Thursday MLB Picks: How We’re Betting Tigers vs. Royals & Brewers vs. Cardinals
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images. Pictured: Corbin Burnes
- Looking for betting picks for Thursday night's MLB slate? You're in the right place.
- Our experts have found two games with mispriced totals: Tigers vs. Royals and Brewers vs. Cardinals.
- Check out how we're betting both divisional matchups below.
As several teams have the day off in preparation for the final weekend of the 2020 MLB regular season, Thursday features somewhat of a light 11-game slate.
Still, there’s plenty of value to be had — at least in a couple of those 11 matchups. Check out how we’re betting Tigers vs. Royals and Brewers vs. Cardinals below.
Note: Odds as of 1 p.m. ET.
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.
Sean Zerillo: Tigers vs. Royals, Over 9.5 (+100), F5 Over 5.5 (+108)
I project the game total for this Tigers-Royals contest at 10.54 runs, and I would bet over 9.5 up to -109. Furthermore, I project the F5 total at 6.3 runs, and I would bet Over 5.5 at -110 or better, and Over 5 at -120 or better.
I split my wager between the two halves — playing either to win a half unit.
The Tigers have quietly crushed left-handed pitching in 2020, ranking second in all of baseball behind the White Sox with a 139 wrRC+ against southpaws, and capable of rolling out an entire lineup full of switch-hitting and right-handed bats.
Royals lefty Kris Bubic (4.51 xFIP, 4.64 SIERA) has been extremely effective through his first nine major league starts — but he has actually shown reverse splits to date (.305 wOBA vs. RHH; .398 wOBA vs. LHH) — so I’m curious to see whether the Tigers choose to deploy their left-handed bats against him.
Another intriguing factor for me, in betting this over, is the wind — currently blowing at 7 mph to left field in Kansas City.
Kaufman Stadium is the sixth most profitable park for Over bettors in such wind conditions, with a 145-122-6 (54.3%, +$1,643, 6% ROI) record since 2005 — further amplifying my confidence in the plays.
BJ Cunningham: Brewers vs. Cardinals Under 7.5 (-114)
Corbin Burnes should be receiving a few Cy Young votes as one of the best pitchers in baseball this year.
He’s been completely un-hittable, posting a 1.77 ERA and 2.89 xFIP in 2020. He’s also been a strikeout machine, racking up a crazy 13.34 K/9, which ranks third in MLB behind only Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom.
The reason Burnes has been so effective is his secondary pitches — all four collectively are allowing a .120 average to opponents, along with each of them producing a whiff rate better than 30%. The Cardinals have struggled against all offspeed pitches this season, so Burnes should have a big edge as he attempts to keep the Brewers’ playoff hopes alive.
Kwang-hyun Kim has been a fantastic surprise for the Cardinals after coming over from the KBO. He’s posted some really good numbers in 2020, including a 1.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. However, he’s been a tad fortunate to this point in the season, as his xFIP is all the way up at 4.52.
Kim mainly uses a fastball/slider combination, and so far it’s held opposing hitters at bay. Both pitches have combined to allow only a .183 average to opponents. Even though the Brewers have hit lefties well this season, they’ve struggled against fastballs and sliders so far this season.
I think this will be the lowest scoring game of the day on Thursday as I have only 6.36 runs projected for this game. Therefore, I think there is plenty of value on under 7.5 runs at -114.