We’ve got another full slate of baseball action on Thursday. There are 14 games to choose from, starting with the Yankees vs. the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Here are five of my favorite bets to target on Thursday.
Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers: Spencer Turnbull under 5.5 strikeouts (+112)
I love this strikeout prop at better than even money.
Turnbull is a decent strikeout pitcher, but he’s far from a strikeout maven. He posted a K/9 of 8.86 in 2019 and a K/9 of 8.34 over his first 22.2 innings in 2020. He’s in a decent spot for strikeout vs. the White Sox – they’ve posted the fifth-highest strikeout rate vs. right-handers this season – but Turnbull has recorded four strikeouts or fewer in each of his past two starts.
The White Sox can do some serious damage offensively, so they also have the capability of knocking Turnbull out of the game early.
Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Brewers ML (+105)
The Brewers are shaping up as one of the preferred targets today for sharp bettors. They’ve attracted 52% of the early moneyline bets, but those bets have accounted for 92% of the total money wagered. This a good indication that most of the significant, big-money wagers are coming in on the underdogs.
The Brewers have a pretty significant advantage on the mound in this contest. The Twins are turning to Jose Berrios, who has struggled with a 5.92 ERA and 5.03 FIP through his first five outings this season. The Brewers will hand the ball to Brandon Woodruff, who is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball. He’s posted a FIP of 3.30 or lower in each of the past two years, and he’s off to another excellent start in 2020.
The Brewers shouldn’t be underdogs in this matchup, and I don’t expect them to be for much longer if the current betting patterns continue.
Oakland A’s vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Under 9.0 runs (-117)
This is another bet that the sharps appear to love today. The under in this contest has received 69% of the total wagers on the over/under, but those bets have accounted for 96% of the money. As a result, this line seems destined to drop below nine before game time.
Both teams will be sending solid starters to the mound. Sean Manaea has struggled for the A’s through his first five starts, pitching to a 7.65 ERA, but his advanced metrics suggest he’s been really unlucky. His 3.77 xFIP is actually the best mark of his career, so there should be some better starts in his future.
The Diamondbacks will turn to Alex Young, who has posted a 3.61 xFIP through his first 14.0 innings this season. He’s made just one start this year, but he limited a potent Padres’ offense to just one earned run over 4.1 innings.
Neither of these teams mash left-handers either – the A’s rank 17th in wRC+, the Diamondbacks rank 23rd – so I’m not expecting a ton of offense in this contest.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cleveland Indians: Under 7.5 runs (-107)
This game figures to be one of the lowest scoring on the slate. That is reflected in the total, but I still think it’s ultimately too high.
Both of these teams have been very mediocre offensively this season. The Indians rank 26th in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers, while the Pirates rank just 30th in that department.
The Indians are sending one of the best pitchers in baseball to the mound in Shane Bieber. He’s been an absolute monster this season, pitching to a 1.30 ERA and 14.02 K/9. The strikeout numbers in particular are ridiculous impressive: he’s on pace to break the record for K/9 by a starter set by Gerrit Cole last season.
Trevor Williams obviously isn’t the same elite pitcher as Bieber, but he’s still solid. He’s pitched to a 3.98 ERA through his first four starts this season, so he should be able to keep a mediocre Indians offense in check.
Colorado Rockies vs. Houston Rockies: German Marquez over 5.5 strikeouts (+132)
Let’s finish up here with another starting pitcher prop. Marquez has been brilliant to start the year, and he has always been a quality strikeout pitcher. He’s posted a K/9 of at least 9.05 in each of the past two years, and he’s pitched to a K/9 of 8.44 through his first five starts this season.
The Astros are not a great matchup for strikeouts – they rank 27th in strikeout rate vs. right-handers this season – but their lineup will be a bit weaker than usual today. Yordan Alvarez was recently placed on the IL, and Alex Bregman left their last game early with a hamstring injury. Bregman posted a strikeout rate of just 12.1% vs. right-handers last year, so his absence would be a huge boost for Marquez in this contest.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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