MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, August 10th

By Adam Burke  ( 

August 10, 2023 11:33 AM

MLB schedule today has 8 games

Eight games on Thursday include four day games, so there won’t be a ton for your wagering pleasure this evening. Six of the eight games also feature sizable favorites, so this appears to be one of the worst betting days of the season for those that focus mainly on sides and totals. Those in the player prop markets may find something more actionable. While I primarily focus on sides and totals, my guy Zach Cohen is doing player props for us every, so check that out and check out today’s eight-game card.

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Here are some thoughts on the August 10 card (odds from DraftKings):

Atlanta Braves (-198, 10) at Pittsburgh Pirates

Bryce Elder and Bailey Falter get us going as the Braves take the field as a big favorite against the Pirates. This line has come down a bit with Sean Murphy getting a day off and the regression signs in Elder’s profile. He has a 3.43 ERA with a 4.38 xERA and a 4.34 FIP in his 126 innings of work across 22 starts. Elder ‘s K% is down to 17.6%, but he’s still riding that 52.9% GB%.

Elder has allowed seven runs in three of his last five stats, so the Regression Monster seems to have found him. He also only has 13 strikeouts against 12 walks in his last six starts over 30 innings. He had his lowest fastball velocity of the season in his last start as well. He has thrown 132 innings this season and tossed 159 innings last season, so I don’t think it’s a fatigue thing, but I guess it could be since only 54 of those innings were at the MLB level last year.

Falter is making his second start with the Pirates after being acquired from the Phillies. Falter had a 5.13 ERA with a 4.73 FIP in 40.1 innings with Philadelphia and threw four innings in his first Pirates outing with one run allowed on six hits. He only struck out two, but also only walked one. He’s a pitch-to-contact lefty, which seems bad against Atlanta.

Ten is a big total for a getaway day game, so nothing from me here.

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies (-258, 9)

Falter’s former team will send Aaron Nola to the bump today against Patrick Corbin. It is, as you would expect, a big favorite role for the Phillies today in light of that pitching matchup. Nola has a 4.58 ERA, but also a 3.86 xERA on the season. His 4.30 FIP is indicative of the home run issue that he has had. He’s allowed 26 homers, one off of a career-high, which he set back in 2019 over 202.1 innings when the league had a juiced ball. He’s only worked 143.1 innings this season.

Nola has also seen a 4% K% decrease this season, which has pulled his FIP down a bit. His 65% LOB% is one of the reasons why his ERA is so high, but the long ball hasn’t exactly helped. He’s allowed 12 runs on 17 hits in his last 10 innings against the Pirates and Royals. He’s given up 11 homers in his last seven starts dating back to June 28. The Nationals don’t hit many and also hit lefties way better than righties.

Corbin checks in with a 5.03 ERA, 6.34 xERA, and a 5.18 FIP in his 132.1 innings of work. He’s got the lowest K% of his career at just 15.2% and the Nationals are still on the hook for another season at $23.3 million. In his last eight starts, Corbin has a 5.48 ERA with a 5.68 FIP with 11 homers allowed in 47.2 innings. He’s allowed at least four runs in four of those eight starts.

I’d still keep a close eye on the Nationals pen. Kyle Finnegan, Jordan Weems, and Andres Machado have all worked four of the last six days, but have had two of the last three days off. It’s still a heavy workload for guys that aren’t accustomed to that or accustomed to being in high-leverage roles.

Rain is all over the East Coast again today and this game could be delayed or even postponed, so I’m staying away.

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers (-375, 8.5)

Clayton Kershaw makes his return to the Dodgers rotation to take on Ty Blach and the Rockies in this one. This is one of the biggest favorite roles we’ve seen this season, as Kershaw comes back from a prolonged stint on the IL with shoulder discomfort. He hasn’t pitched at the MLB level since throwing six one-hit innings against the Rockies on June 27 at Coors Field.

He didn’t make any rehab starts either, so Kershaw could be shaking off a bit of rust here. He threw four innings in a sim game earlier in the week and somewhere around 60 pitches. That likely puts him around four innings or so today, as the Dodgers aren’t going to push him too hard, too fast. The Dodgers are up six games on the Giants and 6.5 games on the Brewers for a bye in the playoffs, so they won’t take unnecessary risks.

This could even be something of a piggyback situation with Kershaw and Ryan Yarbrough, who threw 63 pitches on Saturday. The Dodgers may view that as a way to stretch out the bullpen a little bit.

