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Don’t look now but ya boy is heating up in the MLB. This week, I’m 6-2 in plays given out on OutKick Bets, adding +3.4 units (u) to my MLB betting balance. My 2023 record is 42-38 and my balance is just +1.25u.
But, hey, sports betting is a What have you done for me lately? business. Here’s a look at what, and why, I added to my gambling account in …
MLB’s Thursday Action
- Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Houston Astros (36-26) at Toronto Blue Jays (35-28)
- First pitch: 4:07 p.m. ET.
- Ballpark: Rogers Centre.
- Series: Blue Jays lead 2-1.
Fading Toronto righty starter Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.66 ERA) has definitely cost me money in 2023. What can I say? Berrios is overrated and I’m going back to the well Thursday with him on the bump.
Houston LHP Framber Valdez (6-4, 2.16 ERA) takes the mound and he’s tied with Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman for the 3rd-best odds to win the 2023 AL Cy Young (+750) at DraftKings.
Toronto struggles vs. left-handed pitching and Valdez has a reverse splits. Per FanGraphs, the Blue Jays are 21st in wRC+ (98) against lefties and 22nd in both wOBA (.310) and hard-hit rate (29.1%). They are 1-3 vs. lefty starters at home this year.
One through six in Toronto’s lineup are righties. Even though Valdez is a lefty, he’s tougher on righties. Valdez’s opposing OPS vs. right-handed hitters is .514 (.864 vs. lefties) and his K/BB rate is 5.6 (3.7 vs. lefties).
Valdez’s sinker is one of the most effective pitches in MLB and he ranks 19th in FanGraphs Stuff+. Also, Houston’s bullpen is 3rd in FIP (“fielding independent pitching”) and 9th in WAR. Toronto’s bullpen is 20th in FIP and 19th in WAR.
MLB BET #1: 1.15u on the Houston Astros (-120) moneyline at DraftKings
Boston Red Sox (31-31) at Cleveland Guardians (28-33)
- First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET.
- Ballpark: Progressive Field.
- Series: Tied 1-1.
Red Sox-Guardians meet in the rubber-match of their 3-game set. Boston won the series opener 5-4 Tuesday and Cleveland evened the set with a 5-2 victory Wednesday.
The Red Sox give the ball to LHP Matt Dermody who’s making his 2023 debut and has only pitched 2 MLB innings since 2017. Dermody pitched 1 inning for the Cubs in 2020 and another inning in 2022.
Cleveland counters with offspeed-throwing RHP Aaron Civale (1-1, 2.04 ERA) Thursday. Civale is in the 96th percentile for both fastball and curveball spin, according to MLB’s Statcast.
His 2.61 FIP supports his low ERA and Civale is a product of the Guardians’ farm system arm factory. Civale had a down-year in 2022 but has been nasty through three starts this year.
I’m buying stock in Civale while it’s low. Cleveland is 14-6 in Civale’s home starts and 4-2 since the beginning of last season. For the record, we are getting late to the party on the Guardians.
They opened as roughly -130 favorites but have been steamed up to the current odds (-140). Per VSIN, there’s more money on Cleveland than bets at DraftKings so this could be “sharp line movement”.
MLB BET #2: 1.4u on the Cleveland Guardians (-140) moneyline at DraftKings
New York Mets (30-32) at Atlanta Braves (37-24)
- First pitch: 4:20 p.m. ET.
- Ballpark: Truist Park.
- Series: Braves lead 2-0.
Last year’s AL Cy Young faces off with the 2023 NL Cy Young favorite in the Mets-Braves series finale. NYM 1st-year RHP Justin Verlander (2-3, 4.25 ERA) gets the ball Thursday to go up against Atlanta RHP Spencer Strider (6-2, 2.97 ERA).
NYM’s and Atlanta’s lineups are neck-and-neck in advanced hitting starts vs. right-handed pitching. Also, Strider has dominated every club in his two big-league seasons except for the Mets.
Strider is 2-1 in four starts vs. the Mets since 2022. But, he has a 5.19 ERA (10 ER over 17 1/3 IP) with a 25/9 K/BB rate in those outings. Plus, Strider has given up 5 HRs in his last four starts and has a 4.59 FIP over that span.
It’s been a rough start to the season for Verlander. His ERA is 2.25 higher than last year when he led MLB with a 1.75 ERA. But, the Mets +160 with Verlander on the bump trying to prevent a sweep is too juicy to pass up.
MLB BET #3: 1u on the New York Mets (+160) moneyline at DraftKings
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