MLB Betting: Thursday Best Bets

MLB Betting: Thursday Best Bets

This article is part of our MLB Betting series.

Previous day: 0-5, -5 RWBucks
Season: 0-5, -5 RWBucks

It's been quite a first seven days of MLB action, and we get a bit of a breather Thursday with an abbreviated schedule compared to the last few days. There are still nine games on the slate, however, with all but two in the afternoon.

I'll weigh in with my view on wagers for three games. Odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook. 

Cubs at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. EDT

Starting Pitchers: Jake Arrieta vs. Tyler Anderson 

The Pick: Under 8.5 runs (-109) for 1RWBuck

The Pirates have scored an NL-low 17 runs in six games, generating a .192/.292/.350 line through their first 137 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, with a 26.3 percent strikeout rate. A .228 BABIP is partly to blame for the Pirates' overall struggles, but Pittsburgh has managed a pedestrian 34.5 percent hard-contact rate. Arrieta looked back at home in his first start with the Cubs on Saturday, when he held these same Pirates to an earned run in six frames.

Anderson could also do his part to help the under hit. The Cubs are hitting .176 with a .259 OBP in their first 59 plate appearances against southpaws while striking out at a 27.1 percent clip versus that handedness. The Cubs also have scored just 19 runs in their first six games. 

Red Sox at Orioles, 3:05 p.m. 

Starting Pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Matt Harvey 

The Pick: Over 9.0 runs (-106) for 1RWBuck

Eduardo Rodriguez will finally take the mound after last pitching in a regular-season game Sept. 29, 2019. COVID-19 cost Rodriguez the 2020 campaign, and then a dead arm prevented him from starting this season on time. The left-hander was impressive in Grapefruit League play with a 3-0 mark and 2.63 ERA, but the regular season is still a completely different matter. The Orioles have also thrived against lefties early  —  .378/.396/.511 and .393 wOBA in their first 48 plate appearances versus southpaws.

Harvey turned in a surprisingly solid outing against the Red Sox on Saturday, giving up two earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. However, if Harvey's last few seasons are any indication, that could well just be the calm before the storm. The right-hander entered 2021 with a 6.09 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 62 starts in the previous four seasons, allowing 67 homers. Red Sox bats have also awakened after scoring just five runs in the season-opening three-game set against Baltimore, putting up 26 runs versus the Rays while sweeping the defending AL champs at Fenway the last three days. 

Royals at White Sox, 4:10 p.m.

Starting Pitchers: Brad Keller vs. Lance Lynn 

The Pick: White Sox -177 for 1RWBuck

Keller was hit hard Opening Day, allowing six earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 1.1 innings versus the Rangers. Keller should be better Thursday, not that his first start of 2021 offers much of a high bar to clear. However, he still faces a dangerous array of sluggers that haven't even begun to hit on all cylinders but have scored 42 runs through their first seven games.

Meanwhile, Lynn ran into some tough luck in his first start Saturday, as he gave up a pair of unearned runs across 4.2 frames while recording six strikeouts against the Angels but exiting one out short of qualifying for the decision. The veteran right-hander doesn't have the best matchup on paper against a KC squad that's posted a .407 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season, but Lynn is 4-1 against the Royals the last two seasons in which he faced them (2018-19) and the White Sox were 36-27 (57.1 percent) at home last season while averaging 5.1 runs per game.

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
MLB Betting: Friday's Best Bets
MLB Betting: Friday's Best Bets
The Z Files: Maximum Exit Velocity, Minimum Value
The Z Files: Maximum Exit Velocity, Minimum Value
Fantasy Baseball Podcast: Ranking Two-Start Pitchers - Week 3!
Fantasy Baseball Podcast: Ranking Two-Start Pitchers - Week 3!
DraftKings MLB: Friday Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: Friday Breakdown
FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets
FanDuel MLB: Friday Targets
Video Shorts: Rules Changes in MLB: Robot Umpires, DH Restrictions , Defensive Shifts
Video Shorts: Rules Changes in MLB: Robot Umpires, DH Restrictions , Defensive Shifts