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MLB Odds, Expert Picks: Anthony Dabbundo’s Top Bets for Thursday, Including Yankees vs. Royals & Giants vs. Cubs

MLB Odds, Expert Picks: Anthony Dabbundo’s Top Bets for Thursday, Including Yankees vs. Royals & Giants vs. Cubs article feature image
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Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Wisdom.

  • Thursday's MLB slate features 10 games, and there's plenty of betting value across the board.
  • Our expert, Anthony Dabbundo, sees value in four games, including Royals vs. Yankees and Cubs vs. Giants.
  • Check out all six of Dabbundo's top bets for Thursday below.

Twenty of the 30 MLB teams take the field Thursday in a 10-game slate.

There are two day games beginning at 12:35 p.m. ET, as the Marlins visit the Reds and the Rays visit the Orioles, but eight of the games on the Thursday card begin after 7:05 p.m. ET

You can find my colleague Sean Zerillo’s projections for every MLB game in the Action Network App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub (which you can bookmark).

Here are some of my favorite angles and games I’m targeting across Thursday’s evening MLB card.


Royals at Yankees

7:05 p.m. ET · Brady Singer vs. Jameson Taillon

The Mets swept the Yankees in the Subway Series, and now the Yankees will look to bounce back at home against one of the worst teams in MLB.

The Royals have struggled to find and develop their young pitchers for years now, but they may have found something in Brady Singer.

Singer had a rough start to his time in the majors, but he’s developed a usable third pitch — his changeup — and become more effective at inducing weaker ground balls as a result.

He’s also improved his command in 2022, cutting his walk rate from 9% to 6.3% and is now solidly above average in K-BB%. Singer has now allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his last eight starts, and that’s despite a few difficult matchups mixed in there.

The market isn’t showing much respect to Singer at all despite his 3.76 xERA, 3.30 xFIP and 3.81 FIP. All of this suggests he has staying power as a mid-level rotation starter in the long term.

He’ll now face a Yankees lineup that is elite but has shown a few cracks in the last two weeks.

Almost all of Singer’s peripherals are better than those of Taillon. The Yankees righty has struggled and regressed a bit in recent weeks. His K-BB% isn’t as good as Singer’s, and his xERA (4.04) and xFIP (3.83) are both considerably worse than Singer’s numbers.

He’s seen an increase in his ERA as his K/BB ratio has declined in recent starts, as well.

Given that Kansas City has the better starting pitcher based on expected performance this season, and Taillon has seen a drop off in his Stuff+, based on Eno Sarris‘ model from The Athletic, the Royals are well undervalued in the market.

I’m betting Kansas City in both the first five innings and full game.

Recommended Bets

  • Royals F5 Innings (+165 or better)
  • Royals ML (+180 or better)

Tigers at Blue Jays

7:07 p.m. ET · Tyler Alexander vs. Yusei Kikuchi

This pitching matchup is a classic example of stuff vs. command in pitching.

Yusei Kikuchi has clearly above-average Stuff+ ratings (105.3) but hasn’t located all season and has suffered because of it.

He has a 13.9% walk rate, and because he’s fallen behind in so many counts, he’s had to throw over the middle of the plate frequently. The result has been a 16% barrel rate allowed and a 6.26 xERA.

Even a lineup as bad as the Tigers can take advantage of someone who doesn’t throw strikes and catches too much of the plate.

If Kikuchi is the stuff guy, Tyler Alexander relies entirely on his command. His Sutff+ rating is way down at 83.8 (100 is average), but he has well above-average command, and the aggregate makes him a slightly below-average pitcher.

Alexander locates well enough that he doesn’t walk many batters (5.2% walk rate) and can mostly avoid a ton of hard contact. That will be a difficult task against Toronto, but the Blue Jays are clearly overvalued off their recent red-hot winning streak.

The offense can’t keep producing at the level they have recently forever, and Alexander might just be the pitcher to miss enough barrels and keep the game competitive.

