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MLB Picks for August 4: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

Garion Thorne gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s MLB betting card.

I’m not quite sure how to process last Friday’s betting card. While we only went 1-2 on picks — dropping our record on article plays for the season to 49-42 — the one winner came at massive plus-money odds. Let’s maybe just agree to call it a wash?

In any case, I’ll try and do better tonight. Here are three more MLB wagers that catch my eye.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians

Astros -1.5 (-115)

Without being too simplistic, this is a bet about a lopsided pitching matchup. Taking the mound for the Astros on Thursday will be American League Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander. The veteran has been on another level in terms of execution across his past six outings, maintaining a 0.86 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, all while holding opponents to a microscopic .220 wOBA. It should come as little shock that the Astros are a stunning 14-2 the last 16 times Verlander has started a game, with the club also sporting an 11-5 record on the run-line in those 16 appearances.

As for the Guardians, they’ll be playing behind Zach Plesac, a contract-oriented RHP that’s pitched to an underwhelming 5.52 xERA in 104.0 innings in 2022. In fact, Plesac enters this contest sitting in the seventh percentile or lower in barrel rate (11.1%), expected slugging percentage (.490) and expected wOBA (.359). He’s the exact type of pitcher that this Astros’ roster should feast upon, particularly with new additions Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez significantly lengthening an already terrifying lineup. This one should be a blowout.

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Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals

Nick Pivetta Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+100)

This is a bit of an odd one, as Pivetta’s only managed six strikeouts once in his past seven starts. Still, it’s not like he’s just forgotten how to induce swings and misses. We’re talking about a pitcher who registered a very respectable 24.9% strikeout rate across his first 14 outings of 2022. We’re also talking about a pitcher that’s averaging 9.57 strikeouts per nine over the course of a six-year career. Pivetta certainly has the stuff to clear this prop by a wide margin.

The matchup is great, too. Dating back to the All-Star break, the Royals own the fifth-highest strikeout rate in baseball (25.5%), supported by top-10 marks in both chase rate (34.9%) and swinging strike rate (12.1%). I don’t think this is a two-week blip on the radar, either. Among the 11 players with at least 20 plate appearance for Kansas City within that span of time, the two lowest strikeout rates belong to Andrew Benintendi (3.7%) and Whit Merrifield (14.9%). That’s unfortunate, because neither of those two gentlemen are still on the Royals’ roster.

Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies

First 5: Phillies Over 2.5 Runs (-130)

There’s a lot of things to like about Philadelphia’s offensive potential on Thursday. Nick Castellanos is hitting .306 since the All-Star break. JT Realmuto has posted a 164 wRC+ across the past 30 days. Jean Segura is expected to come off the 60-day injured list and make his first start since all the way back on May 31. The Phillies are actually starting to look like the team we thought they would before the season began.

However, the biggest boost to Philadelphia’s prospects this evening is the presence of Paolo Espino. The Nationals’ starter has struggled mightily in his last six appearances, pitching to a 6.23 ERA and a 6.66 FIP — a foreboding figure not only for it’s hellish connotation, but also because it’s existence is a direct result of Espino surrendering 3.1 home runs per nine. Heck, opponents are slashing .318/.339/.636 off the RHP within this ugly stretch of play. I’d look for the Phillies to score early and often against the 35-year-old journeyman.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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