It’s “Total Thursday” here at The Action Network. There are eight games on the MLB roster and our experts have found it worth betting on three of them – all targeting some form of aggregate.
We have a game, of course, the total of the full matches, but we also play on the team total and the sum of the first five runs.
MLB Odds and Choices
Chicago White Sox vs Cleveland Guardians
DJ James: The MLS Central race and Thursday’s game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians is important to both teams. Lance Lynn will pitch to the White Sox and call Cleveland Hunter Gaddis for an immediate start.
Lynn has been flat all year and owns a 4.07 ERA with a 3.67 xERA. He ranks in the top 40% of the MLB in average exit speed and in the 99th percentile in walking rate. In the second half it’s as good as a player can get with 2.05 ERA and 0.80 WHIP.
Jadis is an above-average boxer who struggles for control at times. Fortunately for him, he’s up against the second-to-last White Sox on the Chase Rate and walk this season. Given that only a few Chicago hitters have recently outperformed the right-wingers, Jadis shouldn’t allow too much damage.
Cleveland has only three hitters above 0.325 xwOBA from the right since August 15. They sunk their way to victory, but most of that is a testament to the power of the shot. Nobody in this lineup has an average exit speed higher than 90 mph during this time frame. Lynn just needs to avoid the big bats in the middle at Jose Ramirez, Josh Naylor and Oscar Gonzalez.
In addition to issuing walking tours, Jadis also has trouble keeping the ball on the ground. In AA and AAA, his globe average has been hovering around 25%. This is not ideal when facing hitters like Eloy Jiménez and José Abreu. However, these two and Lewis Robert are the only Sox hitters to outperform .325 xwOBA.
Even if Gaddis plays as a two-round opener, the Guardians are one of the best baseball games in the game. They have 3.28 xFIP with five arms less than 4.00 xFIP.
Neither of these two teams hit the right hand very well. Both have had less than 100 wRC+ in the last month. Lynn will look like a seasoned warrior and Jadis might even surprise some of the Sox hitters.
Miami Marlins vs Philadelphia Phillies
DJ James: The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the best teams hitting the right pitch lately. In fact, for the past month, the Phillies have had a wRC+117 team with .781 OPS. Noah Sendergaard will start against Pablo Lopez and the Miami Marlins.
López has slipped a bit lately and has a 4.04 ERA with a 4.08 xERA. Notably, Lopez had a 6.52 ERA in the second half of the season. It ranked average exit velocity and severe infection rate among the middle of the group. Almost everyone in the Phillies lineup has 0.300 xwOBA or higher. This at least means that they can collect powerful appearances for the board.
Al Philly chases more than average, and this is one of Lopez’s best traits. If Philadelphia can avoid pursuit, the Phillies’ fighters will find their way to the base.
Finally, the Marlins has a Bullpen xFIP of 4.14, which ranks 21st in baseball. Velez will have many scoring chances, even when Lopez is out of this game. Look for Philadelphia to put in some early hits to the right, then follow up more as the game progresses.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs New York Mets
Colin Church: It’s hard to find valuable underdogs at this time of year. Several teams have packed for the season playing the Novices and Quad-A types, and just waiting off season. The Buccaneers are definitely one of those teams, which is why I can’t justify supporting one of my favorite shooters – JT Brubaker – despite what seems like an attractive number.
That’s because Pittsburgh’s offense has been rotten all season. You might look at the recent stretch of good results and think there’s some inspiring play to be found, but consider me unconvinced because most of it came against the miserable Cincinnati Show crew.
While I don’t trust the Buccaneers’ attack against Carlos Carrasco, I have plenty in Brubaker, who has only participated twice since the beginning of July, giving up more than three checkers – against Velez and Braves.
His 4.36 ERA is backed by 3.87 xFIP, and he can consistently miss bat while limiting hard contact and long ball. Finally, love it to reduce the damage done to New York crime while the Pittsburgh hitters continue to run away.