MLB Computer Picks for May 18: Thursday Is Totals Day

Anthony Volpe New York Yankees Whit Merrifield Toronto Blue Jays
Anthony Volpe #11 of the New York Yankees slides safe into second in front of Whit Merrifield #15 of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cole Burston/Getty Images/AFP.

Yankees vs. Blue Jays: Under 9 (-105) at WynnBet

Picks Summary

  • Yankees vs. Blue Jays: Under 9 (-105) at WynnBet
  • Dodgers vs. Cardinals: Under 8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
  • Angels vs. Orioles: Over 8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

If it’s Thursday, we must be talking about totals. There’s not much else to choose from with only six games on the MLB odds board, but in what’s becoming a Travel Day tradition, the computers at OddsTrader have identified three totals that are worth at least a token bet – so let’s jump right in.

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Thursday, May 18, 2023 – 07:07 PM EDT at Rogers Centre

At first blush, it seems wrong to put the Under in your baseball picks when it’s the Yankees and Blue Jays, two of the best-hitting teams in the majors last year. But that was then, this is now: New York (Under 22-20-1 at press time) has fallen from second to No. 15 on the FanGraphs WAR charts, while Toronto (20-20-2 Totals) is down from fifth to No. 11.

The stadium changes at Rogers Centre also haven’t led to the expected rise in scoring up North – at least not according to the park factors for runs at Baseball Savant:

  • 2023: 85 (No. 27)
  • 2022: 100 (No. 13)
  • 2021: 88 (No. 26)

This is a small sample size of 17 home games for Toronto this year, but the Under is 10-6-1 in those games, and the computers at OddsTrader have the Yankees winning Thursday’s tilt 4.9 runs to 3.8, which seems reasonable at 8.7 combined runs if a bit generous towards the visitors.

The outcome will be riding on Toronto starter Jose Berrios (3.59 xFIP), who has shown definite signs of improvement after a shaky 2022 campaign. The Over is still 4-2-2 in his eight starts, but the Under is 2-0-1 at home for Berrios, with just three earned runs allowed in 17.2 innings combined.

Delivering the junk for New York is Nestor Cortes (5.16 xFIP), although he doesn’t seem to be baffling hitters as much these days; the Over is 7-1 in eight starts for Cortes, and he was rocked for six earned runs in his most recent outing versus the Tampa Bay Rays – which the Yankees still won 9-8 (Over 8).

It’s a bit chilly in Toronto right now, with temperatures in the low 50s expected on Thursday under partly cloudy skies; they might close the roof at Rogers Centre like they were reportedly planning to for Wednesday night’s contest, so you might want to wait until game day for that information before betting.

MLB Pick: Under 9 (-105) at WynnBet

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday, May 18, 2023 – 07:45 PM EDT at Busch Stadium

The conditions for Thursday’s matchup between the Dodgers (Over 22-20-1) and Cardinals (Over 22-20-1) couldn’t be much different. There’s nothing wrong with the bats on either of these teams; Los Angeles ranks fourth in hitting WAR at FanGraphs, and St. Louis is close behind in fifth.

There’s also no retractable roof at Busch Stadium (117 park factor for runs in 2023) to worry about, although it would presumably be open Thursday night with a high of 80 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Light crosswinds blowing from first to third shouldn’t have much impact on scoring either.

The pitching matchup, on the other hand, sees Julio Urias (3.68 xFIP) taking the hill for L.A. opposite Adam Wainwright (4.41 xFIP) in a lefty-righty battle. The Over is a combined 6-5 for these two accomplished starters, but the OT computers like the Dodgers to win 3.9 runs to 3.7, so we’ve got some wiggle room at 8.5 runs for good measure.

MLB Pick: Under 8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

Los Angeles Angels vs. Baltimore Orioles

Thursday, May 18, 2023 – 12:35 PM EDT at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

To be precise, our computer overlords say this game is a pick’em as we go to press, but that’s with the total at nine runs, and the Orioles winning 4.9 to 4.1. It’s at least a slight lean for the Over now that the total has dipped to 8.5 on the MLB lines at Caesars Sportsbook.

Camden Yards hasn’t seen a lot of scoring in 2023. Baseball Savant has this stadium second to last in park factor for runs this year at 81, nestled between Rogers Centre and the truly awful Oakland Coliseum (76).

That number may rise along with the temperatures in Baltimore, which should reach the low 60s for this game with sunny skies in the forecast and light crosswinds from third to first. Plus, it’s Tyler Anderson (6.05 xFIP) trying to right the ship for the Orioles against Tyler Wells (4.42 xFIP), whose 2.68 ERA for the Angels is fueled by a tiny .145 BABIP against. Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken.

MLB Pick: Over 8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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