MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions for Thursday: 2 Best Bets for Red Sox vs. Rays, Pirates vs. Cubs (Sept. 2)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Keegan Thompson.
- It's a smaller slate of MLB games today with 10 games lining the slate.
- Our staff is focusing on two of them particular: Pirates vs. Cubs and Red Sox vs. Rays.
- See how Stuckey and Matt Trebby are betting those games below.
We have a compact slate on Thursday’s Major League Baseball schedule, with only eight games taking place. However, that hasn’t stopped our handicappers from delivering a couple of gems from a betting perspective.
Analysts Stuckey and Matthew Trebby have unveiled their top picks, featuring selections from the Red Sox vs. Rays and Pirates vs. Cubs matchups.
Check out below how they’re playing these contests and where they’ve found plenty of value ahead of the showdowns.
MLB Odds & Picks
|8:10 p.m. ET|
Red Sox vs. Rays
Stuckey: I think the Red Sox have some value in Tampa.
First off, Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez is a serious positive regression candidate. Of the 76 starters with at least 110 innings pitched this season, no pitcher has a larger positive gap between their ERA and FIP. Rodriguez has an ERA of 5.12, which looks ugly on the surface, but his 3.48 FIP suggests he’s just had poor luck this year.
For reference, his xFIP also sits at 3.48 and he owns a 3.64 SIERA. Rodriguez can thank a sky-high .358 BABIP (highest among those aforementioned 76 starters) and career low 66.8% strand rate, the fourth-lowest among that group. Both metrics speak to his bad luck.
All of Rodriguez’s peripherals (K rate, BB rate, velocity, etc.) look fine. In fact, he has posted career bests in both K rate and BB rate in 2021. The positive regression is certainly overdue.
And if your’e going to take on this Rays team, you want to do it with a southpaw on the mound. The Rays rank seventh in MLB in OPS (.752) against right-handed pitchers, but just 22nd against lefties (.711). In contrast, the Red Sox lineup ranks in the top 10 against both in that same category.
Tampa will start lefty Shane McLanahan, who did get to face the Orioles in four of his past seven starts but has been very solid overall this season. He has great stuff and has had his leash lengthened a bit of late, but the Red Sox can at least rely on the fact that they did see him for the first time in early August.
If you exclude the lowly Orioles, who McLanahan has somehow faced in four of his past seven starts, teams have had more success after previously facing the Rays’ lefty, albeit the sample size is small as are most stats with the first-year starter.
Bottom line, I see some value with the Red Sox at +145 and get to take on the Rays with a lefty starter in Rodriguez, who’s a major positive regression candidate to boot.
Pirates vs. Cubs
|8:10 p.m. ET|
Matt Trebby: This is mostly going to be a straight fade of Mitch Keller, who Pirates fans are still waiting to develop into a major-league starter.
The young right-hander had made 17 appearances, amassing a 6.91 ERA in the process. He’s given up at least four runs in four of his last six starts. While his 5.08 xFIP indicates some positive regression could be coming, Keller’s 8.50 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.75 walks lead me to believe he simply isn’t going to turn things around this season.
Keegan Thompson will make his third start of the season and, if all goes well, shouldn’t pitch past the fourth inning. In his first taste of MLB action, Thompson has a 3.09 ERA over 46 2/3 innings this season, most of which have been in relief. His 4.75 xFIP is so high because he’s walking more than five batters per nine innings.
The tipping point is there are a few bats in the Cubs lineup I think can get to Keller. Patrick Wisdom (.834 OPS over the last 30 days), Frank Schwindel (1.050) and Ian Happ (.844) are thriving of late, providing much more in terms of proven major-league talent than the Pirates.
Get the Cubs at -135 on PointsBet and play it to -145 odds.