Heading into the weekend with baseball on your mind? Let’s get in on the action!
We are off to a 17-9 start to the season–and 15 of those wins paid plus-money.
You can also follow my picks on SharpRank throughout the season. Accountability is key, and SharpRank keeps a record of all picks alongside our current rankings among other betting professionals.
- Moneyline: Yankees (-125) | Rays (+105)
- Spread: Yankees -1.5 (+138) | Rays +1.5 (-163)
- Total: 7.5 Under (-118) | Over (+100)
Nestor Cortes (3-1, 1.80 ERA) gets the ball for New York. As you’ve heard, Nestor is nasty. Statcast says his expected batting average against is .198 and he’s striking batters out at a 32.4% clip.
For the Rays, Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, 4.20 ERA) gets the … “open.” Yarbrough hasn’t been as strong this season, but he still should keep the Rays in this game. He doesn’t allow a lot of hard contact, and he’s getting the Yankees at an ideal time.
Giancarlo Stanton has hit the IL and DJ LeMahieu has been dealing with a wrist injury. Aaron Judge has not hit a home run against Yarbrough in 14 plate appearances.
Players to watch
Harold Ramirez is hitting .367 versus lefties this year and has a 52.7% hard-hit rate.
The Rays are at home, and the Yankees’ offense has only scored 3.86 runs per game across the last week while the Rays have scored 5.4. I’ll take the plus-money odds for a .605 team looking to gain ground in a low-scoring affair.
BETS: Rays ML (+105); Under 7.5 (-118)
- Moneyline: Tigers (-143) | Guardians (+120)
- Spread: Tigers -1.5 (+145) | Guardians +1.5 (-175)
- Total: 7.5 Under (-138) | Over (+115)
Skubal has been fantastic for Detroit this season, striking batters out at a rate of more than 10 per nine innings and not surrendering the long ball. He’s yielded only two home runs this year. Hitters are batting only .231 against him, and Statcast says that number should be even lower at .224. He took a no-decision last week when these two met up, going five innings with four hits, no walks and five strikeouts.
The Guardians have cooled after their hot start and are batting .242— the 12th-best mark in the league—though their K rate remains elite at 19.7%, the third-best mark in the league. However, across the past two weeks, they have slowed offensively, batting only .201 with a .337 slugging percentage, among the bottom four in the league.
On the other side of this game, Pilkington will get the start now that Aaron Civale has hit the IL. The southpaw has worked mostly out of the bullpen this year, but started versus the Jays last week and went 3 ⅓ innings, allowing four hits and two runs.
Pilkington walks too many guys, but he also strikes them out at a rate of more than 11 per nine. Detroit has a strikeout rate of mroe than 24%.
The Tigers have allowed just 2.4 runs per game over the last two weeks. They’re scoring only 2.19 runs per game versus southpaws.
The Guardians have scored just 3.6 runs per game over the last two weeks. As a team, they are batting .210 vs left-handed pitching.
Players to watch:
Skubal has a 6.25 K/BB rate and has surrendered only .4 home runs per nine this year.
Andres Gimenez is hitting .316 vs. left-handed pitching this year.
Jose Ramirez has three homers versus southpaws this season.
So, how does this all add up? Under 7.5. The Detroit bullpen is strong with the second-lowest ERA in the league and Cleveland’s bullpen should keep it in the game.
BET: Under 7.5 (-138)
- Moneyline: Rangers (+100) | A’s (-118)
- Spread: Rangers +1.5 (-213) | A’s -1.5 (+175)
- Total: 6.5-Over (-125) | Under (+105)
Texas sends Martin Perez (3-2, 1.64 ERA) to the bump. Martin Perez continues to have the best season of his career, limiting hard contact and inducing the ground ball. He’s coming off a complete game shutout versus the Astros in which he allowed eight hits while walking only one batters. It seems like eventually his luck should run out, but I’m not sure it’s Thursday night versus the weak-hitting A’s.
Frankie Montas (2-4, 3.55 ERA) starts for Oakland. Montas has been strong this season for the A’s, allowing an average of only 1.07 HR/9 while striking batters out at a rate of nearly ten per nine innings.
Both teams are offensively among the worst in the league, but the Rangers have the edge as of late. Texas has hit 19 home runs across the past two weeks. I’ll gamble that Perez pulls off one more miracle, and take the even money on Texas.
Players to watch:
Kole Calhoun is hitting .389 with two homers verus Montas in 18 career at bats. Calhoun has hit all seven of his home runs in May, and went 3-4 Wednesday night, including a two-run homer in the Texas win.
BETS: Rangers (+100); Kole Calhoun HR (+375)
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