MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, September 7th

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 7, 2023 11:00 AM

MLB schedule today has 6 games

Six games are on the MLB board for Thursday, so it is a very light day, much like what we saw last week with only four games. Scheduled days off are few and far between in September for teams, although some of them will take an unscheduled day off as we head towards the end of the regular season.

All six games are night games and we have another huge favorite role in Atlanta to go along with a handful of reasonably-lined contests.

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Here are some thoughts on the September 7 card (odds from DraftKings):

Los Angeles Dodgers (-122, 8.5) at Miami Marlins

I’m a bit surprised that the series finale in Miami isn’t a day game, but it is not, as the Dodgers head to D.C. and the Marlins head up to Philly. Ryan Pepiot and Braxton Garrett are the listed hurlers for this one, as Pepiot makes his fourth straight appearance at the MLB level. He was recalled from the minors to make this start after allowing two runs on eight hits in 14 innings with two bulk relief appearances and then a straight start against the Diamondbacks.

He’s got a 14/2 K/BB ratio and has allowed just one homer and a 22.9% Hard Hit% since his recall. He’s on some extra rest here after not having pitched since August 30, but his three MLB data points have been quite good and he threw the ball well in the minors over six rehab starts. He made his season debut on July 14 and allowed 10 runs on 21 hits in 22.2 innings at Triple-A before making his MLB debut for 2023.

Garrett has a 3.86 ERA with a 4.59 xERA and a 3.67 FIP in 140 innings of work over 26 starts and one relief outing. Garrett had a few rough outings before and after the All-Star Break, but he has only allowed 12 earned runs over his last six starts. That said, I do have some concerns. He has a 4.15 ERA with a 4.18 FIP in the second half over 47.2 innings. He only has 35 strikeouts in that span and continues to allow a lot of hard contact with a 45.8% Hard Hit%. He’s got a GB% over 51%, so he’s induced a lot of worm-burners and that has allowed him to have success, but he isn’t missing bats like he did earlier in the season. He only has 14 K in his last five starts over 29 innings.

I like the Dodgers tonight. Pepiot has done an excellent job of inducing weak contact and is a legitimate MLB pitcher who has had some injury troubles. The Dodgers pen is extremely well-rested going into this one as well. The Marlins pen is in fine shape, but I see some regression signs for Garrett with all the contact against and the Dodgers should be the type of lineup to bring it to the forefront. 

In Garrett’s start against LAD back on August 19, he allowed a 58.8% Hard Hit% and two barrels. He only gave up three runs on five hits, but it could’ve been much worse and I think it could be today. Shop around, as this line is a few cents better elsewhere.

Pick: Dodgers -122

St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves (-345, 10.5)

I guess I underestimated the Cardinals to some degree. They’ve actually shown a good bit of fight, at least in this series. Maybe this is just one of those series that teams get up for, even if the season hasn’t gone the way you had hoped. Maybe it’s against teams like the Pirates and other “inferior” competition that they will sleepwalk through.

They beat Spencer Strider last night by outslugging Atlanta. Maybe they’ll find a way to do the same today with Max Fried. Wouldn’t it be something if Adam Wainwright got win No. 199 in such a huge dog role?

I’d have probably pushed him back to Friday and let him try against the Reds instead. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that maybe the Cardinals will show up against really good teams, but be a good fade against the lesser foes that don’t get the competitive juices flowing.

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (-166, 8.5)

The surging Cubs have what appears to be another good opportunity to pick up a win. They’re a heavy home favorite against the Diamondbacks and Ryne Nelson. It will be Javier Assad to open up this four-game set. Tomorrow’s game is an early one for both teams, so that could be a bit of a weird spot for Arizona.

Nelson is returning from Triple-A for this one. He had a 5.47 ERA with a 5.14 xERA and a 5.15 FIP when he got sent down after his August 11 outing. He made four starts in the minors and allowed 10 runs on 19 hits over 21.2 innings, but he only managed nine strikeouts. I’m not super excited about him in this matchup against a Cubs offense that has pummeled righties in the second half.

Assad has a lot of negative regression signs in his profile, though. He has a 2.69 ERA with a 4.53 xERA and a 4.20 FIP in 87 innings of work. He’s got a low K% at 19.3% with a high BB% at 9.5%, but he’s allowed just a .255 BABIP and has a 84.1% LOB%. It’s hard to carry that high of a LOB% with a low K% and his Hard Hit% of 39.5% and his 8.5% Barrel% are both right in line with league averages, so a .255 BABIP against seems a little optimistic the rest of the way.

Since moving into the rotation full-time, Assad has a 1.95 ERA with a 4.02 FIP over 37 innings. I’m not really buying it. I wish the Diamondbacks were throwing somebody other than Nelson because I’d look to pick against Assad here. He actually has a 41.5% Hard Hit% in those six starts and he’s allowed six barrels in his last three starts against the Tigers, Pirates, and Reds.