Blach has a 4.85 ERA with a 6.62 xERA and a 4.50 FIP in his 26 innings pitched this season. He only has 11 strikeouts out of 117 batters faced, but he’s also only walked four guys. In three starts, he’s allowed four runs on 13 hits with six strikeouts against two walks over 12.2 innings of work. He’s faced the Marlins, A’s, and Cardinals, so two pretty good lineups against lefties and Oakland at Coors Field.

If you look under the “Alternate Run Line” tab at DraftKings, you’ll see a bunch of different betting options on a slider. You can pick which run line you’d like to bet on, including “reverse run lines”, where you can take the underdog and play the run line. I am not advocating for that with Colorado, but the Rockies +2.5 is just -115 today. The total here is 8.5 and Blach has at least been somewhat effective. If I’m right about the Yarbrough piggyback, the Rockies will be getting an average at best MLB pitcher after Kershaw.

At +2.5 (-115) with a total of 8.5, I don’t think this is a bad bet. On a day with limited options, this one makes some sense. If you aren’t betting at DK, it might take a bit of digging to find this one, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Pick: Rockies +2.5 (-115)

Houston Astros (-120, 9.5) at Baltimore Orioles

The AL slate is full of early starts and I’ll try to breeze through them to get something out there before they get going. I don’t think I’ll have time with this one, as Hunter Brown and Dean Kremer wrap up what has been a really interesting series. Baltimore had a big bullpen melt on Tuesday and then got drubbed 8-2 last night with another lackluster effort from the pen. Houston has a little extra incentive today, as Baltimore hasn’t been swept in 75 straight series.

Brown’s ERA is up to 4.07, but he has a 3.92 xERA and a 3.86 FIP in 117.1 innings of work. The right-hander has solid peripherals across the board, which is why his other run estimators are bullish going forward. His HR/FB% is a little high at 18.8%, but he also has a 53.8% GB%. Brown had a little bit of a rough patch before and after the Break, but he’s allowed two runs in each of his last three starts.

That said, he’s only struck out four batters in each, so we’ll see what he does here in the strikeout department. It definitely needs to improve.

Kremer has a 4.61 ERA with a 5.43 xERA and a 4.87 FIP in 125 innings of work. His K% is up 4.7% from last season, but he’s allowed 23 homers in one-third fewer of an inning compared to the 11 he allowed last season. The long ball has been a major problem and it could be today on a warm day in Baltimore. 

Storms are also lurking here, so we’ll see if they get this one in without a delay.

Minnesota Twins (-162, 8.5) at Detroit Tigers

The Twins are at risk of losing three of four to the Tigers here. Yesterday’s Under never had a prayer, as the teams combined to go 8-for-19 with RISP, including a bunch of run-scoring hits early in the game. Bailey Ober had nine strikeouts in five innings, but also gave up five runs on 11 hits, so it was a weird game. The Tigers have struck out 19 times against Twins starters in the last two days, but have scored 15 runs in those games.

Kenta Maeda and Reese Olson are the guys to get it going here today. Maeda has a 4.22 ERA with a 3.39 xERA and a 3.45 FIP in his 59.2 innings of work. Since coming off of the IL on June 23, he has not allowed more than three runs in a start and has a 2.47 ERA with a 3.06 FIP and 58 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. A strikeout prop with Maeda probably makes some sense here, especially given what Gray and Ober did.

A K prop might make sense with Olson as well, as he has a 4.94 ERA with a 4.95 xERA and a 4.29 FIP in 54.2 innings of work. Olson has a 21.9% K% and a 5.7% BB%, so he’s thrown the ball well this season. He has run on the wrong side of luck with a 62.3% LOB%. He’s allowed just a 36.4% Hard Hit%, but a 9.7% Barrel%, which is why his xERA is so high. He’s also given up nine homers in nine starts and three relief outings.

Maeda’s K prop might be a good play late, but I’m sure it’s been bet up.

Toronto Blue Jays (-142, 9.5) at Cleveland Guardians

Alek Manoah and Noah Syndergaard meet in this one, as we’ve seen three exceptionally low-scoring games to this point. Toronto couldn’t push a second run across last night, as the run line came up short in a 1-0 win. We’ve seen a total of six runs scored in this series and a total of two runs in the last two games, as the Guardians and Blue Jays have traded 1-0 victories.