Alexander may not be a long-term starter in MLB, but I’m at least interested in backing him while his command remains excellent. His 4.85 xERA isn’t good, but it’s considerably better than Kikuchi’s.

If the game is close late, Detroit’s bullpen remains in the top 10 in ERA, and that should enable the Tigers to keep this game competitive and prevent Toronto from blowing the game open.

Like the Royals, the Tigers have the better starter right now and are undervalued as a big road underdog against the American League’s third-best team.

I’m splitting a unit on the Tigers in the first five innings and full game — mostly as a bet against the overvalued Kikuchi.

Recommended Bets

  • Tigers F5 Innings (+160 or better)
  • Tigers ML (+175 or better)
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Mariners at Astros

8:10 p.m. ET · Logan Gilbert vs. José Urquidy

It’s been a weird week for both the Mariners and Astros, who met last weekend in Seattle. Houston swept Seattle to begin the second half of the season with a 5-0 record.

Since then, the Mariners swept the Rangers and the Astros were swept by the lowly Athletics.

Now, the two ball clubs meet in Houston for another series matchup. Logan Gilbert has maintained a 2.77 ERA, but his underlying metrics suggest he’s been incredibly fortunate to do so.

His xERA is north of 4.00, he’s allowed a ton of hard contact and his walk rate has ticked up a bit from last season. Gilbert doesn’t have overwhelming stuff metrics, either, and I expect Houston to get to him more than it did last weekend in Seattle.

It’s not just his xERA, as Gilbert’s xFIP and FIP both suggest he’s a 3.50-type of pitcher at best. The BAT projections don’t see him having a strong finish to the 2022 season either.

José Urquidy opposes Gilbert, and he’s also riding his luck a bit in the 2022 season. He’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher who hasn’t really been punished by homers. His strikeout rate has also gone down a few ticks overall.

Urquidy is allowing more hard contact than ever, and at some point, regression and reality are going to catch up to these two pitchers who have vastly overperformed at this point in the season.

Both bullpens are really good, so I’m going to target the first five total and expect some runs early in Houston.

Recommended Bet

  • F5 Over 4.5 Runs (-110 or better)

Cubs at Giants

9:45 p.m. ET· Justin Steele vs Alex Wood

The hottest team in the National League visits the coldest team in the NL, as the Cubs visit the Giants on Thursday night.

Chicago has won six straight post-All-Star Break, sweeping the Phillies and Pirates. The Giants have lost seven straight to the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

Last week in my MLB bettor’s notebook, I wrote about pitchers I’m looking to buy low on in the second half of the season.

Justin Steele has occasional walk and command issues that lower his ceiling, but he induces a ton of weak contact and ranks in the top 5% in barrel rate allowed and top 15% in hard-hit rate allowed.

Steele’s xERA is just 3.73, considerably lower than his ERA above four.

Alex Wood has an 18.3% K-BB%, which is above league average. Combine that with his excellent ground-ball rate above 50%, and the results should be better for him than they have been to this point.

It helps him compensate for his average-at-best Stuff+ rating. The Giants defense may not help him if he can keep the ball on the ground, but it can’t possibly continue hurting him as much as it has to this point in the year.

Wood gets a solid matchup here with the Cubs, who do project better against right-handed pitching than lefties.

Chicago’s bullpen continues to be underrated too, as the group ranks top-five in K-BB% and in xFIP. The Cubs’ bullpen has struggled a bit with homers, but this is one of the most favorable pitcher ballparks in the entire league, especially for home runs.

All of the signs point me toward the under in this game, and I’m betting it as long as I can get an 8 at -115 or better.

Recommended Bet

  • Under 8 (-115 or better)

Anthony Dabbundo’s Bets (July 28)

  • Royals F5 Innings (+165 or better)
  • Royals ML (+180 or better)
  • Tigers F5 Innings (+160 or better)
  • Tigers ML (+175 or better)
  • Mariners/Astros F5 Over 4.5 (-110 or better)
  • Cubs/Giants Under 8 (-115 or better)
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