This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
The bookmakers have adjusted the over/unders since the start of the season. Early in the season, some totals were slightly inflated, likely due to an adjustment for the designated hitter in the National League. You will have to hunt for bargains elsewhere now; all 13 games Thursday have over/unders of 8.5 runs or lower.
With so many games in the afternoon, this article will focus on early games. I will also attempt to sprinkle in some bonus bets, usually longshot wagers, in the section titled "Swing for the Fences." All times EDT below.
1:05 p.m. Yankees (Jameson Taillon) vs. Orioles (Bruce Zimmermann)
The Bronx Bombers have the best record in the American League and are riding a five-game winning streak. The Yankees have also owned the Orioles in recent years (though admittedly, who hasn't?). In New York's 12 wins this season, 10 have come by at least two runs. The Yanks also have favorable numbers versus O's starter Bruce Zimmermann, batting 11-for-26 (.423) against him. Oddly enough, Zimmermann shut down the Yanks in a start on April 17; what are the odds of lightning striking twice? By contrast, Yankees expected starter Jameson Taillon has looked rejuvenated this season, and the O's also have not had success against him.
MLB Best Bet – Yankees -1.5 runs for 1 RW buck (-108 FanDuel)
MLB Best Bet – Yankees TT over 4.5 runs for 1 RW buck (-120 BetMGM)
Swing for the Fences Bonus Player Prop: Aaron Judge has two home runs in four lifetime at-bats versus Orioles starter Bruce Zimmerman. Judge is 4-for-9 in the first two games of the series with Baltimore and has three home runs in his last five games. Make sure to shop around for the best odds; Judge is +360 on Caesar's to hit a homer, while the odds are not nearly as favorable on FanDuel.
1:05 p.m. Marlins (Trevor Rogers) vs. Nationals (Patrick Corbin)
The argument can be made that Corbin has been the worst starting pitcher in baseball the first few weeks of the season. He is 0-3 with an 11.20 ERA. Marlins starter Trevor Rogers has not been much better, sporting a 6.94 ERA. However, the Nats have lost seven games in a row and have a 3-10 record at home to begin the season. An end to their misery is nowhere in sight. RotoWire colleague Michael Rathburn quoted noted in Wednesday's article that the Nats have gone under their team total at home in every game this season. I am not one to rock the boat. Consider parlaying the two bets below for better odds.
MLB Best Bet – Marlins moneyline for 1 RW buck (-140 BetMGM)
MLB Best Bet – Nationals TT under 3.5 runs for 1 RW buck (-125 BetMGM)
Swing for the Fences Bonus Player Prop: Miguel Rojas is 13-for-30 lifetime versus Corbin, with three of those hits being home runs. Rojas is +190 (FanDuel) to collect two hits; he's +980 to hit a home run. Bear in mind that Rojas is off to a slow start this season, though, hitting just .170 with zero home runs.
These teams have the fewest strikeouts at the dish in the majors. Brad Keller has been solid to begin the season, but he has not exceeded five strikeouts in any start. Meanwhile, Michael Kopech has been electric and looks to finally be living up to his lofty potential. That said, he has still not pitched more than five innings in a start and averages five punchouts per outing. In addition, this game has the lowest total of the day. Yet the Royals have scored at least three runs in four consecutive games. Meanwhile, Kansas City has one of the highest team ERAs in baseball.
MLB Best Bet – Brad Keller under 5.5 strikeouts for 1 RW buck
MLB Best Bet – Michael Kopech under 6.5 strikeouts for 1 RW buck (FanDuel -134)
MLB Best Bet – Game total over 6.5 runs for 1 RW buck (BetMGM -130)
Swing for the Fences Bonus Player Prop: Carlos Santana had a three-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday, but he may finally be coming out of his batting funk. Santana is also 3-for-6 versus Kopech in his career, with two of those hits as home runs. Santana is +640 to go yard on FanDuel.