MLB Thursday best bets: Astros to take finale vs. Blue Jays
Wednesday night was another successful one on the diamond. We hit the over in Cincinnati within three innings and split our player props, giving us a 2-1 record for the night and moving us to 7-2 on the week.
We'll look to keep the ball rolling in the right direction with two more plays for Thursday's small night card.
I like them to rebound in the series finale Thursday night. Although Jose Berrios deserves credit for bouncing back and giving the Jays mostly reliable, consistent pitching through the first couple months of the season, this is a spot where I can see him getting into trouble.
As impressive as his recent string of results is, Berrios has been aided by luck. His 2.03 ERA the past month does not at all align with his 4.35 FIP. He has simply been very good - unsustainably so! - at getting out of jams and stranding runners. Nearly 93% of the batters he's allowed to reach base over the past month have not crossed home plate.
That number is going to come down sooner rather than later. Despite their struggles at the dish the last few days (mostly without Jose Altuve), the Astros' offense has been very dangerous of late. Houston slots eighth in wOBA and third in ISO against righties over the past few weeks. They've looked a lot more like the Astros of old.
I don't think it'll be a free-for-all, but I do like them to plate a few runs against Berrios. If that happens, they should be well on their way to victory with Framber Valdez on the mound.
Valdez owns a 2.38 FIP the past 30 days and has struck out nearly 30% of opposing batters while walking only 4.6%. His run of success should continue against a Blue Jays squad that's very good against right-handed pitching but not lefties. In fact, the Jays rank dead last in wOBA versus left-handers since the beginning of May.
Valdez should be able to neutralize their attack and help lead the Astros to a win in the series finale.
Bet: Astros (-120)
Alex Verdugo under 1.5 total bases (-130)
Verdugo is one of the most productive hitters in the league on home soil. The Red Sox outfielder is hitting .331 with a .410 wOBA and 17 extra base hits. He has recorded two total bases or more in 18 of 31 games in Boston, good for a 58% success rate.
His numbers are dramatically worse on the road: He's hitting .229 with a wOBA of .287. He has recorded just seven extra base hits and struggled mightily to pile up the bases.
Verdugo has gone over this number only eight times through 28 road games, which is a 29% clip. That's half of what he has managed at home.
Aaron Civale has pitched pretty well for the Guardians this season (albeit in a small sample), allowing only four runs in three starts and holding opponents to four hits or fewer in two of them.
With Verdugo going from one of the most hitter-friendly environments (Boston) to one of the least (Cleveland), I don't expect him to make much noise at the dish.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.