MLB Thursday Picks, Best Bets For White Sox vs Twins, Phillies vs Cubs, Rangers vs Mariners, More (September 29)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford
- There are 10 games on the docket Thursday and our experts have found betting value in three of them.
- They'll be looking for plenty of runs to be scored as they've targeted a runline and a pair of overs.
- Continue reading for our best bets from Thursday's slate.
There are 10 games on Major League Baseball’s Thursday slate, including several will playoff implications.
While a game doesn’t need to have playoff implications to present betting value, our experts have targeted games involving the Mariners and Phillies, both of which hope to be playing deep into October.
Thursday’s best bets have us hoping for plenty of offense as we’ve targeted a pair of overs and a runline.
MLB Odds & Picks
Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
Collin Whitchurch: The White Sox season went in the tank hard for, well, most of the season, but particularly the past two weeks, when any shred of postseason hope was buried under 20 tons on concrete.
It went in the tank so hard that Lucas Giolito — an established starting pitcher who entered the season as something of a Cy Young darkhorse — is only a short home favorite against Louie Varland, a non-prospect making his fourth career start.
The fact that oddsmakers have adjusted to the putridity that is the end of the White Sox season makes it tough to find value on either side, but there’s plenty of value on the total at 7.5. While the White Sox have been unbearably bad, it’s tough to imagine them not scratching across a few runs against the unheralded Varland and a Minnesota bullpen that has a few warts of its own.
Giolito has been pretty fade-able for most of the season, and while his expected stats indicate a little bit of poor luck, his velocity has dipped this season and he has performed poorly against the Twins for most of his career. The total is about a run too low in Thursday afternoon’s matchup.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs
Jules Posner: Ranger Suarez has been a very solid road pitcher this season. He brings a 2.67 road ERA and a 3.45 road FIP into Thursday’s game against a Cubs’ offense that may be overachieving against lefties at the moment.
The Cubs have been one of the better home offenses against lefties over the past month, but their 144 team wRC+ has been buoyed by an unsustainably high .412 BABIP in a relatively small sample.
On the other side, the Phillies’ offense has been incredibly unlucky on the road against right handers over the past couple of weeks. Their 71 team wRC+ over than span has been weighed down by a .204 BABIP over that same timeframe. However, they have a .181 ISO over that span, so they should be due for some positive regression.
Javier Assad may be the candidate for the Phillies to bounce back against. The rookie has a 6.35 ERA and a 6.82 FIP in 11 1/3 home innings this season. The Phillies runline has not been posted at the time of this writing, but judging by their moneyline odds of roughly -185, there’s a good chance the runline posts in solid plus money.
Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners
William Boor: It’s always important to consider motivation at this point in the baseball calendar and although the Mariners are fighting for a wild card berth and the Rangers are simply playing out the schedule, it’s hard to back Seattle in this spot.
The Mariners have struggled of late and are limping toward the finish line, so let’s tackle the total instead.
A struggling Marco Gonzales will get the start for Seattle and Jon Gray, who has thrown well recently, will start for the Rangers. Gray has given up just three earned runs over his past three starts (13 innings), though I’m anticipating a bit of regression in this divisional matchup because the Mariners have some familiarity with the right hander. Seattle has already faced Gray twice this season and racked up eight earned runs over 11 1/3 innings.
In the same way the Mariners are familiar with Gray, the Rangers are familiar with Gonzales — Texas’ offense has scored 17 earned runs over 29 2/3 innings (5.16 ERA) against Gonzales this season.
While that alone is intriguing for over bettors, it gets even more enticing when factoring in that Gonzales enters this game in a bit of a funk. The 30-year-old lefty has surrendered eight earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in his past two starts — perhaps an indication the expected regression from his 4.52 xERA and 4.05 ERA is starting to hit.
Even if this total doesn’t hit early, there will be plenty of opportunities for runs to score late. The Mariners bullpen has been solid this season, but has an ERA over five over the past week. Meanwhile, the Rangers bullpen has posted an ERA over four over the past week. These two pitching staffs aren’t exactly shutting down opponents of late.
These teams also tend to play high-scoring games. The Rangers and Mariners have played 18 times this season and have combined for seven or more runs 12 times. This total opened at 7 and I’d play it to 8.