We have identified our two best bets with a limited ten-game Major League Baseball slate today. They involve a player prop that backs a starting pitcher on a historically good steak and a team that is still getting the respect of the oddsmakers despite being one of the worst teams in the league over the last three weeks.
Here are our best bets for Thursday’s MLB action. (Odds courtesy of DraftKings)
Cleveland Guardians vs. Boston Red Sox ML
Since June 27, one might be surprised to learn that Boston has the worst record in baseball at 7-19. The Red Sox have lost five of six games since the All-Star break and 15 of 19 overall, yet oddsmakers still make this game a borderline pick’em against a Cleveland team with a winning record and one in the thick of the AL Central division race? Though Boston is still very much alive for an American League wild-card spot, there are rumors that J.D. Martinez could be dealt before the trade deadline. That brings into question how much confidence Red Sox ownership has in its team going forward.
Boston’s Kutter Crawford (2-3, 4.50) has thrown quality starts in his two previous appearances, but it speaks volumes about the Red Sox’s lack of offense that the team lost both of those starts. Crawford is in for a different challenge against a Guardians offense that ranks fourth in wRC+ over the last 14 days. We are excited to back the Guardians in this road series finale at this more than fair price, given that their starting pitcher, Triston McKenzie (7-6, 3.11), has led the team to wins in each of his last four starts by a combined score of 26-5.
Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels: Texas Rangers Team Total O/U
We usually are leery when divisional opponents get numerous looks at a starting pitcher, as over time, the advantage in that scenario would shift to the hitters. However, with the way Shohei Ohtani has been pitching of late, it will not matter how often Rangers hitters have faced him.
We are chalking up Ohtani’s first poor start (six earned runs allowed over 6.1 innings) after the All-Star break to him being fatigued from the All-Star festivities and a long flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta. However, Ohtani still flashed his brilliance in that loss with 11 strikeouts, which snapped a string of six wins in six starts before that. Ohtani’s 11 strikeouts marked the fifth consecutive game where he posted double-digit strikeouts, and he became the first Angels pitcher since Nolan Ryan to have a string of four such starts. And per the Associated Press, Ohtani became the fifth pitcher to accumulate at least 50 strikeouts and one or fewer earned runs over a five-game span since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913.
Texas’ lineup succeeded against Ohtani this year when they tagged him for six earned runs in 3.2 innings. However, that was Ohtani’s second start of the season, and he was likely working off much of the rust from spring training at that point. His most recent road start against the Rangers was a much more tidy six-inning performance where he allowed two earned runs. Ohtani has pitched to a 2.05 ERA in eight home starts this season, and we look for him to dominate a Rangers lineup that has scored more than four runs just twice in its last ten games and ranks in the bottom half of the league in OPS in its road games.
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