MLB Odds, Predictions: How to Bet Dodgers vs. A’s, Yankees vs. Astros

MLB Odds, Predictions: How to Bet Dodgers vs. A’s, Yankees vs. Astros article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Shea Langeliers and Tony Kemp.

Thursday's MLB slate is a mix of day and night games across the league as 22 of the 30 teams are in action. The slate begins with Michael Lorenzen's starting debut for the Phillies as the Phillies and Marlins conclude a four-game series. The hollowed-out Mets roster visits the Royals while trying to avoid a sweep, even though it may now be in the Mets' best interest to lose for the rest of 2023.

The Blue Jays send their ace to the mound to try to salvage the series split with the Orioles as Jack Flaherty makes his debut for Baltimore. The Cubs have scored 36 runs in two games and the total is north of 10 once again at Wrigley against the Reds.

Here are my best bets for a fun Thursday afternoon and evening slate.

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MLB Predictions & Picks for Thursday, August 3

10:10 p.m. ET · JP Sears vs. Julio Urias

Betting the Athletics isn't for the faint of heart, but the number is a bit too high today for capable starter JP Sears.

The Dodgers had a major need at the trade deadline — to improve against left-handed pitching. They tried to address it with some minor additions like Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario, but the lineup has been solidly better against righties for the last season and a half.

Sears doesn't have great stuff, and home run issues have plagued him this year. But his K-BB% is respectable at 17%, he allows a below-average hard-hit rate and is a league-average starting pitcher.

His K-BB% is exactly the same as Julio Urías this season, and the other underlying projections from xERA to xFIP are quite comparable between the two pitchers.

The Dodgers obviously have a massive lineup edge, but Sears is good enough to keep this game close for 5-6 innings and make +240 too good of a price to pass up. Urias has made five starts since returning from injury — two were terrible, two were good and one was average. He's lacked consistency and that gives the Dodgers some real downside risk as a result.

I'd bet Oakland at +225 or better.

Pick: Athletics ML (+225 or better)

7:15 p.m. ET · Cristian Javier vs. Clarke Schmidt

The Yankees' lineup has been one of the five worst in baseball since June began, and even the return of Aaron Judge hasn't saved them from mediocrity.

For the second straight day, though, the Yankees face a pitcher who is not near the best version of himself. New York teed off on Shane McClanahan on Wednesday night with Anthony Volpe and Giancarlo Stanton hitting multi-run homers.

If McClanahan's underlying numbers were concerning, then Cristian Javier's are alarming.

The Astros are confident that Javier's issues are related not to health but mechanics. His fastball doesn't have nearly as much ride and the uniqueness of the pitch has all but disappeared. Now, he's getting fewer whiffs and getting crushed as a result.

His 15-game rolling xFIP chart shows just how much the lack of strikeouts has become an issue. His xERA has jumped from 2.43 in 2022 to 4.49 in 2023 and his strikeout rate dropped from 33% to 22% this year. That remarkable loss in skills is too extreme to be natural variance.

The Astros have the better offense, but the starting pitching and bullpen edge for the Yankees at home should have them as a slightly bigger favorite. The underlying metrics for Clarke Schmidt wouldn't immediately pop off the page — he has a 4.39 ERA and that's closely aligned to his xERA and xFIP.

However, by Stuff+ Schmidt has an elite sweeper to use against right-handed bats. Schmidt's problem was his inability to get lefties out, and a home run problem came as a result of that. Schmidt has developed a curveball that's also excellent and has helped him massage those extreme platoon splits.

His ceiling is higher than Javier's right now as a result. I'd bet the Yankees at -115 or better.

Pick: Yankees ML (-115 or Better)

Mets vs. Royals

2:10 p.m. ET · Carlos Carrasco vs. Brady Singer

The Mets are trying to avoid the sweep on Wednesday afternoon in Kansas City, but the lineup and bullpen situation are a bit dire due to the trades they made this week.

New York shipped out both Tommy Pham and Mark Canha, and Buck Showalter said on Wednesday night that he's not expecting Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte to be in the lineup today.

As a result of the injuries and trades, the Mets more closely resemble the Syracuse Mets at the moment. Jonathan Arauz, Danny Mendick, Mark Vientos, Rafael Ortega and DJ Stewart all will start, and none project to be anywhere close to league average hitters by The BAT X for the remainder of the season.

The Royals have the arguably better lineup and also have the better starting pitcher. The only edge for the Mets here comes in the bullpen. Carlos Carrasco is down to a 6.2 K-BB%, which is the worst strikeout rate and walk rate of his career by a wide margin.

The decline in stuff is picked up in the underlying models, too, and Carrasco looks just about done as an MLB starter. The Mets' pitching depth has been thinned out so much that he's still in the rotation, but it's not because he's earned it with his 2023 performance.

I'm not much of a believer in Brady Singer long term, but he's the marginally better pitcher here. As a result, I'd bet Kansas City at -120 or better.

Pick: Royals ML (-120 or better)

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