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Thursday MLB Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Bets for Padres vs. Angels, Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks (Sept. 3)

Thursday MLB Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Bets for Padres vs. Angels, Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks (Sept. 3) article feature image

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mookie Betts

  • Looking for some quick MLB betting picks for Thursday? Our staff's got you covered with a pair of matchups worth betting this evening.
  • Today's MLB slate only features 8 total games, but among those, Padres vs. Angels and Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks stand out as strong betting spots.
  • Read on to find out why we're backing the Angels' first five-inning line and why we're betting the Dodgers to go over their 5.5-run team total.

It’s slim pickings for baseball bettors on Thursday. Ahead of tomorrow’s 18-game slate, only eight matchups will take place today, with just four coming after the 7 p.m. ET hour.

Still, our crew has found a pair of spots worth betting among the limited options. Here are our picks for Padres vs. Angels and Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

Note: Odds as of 12 p.m. ET.

Danny Donahue: Angels F5 Moneyline (+125) vs. Padres

With the wind blowing out at Angel Stadium, I really wanted to fade Andrew Heaney and his unsustainable 5.3% HR/FB rate coming into this game. Unfortunately, the Padres — despite their second-most home runs in the bigs — don’t actually hit a ton of fly balls (their FB% ranks 16th), so this wasn’t exactly the match made in heaven I was expecting.

As it turns out, the opposite side is much more appealing.

Mike Clevinger brings with him a 3.18 ERA into his first start as a Padre, which is pretty consistent with where he’s been for the past 3+ years. There is, however, one difference this season … and it’s a big one.

His FIP and xFIP are up at 5.60 and 4.73, respectively — meaning he’s been lucky to have such a low ERA — and he’s going up against an Angels lineup that ranks sixth in baseball with a 115 wRC+ against righties.

What’s more? The Halos have the fourth-highest FB% in baseball and second-highest against righties, so they may actually be the ones more likely to benefit from tonight’s 6-9 mph breeze to center.

With the higher end of that wind speed range expected to come earlier in the game, and this pick largely based on starting pitchers, I slightly prefer the first-five innings moneyline to the full game.

BJ Cunningham: Dodgers Team Total Over 5.5 (+112)

Luke Weaver has been an unmitigated disaster this season. He’s accumulated an ERA of 8.23 and an xFIP of 4.65 through his first 27.1 innings of 2020. Weaver’s main issue has been his fastball, which has allowed a .344 batting average and .441 wOBA to opposing batters. He’s also had a big-time issue giving up the long ball, as his HR/9 rate is all the way up at 2.63 this year.

Arizona’s relievers have combined for a 4.76 xFIP, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams. Not to mention the D-backs traded away their two best relievers, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin, at the trade deadline, so the Dodgers should be able to feast on their depleted bullpen.

The Dodgers lineup has been on fire over the past two weeks, hitting 20 home runs, which has led to a .353 wOBA and 124 wRC+. Los Angeles has done most of its damage against right-handed pitching, with a .356 wOBA and 125 wRC+, which is the best mark in baseball. Mookie Betts and Corey Seager, specifically, have been crushing right-handed pitching, each sporting a wOBA over .465.

The Dodgers have also been really successful vs. fastballs this season with 23.1 weighted fastball runs. So they’ll have a great matchup against Weaver, who throws his fastball more than 48% of the time.

I have the Dodgers projected for 6.36 runs tonight, so I think there is value in taking the over on their team total of 5.5 runs at +112.

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