The first two weeks of the MLB season have produced some intriguing highlights and some terrible lowlights. While teams like the Toronto Blue Jays have been major disappointments, the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros are among those that are off to excellent starts. Before we look ahead to our Thursday MLB betting picks, let’s look back to recap Wednesday’s card.
We had an uneven day as we ended up cashing our big chalk with the Houston Astros but losing two others. The Astros were laying a high number but they weren’t really challenged by the Los Angeles Angels. Dallas Keuchel pitched them to victory. However, we did lose with the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants, both of whom failed to score a single run. The Giants were shut out 2-0 by the Kansas City Royals while the Red Sox were shut out by the Toronto Blue Jays.
We’ll try to get back on the winning side of things with our MLB betting picks for Thursday. Here’s a look at what we’ve got.
Detroit Tigers @ Tampa Bay Rays
Thursday, 1:10 PM ET
The Tigers have jumped out to an early lead in the American League Central. While the Cleveland Indians are the sports betting favorites to win that division, there is reason to believe Detroit could contend for a division title. The Tigers offense has been relatively healthy and the pitching staff has been excellent early on. Daniel Norris is coming off an outstanding start in which he gave up just two hits over six innings while striking out five in a win over Cleveland. Norris will look to duplicate that performance against Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Rays will counter with Erasmo Ramirez, who will make his first start after five appearances out of the bullpen. Ramirez will be in tough against the Tigers offense. Detroit should have no problem picking up a win on the road with Norris on the bump. The Tigers are at +105, which seems like a reasonable price tag in this spot.
MLB Betting Pick: Detroit
Los Angeles Angels @ Houston Astros
Thursday, 2:10 PM ET
Houston is another team that has been excellent out of the gate. Like the Tigers, the Astros pitching has been their biggest strength. Lance McCullers Jr. is coming off his worst start of the season after giving up five earned runs against the Oakland Athletics. However, Houston improved to 3-0 when McCullers starts thanks to a strong performance from the offense. McCullers should bounce back with a better performance on Thursday against the struggling Angels. Los Angeles has been held to two runs or fewer in each of its last four losses, including a pair of shutouts. That is bad news for Matt Shoemaker, who won’t be able to count on run support when he brings his 6.14 ERA to the mound in Houston on Thursday. Take the Astros on the run line here. I laid a big price with Keuchel yesterday but I’ll lay the run line in this spot just in case McCullers has another bad outing. It won’t cost us as much.
MLB Betting Pick: Houston -1.5
Seattle Mariners @ Oakland Athletics
Thursday, 10:05 PM ET
If you want a sleeper pick to win the AL Cy Young award this season, Paxton might be a good bet. The 28-year-old has been absolutely dominant out of the gate with three straight wins and a perfect 0.00 ERA. In fact, Paxton has allowed just eight hits over his 21 innings of work for the Mariners against high-powered offenses from Houston and Texas. He’s been of the best April stories so far.
Now he gets the chance to add to his incredible start against an Oakland team that has struggled this season. Cesar Valdez will struggle to keep the Seattle offense in check. If Paxton throws another gem, this game could get ugly in a hurry.
At about -150, this is right on the border of what I’d like to lay, so I’ll take it. If it goes much higher, I’d stay away.
MLB Betting Pick: Seattle
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