We’ve got a relatively small MLB slate on Thursday. There are just eight games to choose from, starting with the Pirates vs. Cubs at 1:35 p.m. ET and wrapping up with the Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks at 9:40 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into three of my favorite bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s slate.
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Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers:
The Rangers are moderate underdogs in this matchup, but they might have the advantage on the mound.
They’re sending Lance Lynn to the hill, who ranked second in the American League in WAR last season. He’s followed that up with another strong campaign in 2020, pitching to a 1.93 ERA through 51.1 innings. His advanced stats aren’t quite as good as they were last year – his strikeouts are down while his walks and homeruns are up – but his 3.52 FIP is still solid.
Zack Greinke is also in the midst of a strong season, but he’s doing it more with smoke and mirrors. He’s averaging just 7.81 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be one of the lowest marks of his career. He’s made up for it by limiting the damage on balls in play, but you’re always playing with fire when batters are making contact.
The big question is if the Rangers’ offense can give Lynn any run support – they rank 29th in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitchers – but they have a few guys who are capable of going yard in this matchup.
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays:
It has been a disastrous season so far for the Red Sox, but they appear to be a preferred target for the sharps on today’s slate. They’re currently receiving just 25% of the early moneyline bets in this contest, but those bets have accounted for 52% of the money wagered. That’s a pretty large discrepancy.
The Red Sox will be taking on Taijuan Walker, who is making his second start for the Blue Jays. He was strong in his first outing, holding the Orioles scoreless over six innings, and he’s put together a solid 3.27 ERA in 2020. That said, he’s a clear regression candidate moving forward. His .225 batting average on balls in play is unsustainable, so his 4.91 xFIP is significantly higher than his traditional ERA.
I like the idea of backing the Sox as small underdogs.
New York Mets vs. New York Yankees:
The Mets and Yankees will square off for the sixth time this season, and the Yankees have won each of the past three games after dropping the first two.
They will turn to J.A. Happ in this contest, who was brilliant the last time he faced the Mets. He limited them to just three hits over 7.1 scoreless innings, but the bullpen ended up blowing the lead for him. The Mets’ lineup is loaded with left-handed bats – Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, and Dom Smith have arguably been their three best hitters this season – so this is a solid matchup for Happ.
Meanwhile, the Mets will hand the ball to Robert Gsellmen. He started the year in the bullpen but has been asking to move into the rotation given all the injuries and ineffectiveness the Mets have had at starting pitcher. He did a solid job vs. the Yankees in his last start, but Gsellmen is simply not a very good pitcher. He’s pitched to a 5.32 FIP this season, so I can’t see him shutting down the Yankees twice in a row.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.