This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
RotoWire Record: 5-6, -1.79 units
Favorites and unders continue to hit at profitable clips, and we are already seeing some separation between teams. Thursday's card is interesting in that there is little familiarity between pitchers and opponents, outside of the Dodgers, who have historically shelled Zack Wheeler (more on that in a bit). Let's dive in.
All lines from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Mets at Nationals (+134)
My initial thought when evaluating this game was to look at the first five innings, but I'm going to go with the full game moneyline play with a better payout as I think the Nats are up to the task. Washington starter Joan Adon has gotten progressively better this season while the current Nats lineup has teed off on Mets starter Taijuan Walker historically, hitting .375 as a team with an OPS of 1.096. If Adon can navigate around Mets slugger Pete Alonso, I like the Nationals' chances as a dog.
Astros first 5 inings (+112) at Twins
Twins starter Josh Winder has been ridiculously good in his first two starts, but those results might be a bit misleading given the competition. Houston starter Luis Garcia has been a rock in the Astros' rotation since last year and has fared well in his career against Minnesota. Houston is the superior team, and I'm targeting the first five innings largely because of the completion of Wednesday's suspended game potentially depleting the bullpens for this one. We are getting plus money on the better team with the more proven starter ... yeah, we'll take that.
Reds at Pirates - under 8 (-110)
Yes, the Reds are almost an auto-under play at this point, but this selection goes beyond that obvious angle. Both starters (Connor Overton for the Reds and JT Brubaker for the Pirates) have done well against each other's respective teams in their careers. Overton has held Pittsburgh to a .222 team average and .500 OPS while Brubaker has been extremely impressive against Cincy, holding the Reds to a .190 team average and .575 OPS in 42 at-bats. This is the opener of a four-game series between these NL Central rivals, and I like both starters to set the tone with sharp performances.
Phillies at Dodgers first 5 innings (+110)
As mentioned, current Dodgers have shelled Philly starter Zack Wheeler in his career. In 135 at-bats, Wheeler has given up nine home runs and allowed a .341 average and 1.021 OPS. With those kind of numbers backing one of the best teams in baseball, I'll jump on plus money every time.