutal against left-handed pitchers and sliders this season. They will now face a lefty whose best pitch is a slider.
Both offenses rank in the bottom half of the league in runs per game and wOBA. The under is 7-6-2 in Marlins games this season and 12-4 for San Francisco. Two of the three games these two teams played last week finished well below the total (1-0 and 4-1).
I like the under 8.5 here and would play it down to -115.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tanner McGrath: If you’re going to fade the Dodgers, it has to be against a southpaw.
By almost every statistical measure, the Dodgers are currently the third-best offense in baseball. They rank third in OPS (.778), wOBA (.340), wRC+ (116), ISO (.186), et cetera.
However, against lefties, those numbers drop rapidly. The Dodgers’ .668 OPS, .304 wOBA and 93 wRC+ against left-handers all rank in the bottom 10 in MLB. That was on a full display Tuesday, when the Dodgers mustered just two hits over seven innings against Seattle southpaw Marco Gonzales.
Today, the Dodgers get to face the Padres lefty prospect Ryan Weathers, and he’s been awesome this season. In 9 2/3 innings, Weathers has allowed just one run and three hits while striking out 10. Plus, he’s allowing just a .195 wOBA, which is in the top-seven percent of qualified pitchers.
Weathers’ only start this season came against these Dodgers, where he pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings while allowing just one hit.
Once again, I wouldn’t expect Weathers to go deep into this game. However, I’m expecting him to have a great start and then the Padres’ bullpen to back him up. San Diego’s relievers currently pace the majors in xFIP and strikeouts, plus the bullpen is top-five in ERA and WHIP.
It may seem like the Dodgers are invincible, but they’re beat up right now. Cody Bellinger hasn’t played since April 5th and Mookie Betts is questionable after taking a fastball to the forearm. The Dodgers have split their last four games while scoring just eight runs total, and today’s starter—Walker Buehler—has an xERA more than double his actual one.
Finally, there are two Action PRO Signals that suggest this is a good spot to bet San Diego:
- We’ve tracked sharp money coming in on the Padres, where they’re receiving just 30% of the bets but 58% of the money.
- Our PRO System, Contrarian Betting Against Good Teams, tells us that fading winning teams (60% or better win percentage) receiving the majority of the bets (65% or more) at home since 2006 yields a ROI of 11.4%. A $100 bettor would be up over $14,000 by betting on every one of these teams.
If there’s a time to fade the Dodgers, today against the Padres is the day. I’ll happily play San Diego at +150 or better.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Collin Whitchurch: It’s SO difficult to find value when betting on the Dodgers that 90 percent of the time, it’s best to just avoid them entirely. Similarly, there is rarely an instance where I’d recommend betting a run line rather than keeping it simple and sticking to moneylines.
This is a rare opportunity.
The Dodgers and Padres begin a four-game series tonight in Los Angeles. Their meeting last weekend in San Diego was epic … at least by the standards of April regular-season baseball.
After dropping two of three to the Dodgers, the Padres stayed home and got swept by the Brewers. Now, they travel to LA and do so with a completely decimated pitching staff that just saw Dinelson Lamet go down two innings into his return from another injury. The bullpen had to cover seven innings on Wednesday. Seven guys pitched. All but one threw double-digit pitches.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, had the day off.
Making matters worse for the Padres is the pitching matchup. Ryan Weathers is a promising young arm, but his first career start last week lasted just 79 pitches. He held the Dodgers’ bats at bay, but San Diego is going to need more than 3 2/3 innings after its bullpen’s rough Wednesday.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, will start Walker Buehler, who has gone six innings in each start this season and has yet to allow more than two earned runs.
All of this adds up to a really bad spot for the Padres, and while I think this series should be tight throughout the season, Thursday’s matchup doesn’t qualify. Betting the Dodgers is hard because they’re always such heavy favorites. So instead, this time, take the run line, bank on LA winning by at least two runs and bet it anywhere you can find plus money.