MLB Thursday best bets: Braves to crush Wainwright, Cardinals

MLB Thursday best bets: Braves to crush Wainwright, Cardinals

We had a nice bounce-back day on Wednesday, going 2-1 with our best bets. Logan Gilbert mowed his way through the Reds‘ lineup, striking out nine along the way. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to complete a full six innings and get us the sweep.

At any rate, profit is profit. We’ll look to build on it with three more plays for Thursday’s card.

Cardinals (+270) @ Braves (-330)

This game has the potential to get ugly in a hurry for the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright is far below a replacement-level starter and, based on what he’s bringing to the table in the here and now, has no business being part of a major-league rotation.

He has given up at least three earned runs in all but three starts this year. He has conceded at least four runs in seven of his past 10. Taking things a step further, Wainwright has allowed six runs or more in five of the last 10. He is a gas can who can’t slow down the weakest of offenses, let alone the most powerful one we’ve seen in recent memory.

Wainwright has struck out only 7% of opposing batters over the last month. His xwOBA is a hair under .400 in that span, which is astronomically high.

He doesn’t have punch-out power, nor the ability to induce weak contact. There is no path to slowing down this Braves offense beyond extreme batted ball luck, which is unlikely to work in his favor given how good the contact should be off the bat.

This is a spot where the Braves – frustrated from three straight losses – should be able to tear the cover off the ball and pack the bases full from start to finish.

Max Fried is sporting a 2.52 ERA through 11 games and has blanked opponents in five of them. The Cardinals should struggle mightily to keep up offensively and generate anything close to the volume Wainwright gives the Braves.

Expect the Braves to lead by multiple runs at the midway point.

Bet: Braves F5 -1.5 (-115)

Adam Wainwright over 1.5 walks

Wainwright is a walk machine. He has issued at least two free passes in almost 70% of his starts this season and seven of the past nine overall.

He has actually walked three batters twice as many times as he has gone under the number over the past nine. All the underlying numbers in his profile indicate that this is no coincidence.

Excluding balls put in play, 55% of his pitches in the past month were balls. He is legitimately more likely to miss the plate than hit it right now.

The Braves have unmatched team power and like to use it. However, don’t let their gaudy homer numbers fool you. They are patient and draw walks at a healthy rate.

It’s also worth noting Wainwright’s walk rate is a lot higher against lefties. The Braves have plenty to throw at him in Matt Olson, Eddie Rosario, Michael Harris, and, at times, Ozzie Albies (switch hitter).

Look for Wainwright to walk multiple batters for the eighth time in his last 10 starts.

Odds: -120 (playable to -135)

Carlos Rodón over 15.5 outs

Rodón has only hit this number once over the past five games, but strength of schedule played a big factor in that.

Rodón had to square off against the Astros and Rays twice during that period.

The Astros smash lefties, ranking third in xwOBA against them this season despite dealing with plenty of injuries to key hitters throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the Rays have plated 19 earned runs over the last seven against left-handed starters. That’s a healthy amount of damage considering only two of them lasted five innings.

Rodón managed to enjoy plenty of success against the Nationals, a clear step down in competition. He completed six full innings while conceding only one run.

His profile is a lot more encouraging than it was a month ago. He is throwing strikes at a much higher rate, and his xwOBA of .295 is very solid.

The Tigers are a lot closer to the Nationals than the Astros, and I expect Rodón’s performance to reflect that. Look for him to pitch into the sixth inning, even if he doesn’t complete it.

Odds: +125 (playable to -110)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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