An eight-game MLB slate means we are more selective with our picks today. We have identified our two best bets, as two moneyline plays, one a favorite and one an underdog, round out our plays for the week.
Here are our best bets for Thursday’s MLB action. (Odds courtesy of DraftKings)
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ML
At first glance, Los Angeles’ low moneyline odds with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer on the mound, pitching for a team on pace to win 113 games, seems too good to be true. These odds do not come around too often, as this marks just the 14th time the Dodgers have been favored by odds of -140 or lower, or just 11.2% of its games as favorites overall. But the Dodgers have thrived in that role, going 11-2 as favorites of -140 or cheaper, and we expect it to win again in today’s rubber match against the Mets.
Clayton Kershaw (7-3, 2.64) is making his first start since August 4, as he has been on the IL since with lower back pain. However, even if he can give the team five solid innings, we trust he will exit the game with a lead, as New York’s Chris Bassitt (11-7, 3.34) is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.
The Mets have struggled against left-handed pitching all year, as their .578 winning percentage against southpaws is much worse than their .663 winning percentage against righties. And while Bassitt has been dominant in August, going 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five starts, he is coming off allowing four earned runs with just one strikeout against the Rockies. For him to punch out just one batter is concerning, and if his stuff is not sharp today, L.A.’s deep lineup will punish him.
Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox ML
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the Red Sox went from a team hovering around .500 and in the mix for a wild card spot to 8.0 games out entering tonight’s series opener with the Rangers. Thus, what will Boston’s motivation level be like down the stretch? If it plays out the string, it makes them vulnerable, even at Fenway Park, against teams like Texas.
Boston has gone 15-23 since the All-Star break, and its struggles are largely due to a bullpen with a league-worst 5.88 ERA and .336 BABIP over the last 30 days. That is troubling considering tonight’s starter, Rich Hill (6-5, 4.32), has averaged fewer than five innings over his last seven appearances.
Glenn Otto’s road ERA (3.53) is much better than his ERA at home (6.10). His last two road starts were especially impressive, limiting Houston and Minnesota, two of the American League’s best teams, to two earned runs over 10.2 innings.
The Red Sox have had a brutal second-half schedule, but they are still just 3-4 in their seven games against teams with a losing record in the second half of the season. Therefore, we expect Texas to win for the sixth time in its last eight road games against teams with a losing record.
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