Weather in the Midwest forced the postponement of three series finales yesterday, but fortunately for the teams involved, they can make them up on Monday on a day where only two games were regularly scheduled. Motivation levels will undoubtedly come into play for bettors that day, as players of teams who are eliminated from playoff contention may grumble at the prospect of having to travel to a city just to play a one-game series.
Today’s picks have us getting alongside the red-hot Cardinals for the first time during their streak, as well as a play on a team total and a full-game total.
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
YTD: 174-140-8 (+18.60 units)
St. Louis Cardinals ML (+100)
It always feels wrong getting alongside a team 11 games into a winning streak, as there is this feeling that we will inevitably be the ones responsible for breaking the streak. However, the Cardinals have their ace on the hill today, so now is a good a time as any to ride with them.
Adam Wainwright (16-7, 2.89) followed up a dominant August where he went 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA in six starts, winning three of his first four September starts. Wainwright has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his last nine starts. His only “hiccup” in that span was when he allowed four earned runs against the Dodgers, but only because the team sent him out in the ninth inning to try and finish a complete game. He has allowed just three earned runs in his last 12.1 innings against Milwaukee and limited them to four hits in 6.1 innings in his previous road start at the Brewers on September 3rd.
The Brewers counter with Adrian Houser (9-6, 3.43), who allowed four runs in four innings in his last outing against the Cubs. Houser is 2-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 14 innings against the Cardinals this year. However, he has faced them just once since April 10th, and this Cardinals lineup has been vastly improved during their 11-game winning streak.
While the Brewers are more or less locked into a home wild card playoff series against the NL East champions, we will back the more desperate Cardinals team behind their ace in this series finale.
Cincinnati Reds Team Total OVER 4.5 runs (-130)
To say that Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin has struggled is putting it lightly. Corbin (8-15, 1.47) has allowed at least four earned runs in nine of his last 12 starts and has allowed five or more earned runs in five of his previous eight. He faces a Reds offense that has been held to four or fewer runs in 12 of their last 15 games but is due for a breakout against the struggling Corbin and with their playoff hopes dwindling.
Cincinnati’s team total was set relatively low considering they rank 27th in the league in OPS against left-handed pitching and dead-last in team batting average against lefties. However, this month, Corbin’s .333 OBA ranks third-highest among qualified starting pitchers, as does his .443 OBP against right-handed hitters. Corbin also has allowed a slugging percentage of .518 this season, which is the fifth-highest among starting pitchers with at least 75 total innings pitched. Thus, if there were ever a time for Cincinnati’s offense to break out, it is tonight.
Given Corbin’s poor numbers this year, it was also tempting to play Cincinnati either on the moneyline or runline odds. However, the Nationals are 10-1 in their last 11 road games against the Reds and are 22-6 in their previous 28 meetings. Thus, we have too much respect for those trends and instead will just root for a slugfest.
Pirates-Phillies UNDER 8.5 runs (-105)
The Philadelphia Phillies have not taken advantage of a break in their schedule of late, as they have gone just 7-6 in their last 13 combined games against teams with a losing record. Therefore, while we do not entirely trust them to back on their steep moneyline odds in this series opener, we see a low-scoring game breaking out against the Pirates.
Though it is a small sample size of just 15 at-bats, Pirates pitcher Wil Crowe (4-7, 5.77) has held current Phillies to just one single in that span. One concerning statistic is his five walks to Philadelphia hitters, but he should turn in a dominant effort if he has command of the strike zone. The Phillies counter with Aaron Nola (8-8, 4.48), who has pitched to a 5.85 ERA in four September starts. However, three of those four starts came on the road, and Nola has not allowed more than three earned runs in four of his last five home starts.
The under is 16-6-4 in the last 26 meetings between these teams, including a 6-2-3 under record in their previous 11 meetings in Philadelphia. Given that no Phillies game has totaled more than eight runs in any of their last six games, we like this low-scoring trend to continue.
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