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Top MLB Betting Picks for Thursday, September 16th (2021)

by September 16, 2021
Tim Anderson

Of the nine MLB games on today’s slate, eight are series finales, and just one is a matchup of teams beginning a new series. Thus, there has been plenty of data to scour through and observations to be made from the last couple of days’ results, which has us confident in our two plays.

A 2-1day yesterday has brought our profits to a season-high 17 units entering today, and we look to finish the week on a high note.

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: 169-136-8 (+17.00 units) 

Chicago White Sox -1.5 runs (+115)

The Chicago White Sox catch a break in their series finale against the Los Angeles Angels, as they will face Alex Cobb instead of Shohei Ohtani. The Angels activated Cobb from the IL, and he has not pitched since July 23rd as he was dealing with an injured right wrist. The decision to start Cobb tonight allows Los Angeles to give Ohtani an extra day’s rest, as he will have a whole week in between starts when he faces Oakland on Friday.

Cobb (7-3, 3.82) had been lit up in his eight road starts before his injury, going 2-2 with a 5.71 ERA. The numbers are staggering, considering he has allowed just one home run in 34.2 innings on the road this year. However, he has been undone by a .299 OBA and a 1.59 WHIP. The White Sox are one of the teams least reliant on hitting home runs for their offense. They rank 19th in the league with 172 home runs, and just two teams with winning records have hit fewer this season. Therefore, Chicago should manufacture runs like they always do against Cobb, who will be too busy shaking off the rust from a long layoff. 

Reynaldo Lopez (3-2, 2.05) is an under-appreciated pitcher in this White Sox rotation. However, he is making a real case for a postseason roster spot that the struggling veteran, Dallas Keuchel, could vacate. Lopez has a minuscule 0.90 ERA in 20 innings pitched at home, and he hardly allows any traffic on the basepaths, as evidenced by his 0.55 WHIP.

The White Sox are 4-0 in Lopez’s last four home starts versus a team with a losing record and are banking on another big win to cover the runline.

Athletics-Royals UNDER 10 runs (-115)

The pitching matchup between Oakland’s Paul Blackburn and Kansas City’s Daniel Lynch does not exactly scream “under,” but an afternoon game on getaway day is a tough spot to keep batters’ full attention. In addition, there is a chance Royals slugger Salvador Perez is given an entire day off from his catching and hitting duties in a day game after a night game.

Blackburn (0-2, 5.24) has had back-to-back poor starts, allowing eight earned runs in his last 6.1 combined innings against the Rangers and Blue Jays. However, Blackburn has been much better in day games than in night games this season, with an ERA 1.78 runs lower in daytime starts. Oakland’s bullpen had an 8.26 ERA in the 12 games this month entering Wednesday, which is the worst in the majors in that span. Thus, it would behoove Blackburn to give his team some length in this outing, but Oakland’s bullpen struggles are a big reason for this inflated total.

Lynch (4-4, 5.37) similarly has been brilliant in three afternoon starts this year, going 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA. He faces an Oakland lineup that entered Wednesday ranked 20th in batting average and 21st in OPS against left-handed pitching. In fact, Oakland’s .237 batting average against left-handed pitching since the start of last season is tied for the fifth-lowest in baseball.

The A’s are 0-6 in Blackburn’s last six road starts, so we would not put anyone off backing Kansas City’s moneyline odds. However, we prefer the better the play with an under-the-radar wager on the total.

MLB Prop Bets

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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