MLB plays of the day: Buy Chatwood's brilliant start
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We split once again Wednesday, cashing on the best trend in baseball but falling victim to a surprise showing from Red Sox bats. We're back with two more picks Thursday, including one that'll be familiar to returning bettors.

Chicago Cubs (-170) at Kansas City Royals (+150)

Starting pitchers: Tyler Chatwood (2-0, 0.71 ERA) vs. Brad Keller (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Few pitchers are dealing like Chatwood, who ranks third among qualified starters in FIP (0.94) and K/9 (13.5) and has fanned at least eight batters in each of his two starts this year. That's especially encouraging given his career profile as a ground-ball pitcher who struggles to miss bats.

The 30-year-old has long flashed this type of upside, but control issues have plagued him for nearly his entire career. A 19-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggests those concerns are gone, leaving behind a pitcher with great velocity and a filthy arsenal. He's relied heavily this year on a combo of a mid-90s sinker and a refined cutter - the latter boasting a devastating 52.9% putaway rate and serving as Chatwood's much-needed answer to his woes against left-handed hitting.

On the opposite side is Keller, who's slated for his first start this year after missing two starts and much of Royals camp due to a positive COVID-19 test. He'll make his debut against a scorching Cubs lineup that ranks third in OPS (.792) and wOBA (.347) with strong contact rates to support it.

Bettors may want to avoid a full-game bet because of Chicago's bullpen, which is dead last in ERA (7.64) and FIP (7.33) through the first two weeks. But as long as Chatwood is on the mound, this one is a no-brainer.

Pick: Cubs first five innings (-148)

Cincinnati Reds (+100) at Cleveland Indians (-120)

Starting pitchers: Luis Castillo (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 3.75 ERA)

We're going back to the well for what could end up being the best trend of this short baseball season. The Indians have now gone under in 12 of 13 games this year behind a stellar rotation and inept offense, and their No. 3 starter takes the mound Thursday in a quintessential pitchers' duel.

Carrasco entered the year with workload concerns after missing nearly all of 2019, but he's gone six innings in both starts this year with a combined 15 strikeouts and two walks. He held the potent Twins offense to three runs Saturday and should feast on a Reds lineup that has mustered five runs in three games against Cleveland this week.

Castillo's basic stats aren't as impressive as Carrasco's, but his 0.66 FIP - the best of any starter with at least six innings pitched - suggests how well he's actually been performing this year. The 2019 All-Star is generating more whiffs than ever on his fastball and changeup, his two main offerings, and his strikeout rate (33.3%) and walk rate (3.9%) are both career highs.

It's a bit hard to believe this total isn't lower, especially with two ace-level arms on the mound, so bet it while you can. If this under trend continues, you may not be able to for long.

Pick: Under 8 (-115)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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MLB plays of the day: Buy Chatwood's brilliant start
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