MLB Odds & Best Bets: Our Top 2 Picks for Thursday, Including Mariners vs. Red Sox and Diamondbacks vs. Cubs (May 19)
Chris Coduto/Getty Images. Pictured: Zac Gallen
- Our MLB analysts have two best bets for Thursday's baseball slate.
- They have picks on Mariners-Red Sox and Diamondbacks-Cubs, including two plus-money bets.
- Check out Michael Arinze and Collin Whitchurch's picks below.
With just three night games in Major League Baseball on Thursday night, our Action Network MLB analysts have two best bets lined up. Michael Arinze and Collin Whitchurch are backing a pair of underdogs on the moneyline tonight. Check out their picks and analysis below.
MLB Odds & Picks
Seattle Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox
Michael Arinze: After an 11-6 start, the Seattle Mariners are just 6-15 in their last 21 games as they’re now fourth in the AL West and seven games out of first place. However, they’ll face an opponent in the Boston Red Sox that’s had its share of struggles as the Red Sox sit 13 games out of first place in the AL East at 15-22.
The Mariners will turn to rookie right-hander George Kirby in the series opener. The Red Sox will counter with the veteran left-hander, Rich Hill. While I’m always interested when a pitcher faces a team for the first time, and I’m even more intrigued when that pitcher has quality stuff like Kirby. The New York native has a plus-fastball (53.5%) that averages 96 mph. He can also mix in a slider (24.7%), a changeup (14.1%), and the occasional curveball (6.5%).
Kirby’s allowed just one earned run in 10 innings as opposing hitters are barreling him up only 3.3% of the time. In contrast, hitters are barreling Hill up 7.1% of the time, and the current Mariners lineup is batting .324 in 37 at-bats against him.
For all of the Mariners’ struggles, they still rank 12th with an above-average wRC+ value of 110. In comparison, the Red Sox rank 23rd with a below-average value of 87. Although both teams have certainly been on a downward trajectory, the advanced metrics are still excellent for the Mariners. Thus, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before we see the effects of Seattle’s positive regression in the win column.
My model makes this game closer to a pick ’em, so I’ll look to back the Mariners at +108 for a half-unit. I would play this number down to +103.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs
Collin Whitchurch: The Snakes have bitten me often during their current streak of six straight losses and seven losses in their last eight games.
But we’re going back to the lair again this evening and backing one of 2022’s most impressive pitchers in the early going, Zac Gallen.
The wind is blowing out at Wrigley tonight, but I don’t expect the 26-year-old to have much issue with the long ball. He’s allowed just one home run so far this season and has a respectable Ground Ball Rate of 44.7%. The Cubs rank in the bottom-half of the league in SLG and are among the five worst in Strikeout Rate, which is a fine recipe for success for Gallen.
Marcus Stroman has been known as a ground ball pitcher for most of his career, but he’s throwing his sinker less frequently than ever before and, after registering GB% in the 50-60% range for most of his career, has seen that drop this year. He’s only allowed four home runs in 26 1/3 innings this season but isn’t inducing much soft contact generally, and the Snakes … well, they’re due.
I was surprised to see Arizona listed as an underdog tonight, even on the road and with all of its recent struggles. I’d bet the Diamondbacks at any number with a + in front of it.
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