Blue Jays vs. Red Sox: Red Sox +1.5 (-130) at Bet365
- Blue Jays vs. Red Sox: Red Sox +1.5 (-130) at Bet365
- Angels vs. Cardinals: Under 8.5 (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Mariners vs. Athletics: Over 8.5 (+100) at Caesars Sportsbook
Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball – and you use computers to tell you who’s going to win. As far as Thursday’s games are concerned, there’s one team, in particular, you should put in your MLB picks, and it’s one of the most popular (and hated) teams in all of baseball.
Thursday, May 04, 2023 – 06:10 PM EDT at Fenway Park
Red Sox Exceed Expectations
This was supposed to be a lost season for the Red Sox, but here they are one month into the 2023 regular season with a 17-14 record. That’s only good enough for fourth place in the ultra-tough American League East, but it’s also way better than expected, netting Boston supporters 3.38 betting units thus far.
The Sox have also gotten the jump on Toronto (18-12, plus-1.58 units) in this four-game series at Fenway, taking the first two games by scores of 6-5 and 7-6. The computers at OddsTrader have Toronto winning Thursday’s finale 6 runs to 4.7, but that leaves just enough room to take the Sox at +1.5 on the run line.
Boston’s hitting has been remarkably good this year, ranking sixth overall on the FanGraphs WAR charts at press time, although they’ll be tested Thursday by Kevin Gausman (2.48 xFIP), who’s pitched lights-out for Toronto this year.
Despite Gausman’s efforts and his 4-2 team record, the Jays are down 0.02 betting units in his six starts – and two of those games were won in extra innings. Toronto’s bullpen has been surprisingly poor this year at No. 21 on the WAR charts; spotting the Red Sox 1.5 runs will help us take advantage.
With any luck, so will Brayan Bello (3.78 lifetime xFIP), who will make just his 14th big-league start this Thursday. Bello gets another spot start while James Paxton (hamstring) and Garrett Whitlock (elbow) get healthy; he’s backed up by the No. 9-ranked bullpen in the majors according to WAR.
Relief pitching is one of the keys to success when you’re making your baseball picks. Most bettors don’t pay attention to the firemen, even with their roles getting more important as starters increasingly get the early hook.
MLB Pick: Red Sox +1.5 (-130) at Bet365
Thursday, May 04, 2023 – 01:15 PM EDT at Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium Not Run-Friendly
Switching to the totals, we’ve got a viable Under bet for Thursday’s tilt between the Angels (Under 16-13-1) and Cardinals (Under 17-12-1), with the computers projecting St. Louis to prevail 4.5 runs to 3.5 at their home park.
Busch Stadium – the third iteration of this building – isn’t known for run production. Baseball Savant has assigned this venue a park factor of 90 for runs (No. 26 overall) dating back to 2021; Thursday’s weather calls for temperatures in the low 70s and light winds blowing across the diamond, so that shouldn’t impact our wager too much.
Canning and Flaherty Take the Mound
The important thing here is that Shohei Ohtani isn’t pitching for L.A. Instead, Griffin Canning (4.45 xFIP) is due to take the mound opposite Jack Flaherty (4.99 xFIP), and while Canning drove the Under to the pay window in each of his three starts, it was the No. 12-ranked St. Louis bullpen that did most of the heavy lifting.
Flaherty has split his totals 3-3 thus far, but he’s fallen apart after a strong start to the 2023 campaign, and current Angels have a combined .715 OPS off the veteran northpaw, including 2-for-3 with two homers for Anthony Rendon (2.133 OPS). This could get ugly, folks.
MLB Pick: Under 8.5 (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook
Thursday, May 04, 2023 – 03:37 PM EDT at Oakland Coliseum
Once more unto the Over breach with the Mariners (Under 15-14) and the A’s (Over 19-10-1). We had the same two teams in Wednesday’s picks; the logic behind this wager hasn’t changed, and neither have the computers, which like Seattle to win 5.5 runs to 3.3 this time.
Kirby vs. Rucinski
The key difference here is with the starting pitchers, although the dynamic is roughly the same, with George Kirby (3.90 xFIP) as the young stud for Seattle and Drew Rucinski (4.84 lifetime xFIP) as Oakland’s sacrificial lamb.
Rucinski is making his second spot start for Oakland since coming over from the Korean KBO League in the offseason, having spent four years there with the NC Dinos after failing to catch on in the majors. Bet accordingly.
MLB Pick: Over 8.5 (+100) at Caesars Sportsbook