MLB Thursday best bets: Phillies to stay hot in Miami
With just eight games scheduled for Thursday - and only five after 7 p.m. ET - we're heading for a quiet night in the majors.
Let's take a look at the best ways to attack the slate.
I like their chances of extending the winning streak to six Thursday evening.
Like the Marlins themselves, Pablo Lopez is really struggling right now. He hasn't been as stout as we've grown accustomed to seeing, conceding at least four runs in five of his last 10 games.
Although he hasn't been quite as bad over the past month as his 6.69 ERA during that span, Lopez has still posted a 4.39 FIP. He's also struck out batters at a below-average clip and walked batters at an above-average rate.
This hot Phillies team is more than capable of exploiting Lopez's struggles. Philadelphia has smashed righties over the last three weeks, ranking fourth in wOBA and fourth in ISO during that stretch.
Noah Syndergaard isn't the pitcher he used to be, but he's still an effective arm. He should be able to neuter this putrid Marlins attack.
Thor has posted a respectable 3.81 FIP over the last month while allowing hard contact just over 20% of the time. Among Thursday's projected starters, only Lance McCullers Jr. has done a better job of suppressing hard-hit balls during that stretch.
Given that the Marlins rank 30th in wOBA, 30th in ISO, and 25th in hard-hit rate versus righties over the past three weeks, Syndergaard probably won't have too much trouble putting together a quality start.
Look for the Phillies to stay hot and pick up another victory.
Bet: Phillies (-125)
We're going with another hot hand here in the Houston Astros. They've won eight of 10, including four in a row, and are now drawing an Oakland Athletics team that ranks dead last in the American League.
Not only that, but Houston is drawing the Athletics after Oakland was forced to use 10 different arms across consecutive back-and-forth, high-scoring affairs. The A's bullpen won't exactly be fresh, which is bad news considering they're expected to trot out James Kaprielian.
Kaprielian, 28, has posted an 8.10 ERA and 5.36 FIP over the past 30 days. The righty has struggled to keep the ball down in that time, allowing fly balls at a nearly 60% clip.
That hardly seems like a recipe for success against an Astros team that features plenty of lethal power bats. Not to mention, Houston is also very good at generating fly balls. Only four teams have generated fly balls at a higher rate versus righties these past three weeks.
This is a very good spot for an offensive explosion by the Astros, and a bad one for the Athletics.
Oakland has hit better against righties of late - especially away from home - but McCullers isn't someone the A's want to run into.
He owns a 2.78 ERA over the last month, and, as mentioned, none of Thursday's starters have bested McCullers in terms of limiting hard contact during that period. He's also induced a lot of grounders.
Oakland is going to have a difficult time keeping up in this one.
Bet: Astros -1.5 (-135)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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