Unlike the last few days in Chicago, the wind is blowing in tonight. That’s why we’ve got Nelson and the regression signs for Assad, but a total of 8.5. If Nelson had any bat-missing ability, I’d try Arizona. I just don’t trust him at all whatsoever.

Seattle Mariners (-130, 8) at Tampa Bay Rays

Luis Castillo and Zack Littell are listed for the series opener between the Mariners and Rays. This is the third city on the road trip for the Mariners, who are locked in a very tight battle in the AL West. They got into Tampa at about 1:30 after the 8-4 win over Cincinnati to snap a three-game skid.

Regression has found Littell, as I figured it would, but I haven’t been on or against him lately. He’s allowed 12 runs on 20 hits over his last three starts covering 16 innings of work. He hasn’t really been able to stick on a Major League roster full-time, and as special as the Rays are when it comes to pitchers, he wasn’t going to be able to keep up what he was doing. He’s allowed five homers in that span and seven over his last five starts.

It’s a bummer, too, because I’d like to take the Rays at dog prices whenever possible. Castillo has a 3.19 ERA with a 3.73 xERA and a 3.82 FIP over 169.1 innings of work. But, there are some noticeable home/road splits in the profile. His ERA is 1.5 runs higher on the road at 3.99. His slash line is +69/+63/+119 by BA/OBP/SLG on the road. His wOBA is 72 points higher on the road. His K% is 9.2% lower on the road.

He started on the road against the Mets earlier in the trip and allowed five runs on eight hits, including two homers. He only struck out two and allowed a 52.4% Hard Hit% and two barrels. Over his last four starts, Castillo has a 28.7% GB%, which is really weird for his usual batted ball distribution. 

I think we could get some runs in this one. Castillo’s home/road splits are not properly being accounted for in this line in my opinion and he’s also faced the Royals, White Sox, and Mets in those last four starts. The Rays are a big upgrade and could take fuller advantage of the increase in fly balls out of Castillo.

DraftKings is one of the few books sitting 8 for this one. I like 8.5 at even money or plus money, but shop around on this one and try for an 8.

Pick: Over 8 (-115)

Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees (-162, 8.5)

Carlos Rodon and Eduardo Rodriguez are two of the four lefties on the card for tonight and they’ll face off against one another. The Yankees are playing a bit better lately, as they’ve rattled off five wins in a row and victories in eight of nine to climb back over .500. That includes a sweep of the Astros last weekend, who just put an epic beating on the Rangers.

This will be Rodon’s fourth start since returning from his second IL stint. He has allowed five runs on 13 hits in 15.2 innings of work. He’s struck out 12 and walked three against the Nationals, Rays, and Astros. The Tigers only rank 28th against lefties in wOBA in the second half and have an 81 wRC+, so this should be a good matchup for Rodon.

The Yankees are a top-10 offense against lefties in the second half with a .348 wOBA and a 124 wRC+, so this may not be a great matchup for Rodriguez, who comes in with a 3.11 ERA, 3.70 xERA, and a 3.30 FIP over 124.1 innings of work. He has alternated between good starts and bad starts lately, as he allowed six runs on August 13, one run on August 20, four runs on August 26, and one run on September 1. 

Guess we’ll see what we get here. I’m not interested in this one.

Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles Angels (-110, 8.5)

Cal Quantrill will get the start for Cleveland. Griffin Canning will get the call for the Halos. This series sucks. Cleveland salvaged the final game against the Twins and made it seem like they still have a chance in the division, but they do not. The Angels don’t really seem to care much right now. They were just swept by the Orioles and have dropped six in a row and nine of 10.

The Angels were 58-58 after their win on August 9. They are 64-76 now, so that’s a solid stretch with 18 losses in 26 games. I can’t imagine they’ll be very invested in this series against Cleveland. I’m not sure Cleveland will be very invested the rest of the way.

Quantrill will at least be invested because he’s had a horrible season. He’s got a 6.16 ERA with a 4.82 FIP in 73 innings of work. He only has 40 strikeouts in that span and just returned to throw six innings against the Rays with two runs on two hits. It was his best start since May 7 and came after nearly two months away from the MLB team. He had allowed 15 runs on 21 hits over 17.2 innings in the minors before somehow pitching well against the Rays.

Canning has a 4.30 ERA and FIP over his 104.2 innings of work. He’s missed some time and also bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. He’s made two starts in a row since Shohei Ohtani got hurt and Lucas Giolito got waived and has allowed three runs on nine hits over 13 innings with 16 strikeouts against one walk. Both pitchers are plenty engaged here, but I don’t know that the supporting casts will be.

Nothing from me on this one.

TL;DR Recap

Dodgers -122

SEA/TB Over 8 (-115)

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