Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Rockies vs. Cardinals and Diamondbacks vs. Giants (Aug. 18)
Chris Coduto/Getty Images. Pictured: Zac Gallen
- The Thursday slate has multiple day games and our analysts are all over them.
- They've identified value in a trio of day games, including a pair of plus-money plays.
- Continue reading for their best bets and analysis.
There’s plenty of afternoon baseball on Thursday and our experts are all over the action as they’ve found vale in a pair of underdogs, a runline and a total.
Here are our best bets from Thursday’s Major League Baseball slate.
MLB Odds & Picks
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
DJ James: Luis García will pitch for the Houston Astros in the final game of the four-game set in Chicago against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. García has been a bit unlucky with a 4.03 ERA against a 3.43 xERA this season. He has encouraging peripherals and has struck out over 25% of opponents. That said, he owned a 4.70 ERA in July, a 5.21 ERA in August and his second-half ERA sits at 5.16.
Giolito has also been unlucky with a 4.92 ERA against a 4.21 xERA. In August, he has a 3.71 ERA and looked sharp against Detroit on Saturday, aside from a ball that Eloy Jiménez probably could have caught in left field. Giolito notched seven strikeouts in that game.
The difference in this matchup between comparable starters is how these teams have fared against right-handed pitching this month.
The Astros only have a team 89 wRC+, while the White Sox have a 111 wRC+ and a .330 OBP.
Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Jules Posner: It’s Adam Wainwright getting the ball at home as the St. Louis Cardinals look to complete the three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies on Thursday afternoon. Antonio Senzatela will get the start for the Rockies, but this isn’t about them. This is about Wain-O, baby!
Adam Wainwright has been Adam Wainwright-ing at home this season. Since July, he’s posted a 2.36 ERA at home and that includes a shaky start against the New York Yankees. For the season, he has a 3.16 FIP as he continues to get it done.
Senzatela is actually worse on the road than at home and brings a 5.50 road ERA into Thursday’s match up. However, his 4.28 FIP and 3.57 xFIP mean he might be due for some positive regression. On the other hand, the Cardinals have been handling right handers well at home over the past couple of weeks and the Rockies’ bullpen is a nightmare.
Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Brad Cunningham: Antonio Senzatela has been horrible this season. His xERA is currently sitting at 5.22, opponents have a .310 xBA average against him and his K/9 rate is only 5.16 — one of the lowest marks in the league.
He is also a heavy fastball pitcher. He goes to his heater over 53% of the time and is allowing a .321 xBA and .376 xwOBA on it. Not only are the Cardinals red hot at the plate and sporting the second best wOBA over the past 30 days, but they also have a +31.5 run value against fastballs, so this is a terrible matchup for Senzatela.
Adam Wainwright really hasn’t been that good this season and is a big time regression candidate. His ERA is sitting at 3.27, but his xERA is at 4.30. He throws a curveball more than any other pitch (a little more than 30% of the time) and the Rockies absolutely love curveballs, as they are the number one team in baseball with a +16.1 run value against the offering.
Also, both of these bullpens are in the bottom half of baseball in terms of xFIP.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants
William Boor: Zac Gallen has been absolutely dominant since the All-Star break and I’m backing that trend to continue on Thursday afternoon. Over his past four starts, Gallen has posted a 1.14 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP while notching 31 strikeouts over 31 2/3 innings. Additionally, the Diamondbacks are a perfect 5-0 in Gallen’s past five starts.
Gallen’s recent stretch, which includes back-to-back starts of seven scoreless innings, stands out, but it’s not an anomaly. The 27-year-old right-hander has pitched to a 2.94 ERA with a 3.55 xERA over 125 1/3 innings this season and has been Arizona’s best starter since Opening Day. Gallen has faced the Giants twice this season and has fared well in each outing, giving up a combined three earned runs over 11 1/3 innings.
As for the offense, Ketel Marte is listed as day-to-day with tightness in his hamstring and his absence weakens a D-backs’ lineup that can sometimes struggles to score runs. I’ll be playing this game either way, but will feel much better about it with Marte in the lineup.
The Giants will hand the ball to Logan Webb and although he’s been solid this season, I believe Gallen gets the slight edge in this matchup. Webb has pitched to a 3.00 ERA with a 3.53 xERA, though the D-backs have had some recent success against the right-hander as they tagged him for four runs over 6 1/3 innings on July 27. Webb fanned nine over eight scoreless innings in his last start, a home outing against the Pirates, so runs may be hard to come by. However, Gallen should be able to stifle a Giants offense that is prone to cold streaks.
If both starters dominate and this game is close, the D-backs also have a slight edge in the late innings. Arizona’s bullpen has pitched to a 4.10 ERA this season, while San Francisco’s bullpen ERA sits at 4.41.