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Top MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, August 5th (2021)

by August 5, 2021
Top 3 MLB Betting Picks Freddie Freeman

Of the 12 Major League Baseball games on today’s slate, just three are series openers, and the nine other games are between teams wrapping up three and four-game series. The most intriguing of the three new matchups is the one in the Bronx between the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The Yankees and Mariners start this series two and three games back respectively of the second wild card spot. However, the Mariners are catching the Yankees at the right time with 2/5 of their starting rotation (Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery) on the COVID-19 IL.

Though they are in nearly identical spots in the standings, it is fascinating to see how oddsmakers view each team in relation to their futures odds. At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Yankees have odds of -135 to make the playoffs and +110 to miss the playoffs. Conversely, Seattle is +1300 for “yes” and -3500 for “no.” So is this the series where the Yankees separate themselves from another wild card contender? Or will the Mariners continue to fly under the radar and stay in the think of the race? 

Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 127-110-5 (+2.44 units)

Giants-Diamondbacks UNDER 9 runs (-115)

Many trends are pointing to the over in this series finale between the Giants and Diamondbacks. The over is 6-2 in Arizona’s last eight home games and is 5-1-1 in San Francisco’s last seven road games against a right-handed starter. However, the Diamondbacks pitcher they are facing today has been outstanding despite playing on the worst team in baseball. In what is not the sexiest pitching matchup between Merrill Kelly and Alex Wood, runs should still be at a premium.

Kelly (7-8, 4.38) had seven consecutive starts without a loss broken in his last outing against the Dodgers. However, he did not pitch poorly in that start, allowing just three earned runs and striking out six in 6.1 innings. He has now allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts and is 5-1 in his previous eight starts despite pitching for a team with 34 total wins. Kelly has not allowed an extra-base hit in his last 7.2 innings, and he has walked just 12 of 283 right-handed batters this season, which ranks sixth-best among qualified starting pitchers.

Alex Wood (9-3, 3.83) is unbeaten in his last nine starts and rebounded nicely with a 3.62 ERA in five July starts after a 6.94 ERA in five June starts. He has been outstanding in six day starts this season, going 3-0 with a 3.68 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. Opposing batters have a well-hit average of .121 with runners in scoring position against Wood, which ranks 13th-best among pitchers who have thrown at least 52 innings.

The under is 3-1-1 in San Francisco’s last five fourth games of the series and is 10-4 in Arizona’s last 14 games in the same role. So we will back another low-scoring game while both of these teams have their minds elsewhere on getaway day.

Indians-Blue Jays OVER 9.5 runs (-110)

This is another game where the head-to-head trends support one side of the total, but we choose to back the other. The under is 3-1-1 in the last five meetings in Toronto between the Indians and Blue Jays. However, with each team using starting pitchers buried at the end of their rotation, we should be in for a shootout tonight.

Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie (1-4, 6.11) has won just one of his eight road starts while pitching to a 6.75 ERA. That is the ninth-highest road ERA of any starting pitcher with at least 52 IP. Hitters from all over the batting order do damage against McKenzie. His OPS of .833 allowed to all hitters not in the 3-4-5 spots in the lineup is the third-highest in baseball.

Toronto’s Ross Stripling (4-6, 4.75) has allowed three earned runs in his last 10.1 innings. In his two starts prior against the Rays and Red Sox, Stripling allowed ten earned runs over four innings. Indians hitters have 45 home runs in the late innings this season, which is fifth-most in baseball. Considering that Stripling has pitched six innings just three times in 17 starts this year, Cleveland hitters should feast on Toronto’s 24th-ranked bullpen in terms of ERA.

The over is 7-2-1 in Toronto’s last nine home games against a right-handed starter, which makes us confident in their ability to score runs in this one.

Braves-Cardinals OVER 9 runs (-110)

The Braves have faced Cardinals lefties in consecutive games, as they scored 13 combined runs against the newly acquired Jon Lester and J.A. Happ and St. Louis’s stable of relievers. They should settle in nicely once again in their third straight game against a lefty when they face Wade LeBlanc.

LeBlanc (0-2, 4.17) is still winless in seven starts (16 appearances). He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last six starts but has also not thrown more than 5.2 innings. He faces a Braves lineup with 88 extra-base hits out of 210 total hits against lefties this season, which is the best in baseball. They also do not strike out much against lefties, as their 47% of balls in play against left-handers is tied for the fifth-most.

St. Louis’s biggest bats like Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will look to tee off late on Atlanta’s relievers, as Braves relief pitchers have allowed a .517 slugging percentage versus the heart of the order (3-4-5 hitters) this season, which is the third-highest in baseball. 

The over is 6-1-1 in Atlanta’s last eight games that are the third game of a series and will end this series with one final offensive explosion.

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

Baseball, Picks