MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Bets for Thursday, Including Tigers vs. Athletics & Rockies vs. Dodgers (April 15)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Gomber
- Just because the slate of games in MLB isn't full doesn't mean there isn't betting value to be had.
- Our MLB analysts have identified three games that bettors can target on Thursday.
Our MLB analysts have found angles on three games for this evening, including Diamondbacks-Nationals, Tigers-Athletics and Rockies-Dodgers. Below, you will find our best bets for Thursday’s MLB action.
MLB Odds & Picks
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals
However, the Snakes have just 89 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers (compared to 397 for righties) but they have hit much better against south paws early in the year. Arizona is batting .275 vs. lefties, good for ninth in the league, compared to .218 vs. right handers. In Patrick Corbin, the Diamondbacks will be facing a left-handed starter on Thursday, so that’s good news for their offense.
It’s still hard to judge what this Nationals’ lineup will be given all the disruption it has faced. Offseason acquisitions Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber have played just two and three games, respectively.
The one thing we know for sure is that Juan Soto is extremely good at baseball. Through nine games, Soto is batting .375 with two home runs and seven RBIs. He has four multi-hit games already this year, and just two without a hit.
Overall for the Nationals, positive regression is coming for the bats. They have the fifth-highest batting average this year, yet just the 29th most runs per game. They’ve simply been unlucky in the run-scoring department.
Soto is one of the best hitters in all of baseball and getting guys like Bell, Schwarber and Josh Harrison consistently in their lineup will only help their numbers continue to rise.
Both Merrill Kelly and Corbin are just averages pitchers at this point, and neither seem capable of completely shutting down a lineup.
I like this total to go over the 8 (-115) and would play to 9.
Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
Sean Zerillo: The Detroit Tigers are off to a surprising 6-6 start and are building in confidence coming off a road sweep in Houston against the Astros, but their bullpen paid the price to lock down those wins.
José Cisnero, Daniel Norris, and Gregory Soto have worked three out of the past four days for the Tigers, while Bryan Garcia has pitched in back-to-back games and Buck Farmer has appeared twice in three days.
A.J. Hinch had to use six relievers to piece together a win on Wednesday night. His bullpen looks to be in rough shape for Thursday’s matchup in Oakland. The Tigers will need length from sophomore hurler Tarik Skubal (career 5.21 xFIP in 10 appearances), whose fastball has lost roughly 2,000 RPMs since his 2020 debut.
Oakland typically crushes left-handed pitching. Since the midpoint of the 2019 season, the Athletics’ offense ranks sixth in MLB with a 110 wRC+ against southpaws; and they have posted a 131 wRC+ in their small 2021 sample.
Oakland starter Sean Manaea has been relatively shaky early on, but his 3.77 xFIP in 2020 (career .319 and 4.21), in addition to his increased fastball velocity (+1.1 mph) this year indicates that better days are ahead.
I only have the A’s projected as 60% favorites in the first five innings, so that line looks about right to me. But I make Oakland a 66% favorite over the whole game, with its bullpen getting a rest day on Wednesday compared to the grind Detroit has endured.
Bet Oakland’s moneyline up to -170, at a three-percent edge relative to my projection.
Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Tanner McGrath: I’m eyeing an interesting pitching matchup between southpaws Austin Gomber and Julio Urías in this game.
While the Dodgers boast the best lineup in baseball, Gomber has been good at limiting runs in his two starts, including one against these very Dodgers. On April 4th, Gomber pitched three innings and allowed three runs, but the runs came on a wild pitch, a walk and a sacrifice grounder. Otherwise, the Dodgers went 0-for-4 with RISP.
Then, Gomber went on to dominate the Giants, allowing two runs on only one hit over 6 1/3 innings.
Control has been a big issue for Gomber, as he’s walked 11 batters over his 9 1/3 innings this season. However, when he does keep it in the zone, he’s been great at forcing weak contact. Gomber ranks in the 81st percentile among pitchers in average exit velocity and in the 92nd percentile in hard hit percentage.
Gomber sports an xBA of just .126 and a xSLG of only .229, both of which rank in the top 10 percent of qualified pitchers.
Considering he’ll be pitching away from Coors Field, this is a good spot for Gomber to keep the Dodgers’ bats in check. The Dodgers are incredibly dangerous against right-handed pitching, but are much more average against southpaws. So far, the Dodgers have posted a .913 OPS and a 149 wRC+ against righties but just a .741 OPS and a 109 wRC+ against lefties.
Meanwhile, Urías had the best game of his career last time out against the Rockies, also on April 4th, when he pitched seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits. It’s probably because the Rockies’ offense is abysmal, as they rank in the bottom-three in MLB in almost every offensive statistic.
Moreover, the Rockies are really struggling away from their home park, averaging just 1.2 runs per game on the road so far this season.
Considering the Rockies’ bad relievers and the Dodgers explosive lineup, I don’t want to play the bullpen game. However, I think Gomber can hold the Dodgers bats at bay through five. Meanwhile, I’m looking for Urías to perform similarly against the Rockies again, this time away from the hitter’s paradise that is Coors Field.