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MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Top 3 Picks, Including Red Sox vs. Orioles, Astros vs. Rangers (Thursday, Aug. 11)

MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Top 3 Picks, Including Red Sox vs. Orioles, Astros vs. Rangers (Thursday, Aug. 11) article feature image
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Kathryn Riley/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Santander, Ryan McKenna and Austin Hays.

  • There are eight MLB games today, with most taking place this afternoon.
  • That all leads up to the Field of Dreams Game between the Cubs and Reds, but our picks are focused elsewhere.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of our best bets from today in Major League Baseball.

Thursday’s MLB slate is highlighted by the Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, Iowa, between the Cubs and Reds, but there’s plenty of action this afternoon to warm us up for the main event.

Our analysts have plays on three of those seven other games, including afternoon matchups between the Guardians and Tigers and Rangers and Astros, as well as an evening pick on Orioles vs. Red Sox.

Here are our three best bets from today’s Major League Baseball slate.

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MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Guardians vs. Tigers
1:10 p.m. ET
Rangers vs. Astros
2:10 p.m. ET
Orioles vs. Red Sox
7:10 p.m. ET

Guardians vs. Tigers

Pick
Over 8.5 (-105)
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Zach Plesac vs. Garrett Hill
First Pitch
1:10 p.m. ET

Tony Sartori: Right-hander Zach Plesac is slated to take the mound for Cleveland and should be a fade-worthy candidate. Through 20 starts this season, Plesac is 2-10 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

His metrics are just as bad as his surface-level stats as Plesac possesses a .358 xwOBA, .282 xBA and a .481 xSLG. We have seen these poor metrics translate directly to some tough outings for Plesac recently.

Over his past five starts, Plesac is 0-4 with a 7.04 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP. We should not expect much positive regression from Plesac against Detroit.

Across his past four outings against Detroit, Plesac has produced a 1-1 record with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. However, he should get good run support as Cleveland is slated to go against right-hander Garrett Hill.

Through six starts of his rookie campaign, Hill is 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.

His metrics are even worse than Plesac’s as Hill possesses a .383 xwOBA, .289 xBA and a .519 xSLG. Following Hill is one of the worst bullpens in baseball.

Since July 1, the Tigers’ relief pitching ranks just 23rd in the league in BA, 22nd in WHIP, 21st in xFIP and 18th in hard-hit percentage. However, this pitching staff should get good run support as Detroit is slated to go against right-hander Zach Plesac.

Through 116 career plate appearances against Plesac, this current Tigers roster boasts a .259 xBA, .425 xSLG and a .318 xwOBA.

We are rolling with the over in this game. Plesac continues to be a good fade candidate in every game he starts and while the Tigers’ offense is not the greatest, it should still be able to get some runs across the plate.

Even if Hill has a solid outing, Detroit’s poor bullpen could get throttled as well.


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Rangers vs. Astros

Pick
Astros -1.5 (-135)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Cole Ragans vs. Framber Valdez
First Pitch
2:10 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: What seemed like an impossible feat for a moment, the Houston Astros are now nipping at the heels of the New York Yankees for the best record and number one seed in the American League.

The Astros will close out a three-game set against the Rangers behind the arm of Framber Valdez, who as been a very good number two option behind the immortal Justin Verlander. Valdez has a 4.01 ERA at home this season, but his 2.93 FIP and 2.75 xFIP at home indicate that he is actually much better than his ERA lets on.

Valdez will also get to square off against a Rangers offense that is in the bottom five in team wRC+ against LHP on the road over the past month. Their 67 wRC+ rates 26th in MLB over that span.

The Rangers will counter with rookie Cole Ragans, who fared well in his first career start against the Chicago White Sox. However, he did pitch around four walks en route to a no decision, which is not something that is likely to happen against an Astros offense that is presently surging.

The Astros have been handling LHP well at home over the past month and are heavy favorites going into Thursday’s series finale.

Houston’s run line opened at -135 for -1.5 runs and +100 for -2.5 runs. If you want to play it conservative the -1.5 run line should be played to -150. If you’re more aggressive the -2.5 could be played at -115 or better.

A full unit on -1.5 and a half unit on -2.5 would be worth the risk because the Astros have a huge edge in all areas heading into Thursday.


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Orioles vs. Red Sox

Pick
Orioles +115
Book
Caesars
Pitchers
Dean Kremer vs. Josh Winckowski
First Pitch
7:10 p.m. ET

DJ James: The Red Sox have an 85 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in the last month, and Dean Kremer is, unfortunately for them, a righty. They only have a .278 OBP in that timeframe.

Meanwhile, the O’s have a 109 wRC+ off of right-handed pitching. They have seven batters above a .330 xwOBA, so this offense is no accident. Winckowski ranks in the bottom half of the MLB in every peripheral category. Most importantly, he ranks in the ninth percentile in hard hit rate and had a 6.12 ERA in July.

Lastly, the Orioles have the best bullpen in the last month at a 3.14 xFIP, so they have plenty of arms to throw behind Kremer, if he can hold the Boston lineup in check.

Take the O’s from +115 until -110. They should be favorites here, even if the game is in Boston.

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