How to Bet on Thursday Night’s Slate, Featuring Twins vs. Yankees and White Sox vs. Athletics

Thursday includes a slate of seven MLB games, including a double between the Giants and Brewers. Aside from Game 2 of this double bill, three games start at 6:45 p.m. ET or later, which I’ll cover below: Marlins vs. Phillies, Twins vs. Yankees, and White Sox vs. Athletics.

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You can also buy the best lines on our odds page.

Using my projections, where can we find actionable value on Thursday?

Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies, 6:45 p.m. ET

Sandy Alcantara vs. Kyle Gibson (full screenings here)

Alcantara is currently around -350 (77.7% implied) to win the National League Cy Young Award. However, he has been relatively average since late July, posting a 4.08 ERA (3.97 FIP) in seven starts and 46 1/3 innings pitched.

Although he’s been slightly lucky this season (2.36 ERA, 2.97 xERA, 3.41 xFIP, 3.53 SIERA), Sandy has an odd profile for an ace pitcher. His strikeout rate (22.9%) and walk rate (6.3%) rank 59th and 46th, respectively, out of 127 qualified pitchers (min. 90 innings pitched).

Instead, he generates a groundball or popup 66.2% of the time – the fourth highest combined rate among this same group of pitchers behind only Framber Valdez, Andre Pallante and Ranger Suarez, and ahead of Logan Webb and Alex Cobb .

It offers a relatively even blend of four steps (about a 25% distribution each to its four seams, lead, slider, and change), with each step note as an above-average selection on a per-step basis. However, he prefers lead-slider against right-handers (68.8% combined usage) and four-seam and change against left-handers (68.1% combined usage).

He is a different pitcher depending on the laterality of the batter. And despite normalized gaps for his career, Alcantara recorded reverse gaps in 2022 (.246 wOBA against left-handers; .276 against right-handers).

He’ll force the Phillies into their lesser offensive division — they rank ninth against left-handers (116 wRC+) to 13th against right-handers (101 wRC+).

Unfortunately, Miami can’t score. Since losing Jazz Chisholm in late June, Miami has the worst offense in baseball by a substantial margin (67 wRC+), 11 points behind any other team. They rank dead last against right-handers (72 wRC+) and left-handers (48 wRC+) on this streak.

Phillies starter Kyle Gibson is basically meeting career standards (4.48 ERA, 4.21 xERA, 4.01 xFIP, 4.15 SIERA). However, like Alcantara, on Thursday he began one of his worst starts of the season (1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 4 BB, 2 K).

Although both relievers are below average, surprisingly, Miami relievers are posting superior metrics throughout the season. However, I consider the Philadelphia bullpen the best unit for Thursday.

And I’m modeling a pretty sizable defensive advantage for Miami, reflected in both defensive points saved (Miami 16th, Philadelphia 28th) and above-average outings (Marlins 16th, Phillies 29th).

I projected Miami as a 53% favorite (-113 implied) for the first five innings (F5) and a slight underdog at 48.6% (+106 implied) for Thursday’s full game. You can play Miami lines down to -105 and +115respectively, with either bet representing a two percent advantage over my number.

Also, I tried a few F5 spread (+0.5 points) for the Marlins, representing a value down to -150.

I don’t see the value of the total in the two halves.

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

Sonny Gray vs. Nestor Cortes Jr. (full screenings here)

For some reason, the Twins seemingly transform into a Triple-A team every time they face the Yankees. They have been knocked out of the playoffs six times by New York since 2003, including a 2-16 record and four postseason playoff sweeps.

And that’s not even the worst:

#MNTwins are now 39-116 (.252) against the Yankees since 2002.

The Twins’ winning percentage has been .513 against all other teams since 2002.

All three Twins managers in this era have sub-.300 winning percentages against the Yankees.

Ron Gardenhire—.269
Paul Molitor—.259
Rocco Baldelli—.182

—Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) September 8, 2022

And that Yankees offense is far from complete, with Anthony Rizzo and Matt Carpenter currently on the IL, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ Lemahieu active but struggling with injuries (both seated for the two doubleheaders on Wednesday) and Josh Donaldson on paternity leave.

Their bats have cooled since the beginning of August (85 wRC+, 24th), and injuries could prolong this difficult period at the plate.

Compared to the start of this season, Thursday’s lineup may seem relatively bleak. Regardless of their sticks, however, the Yankees are a high-quality defensive club, ranking among the best teams in my model, in addition to holding first place in Defensive Runs Saved (97); with 23 more than any other team (Dodgers, 74). For comparison, they rank fifth in Outs Above Average.

