MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: 3 Best Bets From Thursday Evening’s Slate, Including Rangers vs. Tigers, Brewers vs. Mets (June 16)
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Meadows
Getaway day in MLB has nine games scattered throughout, with four games this afternoon and another five this evening.
You can read our best bets from the afternoon slate here, but we’re focused on the games under the lights below. We have a pair of picks on Rangers-Tigers, as well as one on Brewers-Mets.
Here are our three best bets from Thursday evening’s MLB slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers
Sean Zerillo: In recent seasons, it seemed as though Martin Perez had settled into a role as a capable but underwhelming back-end starter — one who could post an ERA in the mid to high 4s and eat innings for a team at a relatively minimal cost.
His signing with Texas (1-year, $4M) this past offseason got lost in the shuffle when the Rangers shelled out more than half a billion dollars in guaranteed money to free agents. Still, that contract may prove the best value of the past year, as he’s already accumulated 2 WAR (and roughly $16M worth of production) in 12 starts.
The Rangers have modified his pitch mix; Perez has fired his sinker 37% of the time this year — the highest mark since he last pitched for the organization in 2018 — and his groundball rate (55.3%) stands at its highest mark since 2015. Moreover, it’s the fourth-highest groundball rate among 130 pitchers who have tossed at least 40 innings this season.
Perez has quelled a home run issue that has plagued him recently (0.24 HR/9, 3% HR/FB rate). While those numbers may eventually regress toward career norms (1.02 and 12.1%, respectively), both his strikeout minus walk rate (14%) or K-BB% and expected ERA indicators (2.86 xERA, 3.68 xFIP, 3.76 SIERA) are at career-best levels.
Additionally, he’ll get his easiest matchup of the season on Thursday against a Detroit offense averaging just 2.7 runs per game — the lowest mark for any offense since the 1940s.
And while the Tigers have been a bit unlucky — with the highest differential (-0.036) between their expected (.300 xwOBA) and actual (.264 wOBA) production — they do rank at the bottom of numerous offensive categories, including chase rate (35.8%).
Furthermore, Tigers’ starter Beau Brieske (6.40 xERA, 4.83 xFIP, 4.85 SIERA) remains on my fade list. He’s been a bit fortunate to carry a 4.34 ERA, thanks to a .236 BABIP and an 83.7% stand rate (league average .287 and 71.8%).
Among that same group of 130 pitchers (min. 40 innings) that I mentioned, Brieske ranks 117th in K-BB% and 129th in called-strike plus whiff rate, or CSW% (21.8%).
I bet Perez and the Rangers on the moneyline overnight at -126 before a dramatic line move. While I no longer show value at the current number (as low as -152) compared to my full game projection (-148), I still project substantial value on their first five innings or F5 moneyline (projected -220).
You can bet the Rangers F5 moneyline up to -201 for Thursday, at a two percent edge compared to my projection.
At the current Fanduel price (-148), I would lay the juice to win a unit. However, I would reduce my risk downward on the wager beginning at -176 or higher.
Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers
Jules Posner: Martin Perez has been excellent this season for the Rangers and has been particularly solid on the road. He has a 1.85 ERA and a 2.99 FIP over 34 road innings this season. He’s also taking on the 20th ranked team in terms of wRC+ at home against LHP over the past month.
Beau Brieske hasn’t been great overall, but over his last couple of starts he seems to have figure some things out. His peripherals are still scary, but he hasn’t been walking batters and hasn’t given up many runs. Additionally, he’s backed by one of the better bullpens in the league.
The Rangers’ offense has been solid over the past few weeks, posting a 112 team wRC+ on the road against RHP, but Brieske’s past two starts came against the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. Therefore, his confidence should be high heading into Thursday’s start.
The total is at 8.5 runs and the under sits around -110. This seems like a solid value and should be taken to the -115 threshold. It may even be safe to take this at 8 runs as well. This pitching matchup should be able to keep runs off the board and put some money in our pockets.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets
Anthony Dabbundo: Aaron Ashby had his worst career outing against Washington last week, but that doesn’t change my positive outlook on the Brewers lefty. Ashby’s hard-hit rate is still just 30%, his xERA is 2.85 and his xFIP is 2.92.
The Mets have had a lot more success against righties (second in wRC+) than they against lefties this year (13th in wRC+). Throw in that the Mets offense is second in BABIP and there could be some hitting regression coming for the NL East leaders.
Ashby has elite stuff, he’s striking out 27% of hitters and his fastball and slider aren’t getting barreled up. I have much more faith in him and the Brewers’ bullpen than I do in Tylor Megill, who struggled in his first start back from injury.
Megill allowed six hits and three runs to a struggling Angels lineup. While he’s a promising young arm, his xERA is above four and the Brewers’ lineup projects better against righties than it does against southpaws.
I played the Brewers both in the first five innings and the full game on the moneyline and would play both at +105 or better. Milwaukee isn’t as bad as it has looked in the last two weeks, and the Mets have some regression coming offensively.
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