MLB

Will the Yankees’ bats cool down at the Oakland Coliseum? Plus, other best bets for Thursday

Hello and Happy Thursday, everybody. I’d like to start today’s newsletter off with a correction because this is a newsletter that takes accuracy seriously. In yesterday’s edition, I wrote that the Tampa Bay Rays were 45-40 this season as underdogs. That’s not true. I accidentally looked at the wrong column of one of my spreadsheets — “one of my spreadsheets” is the coolest thing anybody has ever written — and I’m embarrassed that I didn’t realize it right away.

The truth is that the Rays were 26-23 as underdogs heading into the game. They’re now 27-23 after beating the Phillies, so hopefully, the win helps you forgive me for the mistake easier.

Anyway, I have double- and triple-checked today’s newsletter to make sure no similar statistical errors have been carried over from my spreadsheet, and they have not. And, if it turns out they have, blame my editor. In fact, while we’re at it, let’s blame him for yesterday too. Wow, way to go, Nick. How could you just let that slip through? I hope you think about what you’ve done, and I hope the rest of you read these stories.

And now for tonight’s error-free picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Yankees at Athletics, 9:40 p.m. | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Under 8.5 (-105)
: Hello, I am once again asking you to stay up late to sweat an under on the west coast. I know I’ve done it a lot lately, and I know that it’s caused a lot of you to wake up with bleary eyes the last couple of weeks, but it’s been profitable, hasn’t it?

As I’ve gone over ad nauseam in this letter, Oakland is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, and the effect is only enhanced after dark. In recent years, the only park more pitcher-friendly at night has been Tropicana Field in Tampa, and that’s good news for tonight’s starting pitchers

Both Oakland’s James Kaprielian and New York’s Jameson Taillon are fly ball pitchers with average strikeout rates. At Yankee Stadium, this would be a big problem. In Oakland? That’s a lot of fly outs and foul outs. I’m only more encouraged when considering that both starters will be backed by two of the better bullpens in the game.

Even though the Yankees have won 11 straight games thanks to their hot offense, I’m confident on the under here. Long story short, the game starts late, but it should end quickly.

Key Trend: The under is 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Micah Roberts is up 8.15 units on his last 119 MLB picks, and he’s got a moneyline play for tonight’s meeting ready for you.


💰 The Picks

⚾ MLB

Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Twins (+240) — 
The biggest culprit in Boston’s recent slide down the AL East standings has been its pitching. The Red Sox have not been an excellent pitching team at any point this season, but things have gotten worse as of late. The team has an ERA of 4.96 in August, which is their worst mark of any month by nearly half a run. The bullpen shoulders most of the blame, as it’s posted an ERA of 5.86 in August.

Now, the good news for Boston is that Chris Sale is back and starting again tonight. He’s been phenomenal in his first two starts, allowing only two runs in 10 innings with 13 strikeouts. The problem is he hasn’t lasted longer than five innings in either start, and I don’t expect him to go much further than that tonight. So we’re going to rely on a terrible Boston pen to cover roughly four innings. 

As for Minnesota, John Gant starts, but he’s not likely to stick around long, either. Minnesota’s bullpen has been pretty horrific itself, but if this game becomes a battle of the bullpens, Boston’s isn’t strong enough to justify the Twins being this large of a dog.

Key Trend: The Red Sox bullpen has an ERA of 5.86 in August. 

Giants at Mets, 7:10 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Giants -1.5 (+140) — 
Two main factors are driving this play for me. The first is that the Mets offense stinks and has stunk for a while. In August, the Mets are averaging 3.3 runs per game while hitting .223/.295/.340 as a team. That helps explain why they’re only 6-17 this month, and they’ve fallen out of the NL East picture.

The other reason is Carlos Carrasco.

Carrasco didn’t make his season debut until the end of July, and his five starts since have not been encouraging. He’s only made it through five innings once — though it was his latest start — and he’s allowed 16 runs in 16 innings. He’s also allowed five home runs already, which isn’t great news for him considering the Giants rank second in baseball in home run rate against righties this season, trailing only Toronto.

Key Trend: Of the Mets’ last 22 losses, 15 have come by at least two runs. 

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model’s favorite MLB play of the day is on one side of the spread in tonight’s clash between the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals.


⚽ Friday Soccer Parlay

This is a three-leg parlay for Friday afternoon’s soccer action. It pays +172.

  • Inter Milan (-175)
  • Borussia Dortmund (-225)
  • Valencia or Draw (-500)



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