I can’t imagine we get a 1-0 game here with Manoah and Syndergaard, but baseball is stupid and makes no sense. Syndergaard has a 6.75 ERA with a 6.14 xERA and a 6.01 FIP in his 14 starts over 66.2 innings. In two starts over 11.1 innings with Cleveland, he has struck out just three of 47 batters and allowed six runs on 11 hits, including four homers. Righties own a .377 wOBA against him this season with a .305/.353/.531 slash. Can’t say I like the matchup for him.

Since coming back to the Majors after getting rebuilt in the minor leagues, Manoah has allowed 12 runs on 21 hits in 25.1 innings for a 4.26 ERA. He has a 5.48 FIP because he’s walked 14 guys and allowed four homers in those five starts. He does have 25 strikeouts in his 25.1 innings, but he’s also allowed a 46.5% Hard Hit% and a 9.9% Barrel%.

I’d still probably trust Manoah over Syndergaard, especially with the difference in offense between the two teams, but I’ll be happy to see this series end.

Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox (-250, 10.5)

Left-hander Austin Cox gets the start opposite James Paxton as the Royals and Red Sox wrap things up at Fenway Park. Cox comes in with 27.2 innings to his name at the MLB level and a 3.58 ERA with a 5.05 xERA and a 3.70 FIP. His high xERA has a lot to do with his 12.6% BB% and 45.2% Hard Hit%. Despite tilting towards the fly ball side, he’s only allowed one homer out of 111 batters faced, but also has just a 23/14 K/BB ratio.

Cox has not worked more than 1.1 innings since July 3, so I can’t imagine he’ll be pushed for too much in this outing. I would guess somebody like Jonathan Heasley or James McArthur will be called upon for multiple innings in relief. This is basically just a Johnny Wholestaff game for the Royals. Cox hasn’t pitched since Friday, so maybe they will ask for a bit more, but they need a starter tomorrow as well.

Paxton has a 3.60 ERA with a 3.25 xERA and a 4.07 FIP in his 14 starts across 75 innings of work. He allowed four runs on nine hits last time out with three homers allowed against the Blue Jays. For the most part, he’s been solid, as he’s held the opposition to three or fewer runs in 11 of his 14 starts. That was not one of them and he was bad against the Cubs coming out of the All-Star Break, but he’s generally been pretty reliable.

The Royals are going to be sending out a lot of below average pitchers after Cox, so I can’t even entertain the under in this one.

St. Louis Cardinals at Tampa Bay Rays (-185, 9.5)

It will be Matthew Liberatore and Zack Littell in this matchup between the Cardinals and Rays, which is probably not what either team expected for an August 10 game. The Cardinals traded away Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty and the Rays have an elite rotation on the injured list. 

Littell has a 4.04 ERA with a 4.59 xERA and a 3.49 FIP in 35.2 innings this season, as he started the year with Boston and then found a home in Tampa. He’s made five starts spread throughout the season, but his last two starts have been his longest outings and he has allowed two runs on 11 hits in 11 innings with five strikeouts against one walk. If he can do something similar today, it would be a huge lift for the pitching-starved Rays.

Littell has allowed a 50.9% Hard Hit% and a 9.5% Barrel% on the season, so I’m skeptical of his ability to keep being effective as a starter with turning lineups over and having to work deeper into his arsenal, but I guess we’ll see.

This has been a lost season for Liberatore and it seems like he could really benefit from a trade out of the St. Louis system. Ironically, Liberatore was originally a Ray, as he made 25 appearances in the minors before getting traded to St. Louis in the Randy Arozarena deal. Liberatore has a 6.93 ERA with a 7.65 xERA and a 5.26 FIP at the MLB level this season.

He only has a 12.6% K% with a 9.8% BB% in his 37.2 innings pitched. He’s been more effective in Triple-A, but that’s not what the Cardinals are looking for at this point. He just allowed five runs on six hits to the Twins in his first start back in the bigs and only struck out one of the 25 batters he faced. Given how much the Twins strike out, that’s a big problem.

Will today be the day that the Rays fix their issues against lefties? They have a .278 wOBA and an 80 wRC+ against southpaws here in the second half with just a .218 batting average and a .345 SLG. Liberatore’s been bad, though, allowing four or more runs in six of his nine starts. I’m also not really buying what Littell’s selling either.

I think we can get Over 9.5 here. The Cardinals bullpen has also lost some pieces via injury and trade and the Rays pen may be asked to do a lot here after being asked to do a lot yesterday with six relievers called into action.

Pick: Over 9.5 (+100)

TL;DR Recap

Rockies +2.5 (-115)

STL/TB Over 9.5 (+100)

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