We tried putting the Seattle Mariners in last week’s MLB picks, but the computers want the Minnesota Twins instead this Thursday.
In theory, a baseball game could take forever – or at least until the heat death of the universe. Most games in the real world are declared over after nine innings, sometimes even 8.5; whichever team is ahead at that point is the winner.
But are they the better team? Maybe the other guys would have won if a regulation baseball game were 12 innings, or five. This is why sharp bettors look at run differentials rather than win-loss records to help gauge a team’s true performance level.
It’s also why we had the Seattle Mariners in our baseball picks this past weekend. Sadly, the Mariners couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain, dropping two of three to the Detroit Tigers – and now the computers at OddsTrader are ready to cut bait.
- Twins +1.5 (-178) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Astros/Athletics Over 7.5 (-105) at BetRivers
- Padres/Blue Jays Under 9 (-110) at Bet365
Thursday, July 20, 2023 – 03:40 PM EDT at T-Mobile Park
The Mariners (45-49 ATS, minus-7.44 betting units at press time) looked like one of the better value picks on last week’s MLB odds board – and they might still be, judging by their plus-25 run differential. That production level is roughly the same as your average 50-44 team; Seattle was 47-47 SU heading into Wednesday’s action.
Things have changed this week. While the Tigers appeared ripe for some negative regression, the Twins (47-49 ATS, minus-1.17 units) have also performed at a higher level than their 49-47 SU record would indicate. Minnesota’s plus-38 run differential works out to an expected record of 53-43.
We can’t even point at Seattle’s 11-17 record in one-run games as evidence of their betting value in this spot. The Twins have been less fortunate at 11-18, although they have gone 8-4 in extra innings, while the Mariners have gone 4-8.
Anyway, top online sportsbooks project Seattle to win Thursday’s matchup by 4.3 runs to 3.7, so they’re “officially” recommending the M’s on the moneyline and the Twins on the run line. However, they didn’t take the vigorish into account; that’s our job, and we think Minnesota has more value for your MLB picks this time around.
It might be just a smidgeon. Two All-Star pitchers will take the mound Thursday, although one of them has outshone the other thus far:
- Pablo Lopez, MIN: 4.24 ERA, 3.53 xFIP
- George Kirby, SEA: 3.43 ERA, 3.77 xFIP
Here’s where Minnesota gets that extra hint of betting value. Earned Run Average isn’t as noisy a statistic as wins and losses, but it’s still one of those numbers that don’t do a very good job of evaluating pitching performance – not when compared to expected Fielder Independent Pitching. Let’s see if the advanced stats win out this Thursday.
MLB Pick: Twins +1.5 (-178) at Caesars Sportsbook
Thursday, July 20, 2023 – 09:40 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum
Any way you slice it, the Athletics (Over 50-41-5) haven’t gotten much performance from rookie southpaw Hogan Harris (6.51 ERA, 5.45 xFIP). Harris is the kind of “AAAA” starter that Oakland is relying on this year, perhaps to smooth their path to Las Vegas; the Over is 3-1 in the four games Harris has started, and 3-2 when he’s been brought in from the bullpen, usually in relief of an opener.
The Astros (Over 47-46-2) have a rookie of their own in right-hander J.P France (3.31 ERA, 4.59 xFIP), who has the Over at 7-5 this year despite his deceptively low ERA. The Over is an easy choice at BetRivers with the total at 7.5 (–105), and the OT computers pegging Houston to win 6.6 runs to 3.6; other online sportsbooks have the total at 8.5, which is still low enough for a slight lean and token bet size.
MLB Pick: Over 7.5 (-105) at BetRivers
Thursday, July 20, 2023 – 01:07 PM EDT at Rogers Centre
If Chris Bassitt (4.12 ERA, 4.37 xFIP) is pitching, we’re taking the Under. Bassitt has driven the Under to a 13-6-1 record for the Blue Jays (Under 48-42-5) this year; while there are times when batters can turn on his pedestrian 92-mph fastball, Bassitt has seven other pitches that he delivers in equally hypnotic fashion.
Blake Snell (2.71 ERA, 3.39 xFIP) is also pitching up a storm for San Diego (Under 50-40-5). The Under is 10-8-1 for the former American League Cy Young winner, and the OT computers say it will happen again Thursday when the Padres prevail 4.1 runs to 3.9.
Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken.
MLB Pick: Under 9 (-110) at Bet365