MLB Thursday Betting Trifecta: Astros, Guardians, Mets

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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

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.
Betting odds for the Astros vs. Blue Jays Thursday, June 8 in the MLB from DraftKings.

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.

Astros lefty Framber Valdez delivers a pitch vs. the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Astros lefty Framber Valdez delivers a pitch vs. the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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.
Betting odds for the Red Sox vs. Guardians Thursday, June 8 in the MLB from DraftKings.
Betting odds for the Red Sox vs. Guardians Thursday, June 8 in the MLB from DraftKings.

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.

Guardians RHP Aaron Civale pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
Guardians RHP Aaron Civale pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Lauren Bacho/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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.
Betting odds for the Mets vs. Braves Thursday, June 8 in the MLB from DraftKings.

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.

Braves starter Spencer Strider pitches vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at Truist Park in Atlanta.
Braves starter Spencer Strider pitches vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

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


Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.


Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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