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Three of Thursday’s six Major League Baseball games are between teams with winning records, and we're offering our top MLB prop picks and best bets based on the best MLB odds.

Of the new series beginning Thursday, there are two openers with massive playoff implications in both leagues.

The Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays are each within 3.5 games of first place in their respective division. The former also need a win to further strengthen their hold of an AL wild-card spot.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs play the first of seven games over the next two weeks, with every contest promising to shake up the NL wild-card race.

Here are our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Thursday (odds via our best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our World Series odds.

(Odds via DraftKings)

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  • Player prop: Braxton Garrett Under 3.5 strikeouts (+125 via bet365) vs. Dodgers ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: Brandon Drury to score a run (OFF) vs. Guardians ⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: Austin Riley to hit a home run (+330 via FanDuel) vs. Cardinals ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Total: Tigers-Yankees Under 8.5 (-110 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

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Miami Marlins southpaw Jesus Luzardo squeaked by his projected 5.5 strikeout total in the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, recording his fifth and sixth strikeouts on the final two outs. However, we do not expect similar success for fellow lefty Braxton Garrett, despite a decent start against the Dodgers two weeks ago.

Garrett took the loss in an Aug. 19 road outing against Los Angeles despite throwing a quality start and recording six strikeouts. The six Ks are tied for his most in a start since June 22, but he has recorded three or fewer strikeouts in his other four previous starts in August. Garrett ranks in the 51st and 52nd percentile in whiff percentage and strikeout rate, respectively.

His four combined strikeouts in 12 innings in consecutive starts against the Washington Nationals are concerning, especially when facing another opponent familiar with his arsenal after seeing him not long ago.

This is a confident four-star play, as Garrett induced just one whiff on 33 swings in his last start.

FanDuel offers a safer play of O/U 4.5 strikeouts, with the Under juiced to -140. However, we prefer the plus-money odds for a bigger payout at 3.5 strikeouts at DraftKings and bet365.

Player prop: Brandon Drury to score a run vs. Guardians (OFF) ⭐⭐⭐

Second baseman Brandon Drury has been a fixture at the top of the Los Angeles Angels lineup of late, and he is tied for the team lead with four runs scored over the last seven days, overcoming a substandard .208 batting average and .321 on-base percentage in that span.

Drury has four hits in nine at-bats against Cleveland Guardians righty Cal Quantrill. Quantrill did not show much signs of rust after a near two-month layoff in his last start, limiting the Rays to two hits and two earned runs over six innings. However, Quantrill has always been a better pitcher at Progressive Field than in road starts. He has a .750 winning percentage, 3.55 ERA, and 1.18 WHIP in 69 career home appearances, but a .444 winning percentage, 4.34 ERA, and 1.36 WHIP in 58 appearances on the road.

There are no odds yet at our best sports betting apps, but we would expect to get decent plus-money odds when they become available.

St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright has allowed 16 home runs in 83 1/3 innings this year. To put that into perspective, he allowed 16 home runs in 191 1/3 innings all of last season, and his 1.7 HR/9 rate is on pace to be by far the worst of his career.

Giving up long balls at a high frequency is a dangerous way to make a living against an Atlanta Braves lineup that is on pace for 311 home runs, which would break the Minnesota Twins’ record of 307 in a season. Wainwright has been equally generous in allowing home runs to hitters on both sides of the plate, as his 1.74 HR/9 rate against lefties is slightly more than his 1.72 rate against righties. Since the two numbers are negligible, we are backing Austin Riley to go yard, as his .926 OPS over the last 15 days is a welcomed sight after that number dropped 77 points from July to August.

Riley has not gone more than three games without a home run since Aug. 25, and he has shown an ability to hit Wainwright well, going 3-for-8 against him in his career. The +330 odds found at FanDuel are a steal, considering Riley is as low as +265 at DraftKings to go yard.

Total: Tigers-Yankees Under 8.5 (-110 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

The New York Yankees are in their better hitting split facing Detroit Tigers southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez. New York ranks sixth in wRC+ and fifth in OPS against left-handed pitching this season, but those rankings drop to 22nd and 26th against righties. While that would be a compelling case for the Over in this matchup, Rodriguez has had great career success against New York’s two best power hitters, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, holding them to a combined .143 batting average (7-for-49) with just one home run, and 49% of the outs coming via strikeout.

Considering New York’s five through nine hitters ended Tuesday’s game with individual batting averages of .205, .217, .143, .156, and .109, its offensive ceiling is limited if its top two sluggers are not producing.

Meanwhile, Carlos Rodon had an encouraging outing in his last start, earning the win after holding the Houston Astros to two earned runs on three hits in five innings. That was no easy feat, considering that start came amid a stretch in which Houston has scored an MLB-best 98 runs over its last 11 games.

The Under has cashed in 57.4% of Detroit’s games as the road team and 59.1% of New York’s non-division games, and we expect it to cash again tonight. BetMGM and Caesars are the only of our best sports betting sites at which one can back the Under of 8.5 at standard -110 odds, while all others at 8.5 (FanDuel is the only shop with an O/U of 8.0) are juiced to the Under.     

MLB best bets made 9/7/2023 at 6:22 a.m. ET.

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