Matinees are all the rage on Thursday's MLB betting card that finds six afternoon affairs among the nine contests. Read on for free picks for three of the daytime matchups.
Young Aces Battle In DC For Mets, Nats Series Finale
It may be too early to start talking pennant races, but it's never too soon to get in an early battle between young studs on the hill, which is exactly what we have in the series finale a little past 1 PM (ET) in Washington between the Nationals and New York Mets.
Matt Harvey is scheduled to make his first official appearance for the Mets since August 2013, his recent absence due to Tommy John surgery. Washington counters with Stephen Strasburg, himself sporting a TJ scar from early in his career, and the Nats can be had for -125 or lower on the MLB odds where a 6 run total awaits.
New York won the opener 3-1 behind Bartolo Colon's strong outing and a couple of costly Washington errors in the sixth. The Nats rebounded quickly with a 2-1 win Wednesday as Jordan Zimmermann did the heavy lifting on the mound while Ryan Zimmerman provided the timely offense and defense.
It's the second time Harvey and Strasburg have squared off on the mound, the first coming almost two years ago in April 2013. That game took place in New York, and it was Harvey getting the better of Strasburg and the Nats, 7-1. The former Tar Heel has been solid in four career starts vs. Washington, allowing three earned runs in 27 innings over four starts while striking out 35. New York has only managed to split those four games.
Washington is 5-1 in Strasburg's six outings vs. the Mets, New York batters only hitting at about a buck-eighty while he's pitched to a 2.18 ERA. Strasburg is 20-10 with a 2.52 ERA the last three seasons at Nationals Park.
The threat of showers grows once the game gets underway, so baseball bettors will want to pay attention to the forecast. The way these first two games have gone, I see no reason to get off the 'under' for my free pick in the finale.
Free MLB Pick: Under 6 at The Greek
Tribe, Astros Close Set In Houston
Sorta' figured what the heck, we've covered the first two games in the series between the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros, might as well make it a clean sweep with their 2:20 PM (ET) close out down in Bayou City. There is a slight chance of rain in the forecast, but with a retractable roof, the series finale is one is guaranteed to be played.
Another scrap between young righties is on tap as Trevor Bauer goes for Cleveland opposite Asher Wojciechowski for the Astros. It's pretty much a pick 'em across the baseball betting board, 8½ (U -125) for the total.
The clubs have swapped a pair of 2-0 decisions to get us to the rubber game. Bauer has been kicking around between the D-Backs and Tribe the past few seasons, making the bulk of his 34 career starts last year when he recorded a 4.18 ERA with the Indians splitting his 26 assignments. Thursday is Wojciechowski's big league debut after pitching his way onto the roster with an outstanding spring.
We're expecting to see Scott Barry behind the plate for this one, the Battle Creek, Michigan native leaning 'under' in 2014 (13-18 O/U) after heavy 'over' action the season before that (19-9-4 O/U/P). Gimme' the Tribe in Game 3.
Free MLB Pick: Indians -110 at Bovada
Rangers & A's Finish 4-Game Series In Oakland
Since I'll be following the weekend series in Arlington between the Rangers and Astros, thought it was a good idea to include Texas' series finale in Oakland against the Athletics. It's an early start on the West Coast, half-past noon local time (3:35 ET), and once again, we have a clash pitting young righthanders with Nick Martinez toiling for Texas and Kendall Graveman making his first MLB start and debut for the A's.
Oakland can be generally found at -140 on the MLB odds, the 7½ run total taxed a little more on the low side.
Called up by Toronto last September by Toronto, Graveman got in five relief appearances before being traded to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson deal. The former 8th-round pick ouf of Mississippi State, Graveman enjoyed a bang-up spring to win a slot in Bob Melvin's rotation. Martinez took over a starting role in Texas by late-May due to the injuries, and became the No. 3 arm in 1st-year manager Jeff Bannister's mix by default when Yu Darvish went down this spring.
Weather -- 63º at first pitch, a few clouds -- shouldn't bother us getting this one in with a final free MLB pick on the A's covering the spread in this one.
Free MLB Pick: Athletics -1.5 at BetOnline
Season: 4-4 (-0.70)