Photo courtesy of Nathan Denette | Canadian Press via AP
MLB has a 13-game slate set for Thursday, with the action starting early between the Milwaukee Brewers at the Pittsburgh Pirates at 12:35 p.m. ET. The final game of the evening will be the Boston Red Sox at the Kansas City Royals with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Aug. 3 Results: 7-2
Note: Odds via DraftKings.
12:35 p.m. ET Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates
Probable pitchers: Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff / Pirates RHP Zach Thompson
We open with the earliest game on the slate as the Brewers and Pirates complete a three-game set. Milwaukee opens as a heavy -245 road favorite and the Pirates are +205 underdogs while the game total is set at eight.
The Play: Brewers – F5 -0.5 (-160), Game Total – Over 8 (-110)
Why: The Pirates beat the Brewers in the first two games 5-3 and 8-7. Woodruff is entering play with a 3.55 ERA on the year but owns a 2.31 ERA over his past seven outings. He looks better on the road too with a 1.95 ERA across 23 innings in his last four road appearances while allowing one run or fewer in five of his last seven appearances. Meanwhile, Thompson owns a 5.09 ERA over 81.1 innings and sports a 5.70 ERA over his last seven games. He has given up seven runs in back-to-back appearances and owns a 5.51 ERA in 10 home games this season.
The Brewers are 51-45-7 (4th) on the over/under, while the Pirates are 42-53-8 (26th) in the same category. Woodruff hasn’t pitched past the seventh this season and I think the Milwaukee bullpen is prone to give up a few runs. The pair have already gone 1-0-1 in the first two games, so I expect the over to cash.
The Prop: First Innings Runs Scored – Under 0.5 (-110)
Why: Runs will be scored, just probably not in the first inning. The Pirates likely won’t get to Woodruff, while Thompson hasn’t allowed a run in the first inning in four of his five July starts.
4:07 p.m. ET Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Probable pitchers: Athletics RHP Paul Blackburn / Angels RHP Janson Junk
The Angels and A’s are wrapping up a three game set and it hasn’t been pretty between these two clubs. Los Angeles is a slight home favorite at -120 and the Athletics are +100, while the game total is set at eight.
The Play: Athletics, F5 +0.5 (+120), Game Total – Under 8 (-110)
Why: When two bad teams play each other, what happens? The under hits, that’s what. Each team sits in the bottom five in over/under rankings, as the A’s are 41-57-7 and the Angels are 43-53-7. LA hit the under in four of its last six, and Oakland has gone 1-4-1.
Blackburn (4.15 ERA) has been much better on the road this season, pitching to a 1.74 ERA in 12 road appearances. Meanwhile, Junk pitched well against Kansas City on July 27, going five shutout innings with eight strikeouts. I have a feeling this could be a low scoring game in the first half, and if Oakland can take a lead or keep it tied we get some pretty nice plus odds.
The Prop: Game Total Hits – Under 15.5 (-110)
Why: The first two games came close with 14 hits each, and neither team is particularly scary at the plate despite sending somewhat decent arms to the mound. Oakland is ranked dead last with a .215 team batting average, and the Angels aren’t too far behind with a .229 avg.
4:10 p.m. ET Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
Probable pitchers: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland / Padres RHP Joe Musgrove
This is a pretty obvious play, right? The powerhouse Padres are sending their home-town ace to the bump to battle the last place Rockies. The Padres are huge -295 favorites and the Rockies opened at +245 underdogs while the game total is set at 7.5.
The Play: Padres -1.5 (-130), -2.5 (+120), Game Total – Over 7.5 (-115)
Why: So the Padres have one of the most fearsome lineups right now and that’s without Fernando Tatís Jr. In the first look of a new and improved lineup last night, San Diego scored nine runs in the first five innings. Why take the moneyline when you can take the game lines at better odds? San Diego is 17th on the line (52-54) and should easily take advantage of Freeland and his 4.63 ERA.
As for the game total, it is way too low. The Padres have gone over this number themselves in two of the three games between these clubs so far. Now the Padres are sending Musgrove to the bump, who has a 2.65 season ERA, but sports a 4.57 ERA over his last seven games.
The Prop: Padres – Team Total Over 4.5 Runs
Why: Someone has to score the runs to hit the game total and it certainly won’t be the Rockies. San Diego put up a five spot in yesterday’s game, they can do it again in nine innings today.
7:10 p.m. ET Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
Probable pitchers: Astros RHP Justin Verlander / Guardians RHP Zach Plesac
This play doesn’t need much explaining even if you just slightly pay attention to baseball, so I’ll keep it short. The Astros are -200 road favorites and the Guardians are +170 home puppies with the game line set at 7.5.
The Play: Astros -1.5 (-115)
Why: Astros will likely win by sending Verlander to the bump, who is considered an AL Cy Young candidate. A moneyline play wouldn’t be bad in a parlay, but why take -200 odds when you can get them at -115? Verlander simply doesn’t allow runs. He has a 1.81 ERA in 19 starts and a 1.59 ERA in his last seven. He also works deep into games, going seven-plus innings in four of his last six appearances. Houston scores 4.42 runs per game, which should be more than enough to cover the run line with Verlander on the bump.
The Prop: Verlander – Under 7.5 strikeouts (TBD)
Why: I don’t know what the strikeout total will be, but I would consider looking at an under. Verlander always gets high K props, and rightfully so. He has hit the over 7.5 number in three of his last five starts. The Guardians also strikeout the least with a 7.06 mark.
7:40 p.m. ET Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins
Probable pitchers: Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah / Twins RHP Sonny Gray
Blue Jays fans, take a deep breath. Manoah avoided serious injury and is back on the mound. The Blue Jays will open as -125 road favorites and the Twins are +105 home underdogs while the game line is set at eight.
The Play: Blue Jays -1.5 (+145), ML (-125)
Why: Oh joy, another game line. How original. Well this line is different because we are getting great plus odds with a (maybe?) surging Blue Jays team. Manoah left his last game early after getting hit on the elbow with a comebacker, but he is cleared to pitcher and is no longer listed day-to-day. My rule of thumb is just take the spread when Manoah pitches and good things will happen, even though Toronto is only hitting at a 40% clip when listed as favorites. On a positive note, the Blue Jays have hit the line in three of their last five games.
The moneyline isn’t a bad play at -125 with Manoah since Gray and the Twins have been somewhat decent this season.
The Prop: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Over 1.5 Total Bases (TBD)
Why: Vladdy is on a 14-game hit streak and has collected over 1.5 total bases in nine of those games. Gray’s hard-hit percentage is in the 35th percentile, so expect Vladdy to make some solid contact. Vladdy hasn’t homered in seven days either so maybe take a look at the home run prop when it opens.