If you were not already in awe of oddsmakers’ ability to handicap games and get the best of bettors consistently, consider the following fact. Of the 727 MLB games played thus far, the difference between the number of overs and unders across the league is just three games. Therefore, while many people speak in absolute terms like strikeouts are at an all-time high, or the baseball is deadened, just know that the oddsmakers are tuned in to the average bettor’s thought process and are consistently using that thought process against them. Our followers are up over $1,000 if they wagered $100 on all of our bets this year. Knowing that the oddsmakers can get the best of us at any moment, we continue to stay in the fight and put in the research to give ourselves the best chance of staying on top.
For more on how the season-long MLB betting trends have played out to this point, take a look at this tweet from Dave Tuley.
VFV of #MLB: favorites went 7-5 Wednesday w/ Reds-Nationals no-action (suspended in 4th inning); biggest upset was Cardinals (+190 at White Sox) w/ other upsets by Astros, Angels, Tigers & Marlins; faves lead 392-311 (55.8%) w/ 25 PKs; Unders 8-3-1, take 354-351-22 lead @VSiNLive
— Dave Tuley (@ViewFromVegas) May 27, 2021
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Thursday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 64-48-3 (+10.74 units)
Detroit Tigers ML (+150)
Between 2019 and 2020, the Cleveland Indians had won 20 consecutive games over the Detroit Tigers. Now, not only are we advising the Tigers to win, but we are advising that they have value tonight despite facing Cleveland ace, Shane Bieber.
The Indians are 6-3 against the Tigers this season, but Detroit’s three wins have come at home. In fact, they beat the Indians and Bieber on Opening Day with the same pitcher opposing him today. Matthew Boyd (2-5, 3.08 ERA) held the Indians scoreless through 5.2 innings despite allowing four walks and three hits in that game. Boyd has been roughed up for nine earned runs in his last 11 innings. However, chalk up one of those rough starts to facing the Royals for the third time in less than a month, so their familiarity with Boyd’s arsenal likely got the best of him. Boyd has been great at home, posting a 2.20 ERA in five starts at Comerica Park as opposed to a 4.50 ERA in four road starts.
Shane Bieber (4-3, 3.32 ERA) has seen his strikeout total decline in each of his last five starts. He is allowing an uncharacteristic .337 OBA and has a 1.76 WHIP in four May starts. He has made the same amount of starts in day games and night games this season (five each), but his ERA during day games is 4.15 compared to 2.60 at night.
Boyd needs to be careful with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, who has three home runs and is slugging .571 in 40 career plate appearances against him. However, the rest of the current Indians have a total of seven extra-base hits in 90 combined plate appearances, so look for Boyd to once again tame the rest of Cleveland’s lineup while being extra careful with their slugger.
With the way Bieber has pitched of late, Boyd has some margin for error and does not necessarily have to match zeros with the reigning Cy Young Award winner. He has shown he can beat Bieber head-to-head before, and there is enough value in this line to suggest he can do it again.
Blue Jays-Yankees UNDER in Game 2 of Doubleheader (Odds not yet posted)
The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees each send left-handed starting pitchers to the mound tonight. That is good news for the under, as the under is 6-0 in Toronto’s last six road games against a lefty starter, and has also cashed the last four times the Yankees have faced a lefty.
Toronto’s Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.42 ERA) struggled with command early in the season, issuing nine walks through his first two starts. In the six starts since then, Ray has walked just one batter while striking out 49. That has helped him lower his WHIP from a season-high of 1.60 down to 1.08. He has allowed three runs or fewer in his four road starts, while going at least six innings in three of those starts. Ray has owned the current Yankees in his limited appearances against them, holding them to a .172 BA (5-for-27) and .310 slugging.
New York’s Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 4.07 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season. He held the high-scoring White Sox offense scoreless over seven innings, and struck out a career-high 11 batters. Montgomery has pitched to a 3.68 ERA in four May starts, which is more than a half-run better than the 4.39 ERA he finished April with. He loves pitching at Yankee Stadium, posting a 2.52 ERA in four home starts, and has a 2.12 ERA in night games compared to a 7.11 ERA in day games.
Not only does the under cash often when these teams face lefties, but the under has hit in seven of their last eight meetings. Look for another low-scoring battle tonight.
Arizona Diamondbacks Team Total UNDER 4.5 runs (-127)
Last week we rode Arizona’s team total to a pair of wins, and we are jumping back on that train today. The Diamondbacks have not scored more than two runs in ten of their last 14 games and have averaged just 2.57 runs per game in that span. Tonight, they face St. Louis’s Carlos Martinez, who is 3-4 with a 4.18 ERA on the season but has owned Arizona in his career.
Martinez is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 12 career appearances (six starts) against the Diamondbacks. Current Diamondbacks hitters are a combined 7-for-42 (.167 BA) and are slugging just .238 in 45 plate appearances against Martinez. This is Martinez’s second start since coming back off the IL, but he threw a quality start his last time out.
We are getting value on this high team total because of Martinez’s shaky numbers, but the Diamondbacks offense has been in too much of a rut for too long to take seriously.
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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.
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