Their bullpen cooled along with their offense (4.3xFIP, 26th since Aug. 1). Still, I currently project the Yankees relievers as the best group.

Both relievers could be tired for Thursday, though. A lengthy extra inning affair in Wednesday’s opener saw both clubs use their best relievers (Clay Holmes and Jhoan Duran) for several innings. The Twins used nine relievers in both games. Any pitcher who appears Thursday will pitch at least the third time in five days. And for Austin Davis, Trevor MeGill and Emilio Pagan, it would be three times in four days.

New York used only six relievers in the two games. Still, Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga and Ron Marinaccio have pitched three times in the past five days; Wandy Peralta and Greg Weissert would enter their third game in four days with an appearance on Thursday.

As a result, both pens should be completely exhausted.

Both teams need length from their starters, but Nestor Cortes (2.79 xERA, 3.70 xFIP, 3.53 SIERA) has been performing better lately; averaged over six innings in his last seven starts (2.55 ERA, 2.95 FIP)

Conversely, Sonny Gray (3.70 xERA, 3.78 xFIP, 3.81 SIERA) suffered a hamstring injury in his last outing and has finished just six innings in three of his eight starts. since the All-Star break (2.16 ERA, 3.31 FIP).

Otherwise, the two pitchers had relatively comparable seasons; Cortes benefited more from his defense (.240 BABIP) and strand rate (83.3%); both of which are expected to decline in the future.

I projected the Yankees as roughly 56.5 percent favorites (-130 implied) for both halves of Thursday’s contest, and I see no value either side of the moneyline.

I’d love to bet the Over 7. However, I projected the total at 6.96, thanks to wind and weather pushing the Yankee Stadium racing environment about five percent below Thursday’s average. .

Therefore, I might prefer wait and aim for a higher live price on the total (expect more than 6.5) as most of this projection is related to overcrowded enclosures.

If the total drops to 6.5 before the game, you can play it down to -118.

Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics, 9:40 p.m. ET

Dylan Cease vs. JP Sears (full screenings here)

Cease ranks second on the American League Cy Young odds chart, behind currently sidelined Justin Verlander. And he has a chance to steal season-ending gear by ending his season on a high.

The Chicago right-hander has compiled a 2022 campaign as strong as any pitcher. Among a field of 127 qualified starters (min. 90 innings pitched), Cease ranks fourth in xERA (2.62) and seventh in strikeout rate (31.4%).

Cease sometimes struggles with command. His walk rate (10.2%) lines up with his career average (10.5%), but the strikeout rate essentially doubled between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

While his strikeout rate minus walk rate and his strike and call rate remained stable year over year, Cease significantly improved his ERA and xERA (3.91, 3, 65 in 2021; 2.13, 2.62 in 2022).

He tweaked his pitch mix slightly this season (more sliders, less fastballs and changes), resulting in a 6% increase in ground ball rate and a 6% reduction in hard hit rate allowed:

Additionally, his HR/FB rate (8.8%) is a career low (12.9%), contributing to his sparkling baseball card stats.

Quitting was undoubtedly a little lucky too. A BABIP of 0.256 and Strand Rate of 81.8% (career of 0.285 and 76.3%, respectively) highlight the discrepancy between his actual and expected measurements.

Still, Cease projects himself as a true ace. And he’s coming off the best start to his career (9 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 7 K), where he no-hittered for 26 outs, and will face one of baseball’s worst offenses. against right-handers (84 wrC+, 27th) Thursday.

Conversely, the White Sox are in their top offensive division (96 wrC+ vs. RHP, 121 wrC+ vs. LHP) against southpaw JP Sears.

I like Sears – and have bet on him several times since the trade deadline – even though his high strikeout totals in the minors have yet to translate to the majors. It generates many unproductive outputs with a healthy popup rate (15.5%), which is only amplified within the spacious enclosure of the Oakland Coliseum.

In a limited sample, Sears was quietly effective (3.9 xERA), and I suspect it will have no problem meeting or surpassing its FIP projections (4.02-4.3 range) in the future .

Still, I rate Cease (2.89 Model Weighted ERA) more than a better run than Sears (3.97) and given a substantial difference in both projected offensive quality and splits (projected 131 wRC+ for Chicago vs. left-handers;94 wRC+ vs. Oakland vs. right-handers) between these teams, I see value in the first five innings for the White Sox (F5).

You can play Chicago’s F5 moneyline down to -181 (64.4% implied) at a 2% advantage over my projection (66.4%, -197 implied).

I’m not projecting any value on the total for this game.