MLB Thursday best bets: Rays to feast on Liberatore, Cardinals

MLB Thursday best bets: Rays to feast on Liberatore, Cardinals

Wednesday was another good – but not perfect – night on the diamond. Both pitching props came through. However, despite blanking the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers were unable to earn themselves a lead through five innings.

Another 2-1 night pushes our weekly record to 4-2. We’ll aim to build on that with a pair of plays for Thursday night’s pint-sized card.

Cardinals (+160) @ Rays (-190)

The Rays appear to be turning a corner. They have won six of the past nine and their offense is heating up, plating 48 runs in that span – good for 5.33 per game.

The good times should continue against Matthew Liberatore and the Cardinals. Liberatore has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season, sporting an ERA upwards of 7.0 while moving in and out of the rotation.

Liberatore has made three starts since the beginning of July, and they were alarmingly bad. A whopping 27% of pitches thrown were put in play – indicating hitters really like what they see – and he tossed nearly as many balls as strikes.

Liberatore posted a .421 xwOBA and was knocked all around the park, allowing 18 hits and 12 runs in just over 10 innings of work.

It’s hard to believe that any MLB pitcher can fare so poorly, and there’s not really any reason to expect better against the Rays. His pitching profile is littered with red flags, and his numbers are drastically worse against right-handed batters.

Wander Franco (switch hitter) is the only player in Tampa’s projected lineup who could hit from the left side of the plate. Liberatore is going to see a steady stream of righties from an offense that is starting to regain its form. I don’t see that ending well for him.

The Rays should get to Liberatore early and often in this game – just as the Twins, Marlins, and Yankees have of late – and give themselves a nice cushion to work with.

Zack Littell has posted a .275 xwOBA and sky-high ground ball rate of 55% over his past four starts. So long as he can hold his own, the Rays should breeze through the first half of this game.

Bet: Rays F5 -0.5 (-130)

Matthew Liberatore under 14.5 outs

Surprise! We are going to double down with our fade of Liberatore, backing the Rays to chase him from the game before completing five innings.

Seemingly everything is stacked against Liberatore in this spot. He enters this game pitching horrifically bad, his opponent is heating up, the Rays are going to feed him nothing but righties (his wOBA is approaching .400 against them), and he has consistently been chased from games early.

Liberatore has completed five innings in just one of his past five starts and has done it in back-to-back outings only once this season.

It’s also worth noting the Rays are tied for fifth in wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. They hit lefties very well and chased Carlos Rodon after four innings just last week.

This is a good spot for them to make noise at the plate.

Odds: +105 (playable to -120)

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

Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.


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