Thursday MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: 4 Favorite Bets, Including Royals vs. Orioles & Nationals vs. Braves (Sept. 9)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman.
- Thursday's MLB slate includes six games getting started under the lights.
- Our analysts have found angles on three of them, including four bets.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets for tonight in Major League Baseball.
There are two afternoon games and six games under the lights, and our analysts have found angles on three of them, including four total bets, on Royals vs. Orioles, Blue Jays vs. Yankees and Nationals vs. Braves.
Here are our four best bets from Thursday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
|7:20 p.m. ET|
Royals vs. Orioles
Anthony Dabbundo: Carlos Hernández has been one of my favorite pitchers to get behind in the second half of the season, and for good reason. The Royals’ right-hander has an excellent fastball that has shut down the White Sox twice, Yankees and Mariners. His 3.57 ERA and 3.68 xERA are really impressive for a guy who doesn’t strikeout a ton of batters and can have issues with walks.
Hernández’s quality of contact allowed, though, is well above average, based on hard-hit rates and xSLG allowed. His FIP sits at 3.76 and he’s actually been even better on the road than he’s been at home. His 3.14 ERA away from Kauffman Stadium, along with 10.7 strikeouts per nine, suggests that he’s not overwhelmed by pitching on the road at a young age.
He faces an Orioles lineup that has been dreadful against right-handed pitching all season. Baltimore has hit against southpaws, but ranks 22nd in wRC+ vs righties, 22nd in strikeout rate, 26th in walk rate and 27th in hard-hit rate. Hernández has a great matchup here and the wrong team is favored. Anything +100 or better on Kansas City is good for me.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees
Matt Trebby: On paper, this line doesn’t make much sense.
The Yankees are falling pretty quickly, having lost five straight. They’re trying to avoid getting swept by the streaking Blue Jays, who have won seven straight and are suddenly just 1 1/2 games out of the second American League wild-card spot.
José Berríos is among the most consistent starters in baseball. He has a 3.55 ERA this season and 3.62 xFIP, and the Yankees have just a .659 OPS against right-handed pitching over their last 13 games.
Néstor Cortes Jr., meanwhile, has been impressive on the mound for New York, but signs of regression are coming. He has a 2.67 ERA and 4.32 xFIP, and he’s facing a Blue Jays lineup that has an .822 OPS over the past 30 days against left-handed pitching, which ranks second in MLB.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees
Sean Zerillo: I’m still wondering when the betting market is going to catch up to Néstor Cortes Jr. ?The Yankees’ mustachioed maestro has been a revelation this season. Still, his expected indicators (2.88 xERA, 4.32 xFIP, 3.95 SIERA) are kind of all over the place, which is why I generally prefer expected ERA (xERA) to the other two metrics.
Cortes has room to regress both in BABIP (.259) and strand rate (83.1%), which are about 30 points and 10 percent off from league average, respectively. Still, the southpaw limits hard contact (ranking in the top 15% among all pitchers), despite somewhat meager “stuff” (14th percentile in fastball velocity and league average spin rate).
I have maintained that José Berríos is generally overrated in the betting markets, even though his 2021 indicators (4.25 xERA, 3.62 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA) have improved relative to the past couple of seasons.
Baseball Prospectus still isn’t exceptionally high on Cortes — pegging him at a 4.73 Deserved Run Average, or DRA. But it doesn’t think much better of Berríos (4.36), which gives me greater confidence in my “take” on Toronto’s starter.
I generally let the Statcast metrics drive my model, as opposed to other advanced indicators or preseason projections, and I think that that has helped me gain an edge over the betting markets.
I projected Cortes and the Yankees as 58.4% favorites for the first five innings (F5) and 57% favorites for the whole game on Thursday evening. I would bet those two lines up to -125 and -120, respectively.
Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Nationals vs. Braves
|7:20 p.m. ET|
Collin Whitchurch: After seven shutout innings against the Mets on June 18, Erick Fedde saw his season ERA drop to a preposterously low 3.33. As we sit here today, it is 5.27.
That’s because in the 13 starts Fedde has made since that date, he’s thrown 59 2/3 innings and allowed 11 home runs. His ERA during that span is 6.94 and it’s been entirely deserved.
Fedde misses bats at a pretty average rate, allows a ton of hard contact and opposing batters hit the ball in the air with some frequency. The Braves’ offense has been Helter Skelter for a majority of the season, but more often than not can be trusted to take advantage of opportune matchups.
I think Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies & Co. get the job done today against one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball, and if Fedde doesn’t last long, the bullpen shouldn’t pose much of an issue either. I’ll take the team total over at plus money wherever you can find it.