MLB Odds, Expert Picks: How to Bet Blue Jays vs. Guardians, Phillies vs. Nationals & More Thursday Games
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenta Maeda.
- With eight games on Thursday's MLB schedule, Tanner McGrath came through with a number of picks.
- McGrath broke down five games and came through with a pick for each one, including Blue Jays vs. Guardians and Phillies vs. Nationals.
- Check out McGrath's full MLB slate breakdown for Thursday, Aug. 10 below.
Some fun games on Thursday, including several day games and several fade-able pitchers, from Noah Syndergaard to Alek Manoah to Patrick Corbin to Bryce Elder to Matthew Liberatore.
Let's get into all of that and more.
MLB Predictions & Picks for Thursday, August 10
Hunter Brown (RHP) vs. Dean Kremer (RHP)
I’ve been trying to figure out why Dean Kremer continues to evade my fades. And I think I’ve figured out why.
Kremer’s on pace to post a career-high High-Location rate on his fastball. That number is up to 58.2% this year after sitting at 52.4% in 2022, 51.8% in 2021 and 46.3% in 2020.
Naturally, hitters are now swinging under the pitch, which explains the 14.6% Swinging-Strike rate.
That is what has driven his hot streak this season.
But Kremer’s still a potential fade candidate. He has no plus secondary pitches, and his batted-ball profile is brutal.
He’s also losing his command, walking 12 batters over the past 21 frames. He’s only struck out 15 during the same time frame.
Ultimately, Kremer’s 5.40 xERA is bound to catch up to him.
I’m worried about the Orioles more generally. Most of their rotation and bullpen arms are reaching career-highs in innings. Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista have seen a decrease in production as their arms have tired.
So, Baltimore “fixed” that problem by acquiring Jack Flaherty and Shintaro Fujinami. Not exactly the best trade deadline for them.
I will probably fade the Orioles more in the coming weeks, especially if Cedric Mullins remains sidelined.
Meanwhile, Houston is trending up now that Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve are back. The Astros are a team I want to back – I bet them to win the AL West after they re-acquired Justin Verlander.
I also like Hunter Brown. He’s had his rookie moments, but he’s patched together three consecutive starts of six innings, two runs earned. I really like that he’s tapped back into his ground ball stuff, forcing a 50% ground ball rate over his past three starts.
Brown should see more positive regression as the season progresses. His 3.89 xERA calls for it. Keep your fastballs hard and high and your sliders hard and low, kid, and it’ll come together.
Bryce Elder (RHP) vs. Bailey Falter (LHP)
I have to tap the Pirates here. No choice. Fading Bryce Elder is non-negotiable these days.
All that overdue negative regression is finally starting to rain down upon Elder Island. He’s allowed 20 earned over his past 23 innings, posting a 12:10 K/BB ratio during the stretch.
There’s only so much you can do when you pair a 17% strikeout rate with a 40% Hard-Hit rate and a 76 Stuff+ rating. You’re just not that guy, pal.
Bailey Falter looked half-decent in his Pirates debut, patching together four innings of one-run ball against Milwaukee. He also might not be that guy (mid-4.00s ERA and xERA), but he does put Atlanta in an unfortunate spot – the Braves have a 96 wRC+ against southpaws over the past month.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has a 99 wRC+ against righties over the past month.
And these bullpens have been relatively even over the past two weeks (ATL 3.43 ERA and 4.10 SIERA; PIT 3.94 ERA and 4.35 SIERA).
The Braves and Pirates got into one yesterday, so both ‘pens are gassed entering Thursday. But Pittsburgh avoided using Collin Holderman and David Bednar on Wednesday, which could prove monstrous in the late frames.
Kenta Maeda (RHP) vs. Reese Olson (RHP)
You know who’s been red hot?
He’s got 31 strikeouts and only four walks over his past four starts. His Stuff+ numbers are up considerably, as he’s sitting at 107 across his arsenal over the past month. His splitter checks in with a 142 mark, and his slider with a 105 during that stretch.
I like Reese Olson, but his near-5.00 xERA begged for regression, and the regression train has arrived at Olson station.
Olson’s allowed 13 earned over his past 16 frames. His once-sublime Stuff+ rating is down to 102 over the past two weeks, and his Location+ has dipped below average.
Olson doesn’t have the world’s prettiest batted-ball profile, so he can run into problems when his stuff isn’t working as advertised.
The Tigers played awesome during this four-game home series, winning the first three. But they’ve also had to dig deep into their bullpen, especially last night after Alex Faedo managed only 4 ⅔ innings (the Tigers ended up using five relief arms).
Meanwhile, all of Minnesota’s highest-leverage relievers will be available on Thursday, including Jhoan Duran.
So, I’ll take the Twins to ride their pitching advantage to a series-salvaging win. And remember, the Tigers still can’t hit right-handed pitching. They’re a bottom-five offense against the side over the past month (84 wRC+), while the Twins rank top-five against the side during that stretch.
Alek Manoah (RHP) vs. Noah Syndergaard (RHP)
The game of the day: Alek Manoah vs. Noah Syndergaard.
We’re obviously betting the Over.
Manoah’s looked more competent since returning from his Florida Complex League vacation. But his Stuff+ numbers are actually down since his return, and he’s issued 14 walks in the 25 frames since coming back.
Meanwhile, Syndergaard is a useless pitcher. And because he allows so many steals, every single turns into a double (or a triple). Syndergaard has the highest stolen base rate against of any starting pitcher since 2019, with 50 stolen bags against over 191 innings.
The bullpens also worry me here.
The Guards boast a 1.73 bullpen WHIP over the past two weeks, while Toronto’s missing closer Jordan Romano and middle-reliever Trevor Richards (both on IL).
And I’m no believer in Jordan Hicks or Genesis Cabrera, so don’t get me started with those acquisitions, Canada.
Toronto can still hit, checking in with the sixth-best wRC+ over the past month. And while Cleveland’s offense is cooked, I’m betting poor pitching prevails in this one.
It almost seems too obvious, but Sean Zerillo’s model makes this total 9.7, and BallParkPal’s makes it 10.6. The value's there.
Patrick Corbin (LHP) vs. Aaron Nola (RHP)
The Nationals should turn around and post some runs after getting no-hit by (checks notes) Michael Lorenzen. Come on, guys, have some pride.
I’m worried about Aaron Nola here. He’s been Jekyll and Hyde all year. His fastball velo was down, and then it came back up. But he’s now struggling to locate his secondary stuff.
Either way, he’s posted a 5.64 ERA over the past five starts. He’s due for some positive regression, but I’m not sold.
Meanwhile, the Phillies should have no problems posting crooked numbers against Patrick Corbin. There’s no need to explain Corbin (he’s allowed 35 earned over his past 47 frames), but we can touch on the Phillies, who boast a 112 wRC+ against southpaws over the past month.
I believe we’re getting the wind blowing out to right field at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, too, which should boost the offense. And while the Phillies' defense projects to be better with Bryce Harper playing first base, these are still two bottom-10 defenses by Defensive Runs Saved.