One of the most exciting weeks of the college basketball regular season is “rivalry week, ” a week-long marathon of matchups between many of the sport’s biggest rivals. Major League Baseball’s schedule-makers gave us a glimpse of some of the game’s biggest rivalries today. Two four-game series between the Cubs and Cardinals and Giants and Dodgers conclude today. They overlap two other four-game series beginning between the Yankees and Red Sox and Phillies and Braves. For a compressed nine-game schedule with many teams traveling today, bettors could not ask for a much better slate of games.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 111-100-4 (-3.90 units)
Rays-Indians UNDER 9 runs (-110)
The Cleveland Indians lost their last series to the Houston Astros, as Houston took advantage of the fact that Cleveland started three straight rookie pitchers against them. However, outside of the nine-run blow-up in the middle game of the series, the youngsters held their own. Cleveland’s problem in losing two of the three games was the fact that their offense could not hit, which has been a problem not only since the All-Star break but all season long.
Since the break, the Indians have topped four runs just once in their six games and have exceeded four runs just four times in the last 18 games. Entering Wednesday, Cleveland ranked 21st or worse in batting average and OPS. Though they strike out the seventh-fewest amount of times in the league, they are 28th in BABIP.
Conversely, the Rays strike out the most in baseball by a wide margin, with 32 strikeouts more than the next-worst team. However, they are successful because of a team ERA that ranks eighth in baseball and has the major’s best K:BB ratio.
Tonight’s pitching matchup is Luis Patino (1-2, 4.87) against Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.05). While it is not the most glamorous starting pitching matchup, the under is 4-0 in the Rays’ last four games against a team with a winning record. Though the over is 4-1 in the previous five meetings between these teams, neither team (Cleveland in particular) is hitting well enough at the moment to worry about lighting up the scoreboard.
Angels-Twins OVER 9.5 runs (+100)
We jump from a game where we expect few runs to a game where we expect a shootout. The over has cashed in each of the last five meetings between the Angels and Twins, which is precisely what we expect tonight. In the last 30 days, the Twins rank in the top half of the league in runs scored, while the Angels are knocking on the top ten in terms of OPS. The fact that both starting pitchers have had their share of troubles bodes well for a high-scoring game.
Los Angeles’s Andrew Heaney (5-7, 5.56) has allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts. Though his ERA is better on the road than at home (5.35 compared to 5.72), his home run rate of one home run allowed in less than every fourth innings is alarming. He is opposed by Minnesota’s Kenta Maeda (4-3, 4.71), who finally gets a break from AL Central opponents as each of his last four starts has come against division rivals. Maeda has made just four home starts this year and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of them. However, he has also not lasted more than 5.1 innings in any of them, which means plenty of outs will have to be secured by Minnesota’s leaky bullpen.
The over is 6-0 in Heaney’s last six road starts and is 6-0-1 in his previous seven starts overall as an underdog. With Los Angeles’s offense likely to pose more issues than Kansas City’s or Detroit’s that Maeda has gotten accustomed to, look for him to struggle as well.
A’s-Mariners UNDER 8 runs (-105)
The over has cashed in six of the last seven meetings in Seattle between the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. However, with the way both starting pitchers are pitching, expect this series opener to buck that trend.
Oakland’s Sean Manaea (6-6, 3.28) has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last three starts. In July, he has allowed an OBA of .282 and a WHIP of 1.24. However, he pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout in Seattle on June 2nd, and look for him to revert to that form tonight. Seattle’s Chris Flexen (9-3, 3.35) is 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his last seven starts. He has been lights out at home all year with a 1.76 ERA in ten home starts, with a minuscule WHIP of 0.95.
The under is 4-0 in Oakland’s last four games and has cashed in each of Manaea’s last four road starts. The under is also 5-0 in Seattle’s last five home games against a left-handed starter. The fact that Seattle has won each of Flexen’s last four home starts suggests he is a great candidate to do his part in keeping the scoring down.
MLB Prop Bets
- Adam Duvall Prop Bet Odds
- Mookie Betts Prop Bet Odds
- Sean Manaea Prop Bet Odds
- Rafael Devers Prop Bet Odds
- J.T. Realmuto Prop Bet Odds
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