MLB Picks: Thursday Baseball Picks of the Day

Darin Zank

Thursday, August 29, 2013 1:46 PM GMT

Thursday offers up an abbreviated MLB betting board, but there's still winners to be found. Here's our take on a trio of games, with our free picks, to be taken, shaken or disposed of, at your discretion. 

Mariners at Astros (8:10 pm ET), Lyle (6-6, 5.15) vs. Ramirez (4-1, 5.44) 

These two teams are playing out the string on this season; Seattle is 16 games behind the nearest American League playoff spot, while Houston, at 44 games under .500, is, well, let's not get into that. But at least the boss is making money, right? 

Seattle is coming off an 0-6 home-stand during which Mariners pitching gave up 38 runs. The Astros, meanwhile, just lost two of three in Chicago to the White Sox, giving up 18 runs. 

The last time these new division rivals met in Houston the Mariners swept a three-game series, out-scoring the Astros 26-14. Two of those three games played OVER on the totals.

But perhaps most importantly today's game “features” two of the worst bullpens in baseball. Astros relievers rank dead last in the Majors with a 5.32 ERA and have blown 25 saves, while the Seattle pen ranks 29th with a 4.51 ERA. As it happens, each of the three teams with the worst bullpens ERAs (Houston, Seattle and the LA Angels), and five of the bottom six, have played more OVERS this year than UNDERS. 

Pick: Take the OVER nine runs at the +105 offered at 5Dimes. 

[gameodds]3/242171/?r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds]

Brewers at Pirates (7:05 pm ET), Cole (6-6, 3.81) vs. Gallardo (9-9, 4.61)

Pittsburgh, which has fallen into second place in the NL Central, hosts fourth-place Milwaukee for a rubber match Thursday evening. 

The Pirates are tying to break a 20-year playoff drought, and while they're looking good, leading the NL wild-card race, nothing is sewn up yet. 

Pittsburgh also received an immediate dividend from its trade with the Mets earlier this week when OF Marlon Byrd drilled a three-run homer in its 7-1 victory Wednesday night.

Adding C John Buck doesn't hurt, either.

The Brew Crew, on the other hand, is playing out the string with a bunch of guys not even Brewers fans knew the names of a month or so ago.

Milwaukee once owned this rivalry with the Pirates, for about three or four seasons. But this year Pittsburgh leads the season series 10 games to five. 

With so much to play for, and a solid young pitcher going against a depleted Brewers lineup, we like the Pirates today.

Pick: Take Pittsburgh at the -148 offered at 5Dimes.

[gameodds]3/242168/?r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds]

Indians at Braves (7:10 pm ET), Medlen (10-12, 3.74) vs. Jimenez (9-8, 3.95)

Atlanta, with the best record in baseball, shoots for a sweep of visiting Cleveland.

The Braves own a 13-game lead in the NL East, and seem certain of returning to the playoffs. 

The Indians, on the other hand, while 71-61, are four games behind Oakland in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.

Atlanta has won the first two games of this series by scores of 2-0 and 3-2. Cleveland is 0-for-14 with RISP the last two games.

Jimenez has gone six straight starts of allowing two ER or less, while Medlen has allowed seven ER over his last 20 innings. Also, these two hurlers are a combined 20-26 on the OVER/UNDERS this season.

On top of that the Braves own the best bullpen in baseball, with a 2.41 ERA.

We're not sure who's going to win today's game, but like the first two contests in this series we expect it to be low-scoring.

Pick: Take the UNDER eight runs at the -120 baseball odds offered at BookMaker.

[gameodds]3/242170/?r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds]

Hook 'Em

Were we to parlay these three MLB picks – the Mariners/Astros OVER, the Pirates and the Indians/Braves UNDER – and all three came up winners, we'd cash in at odds of just over 5/1.        

And being the gambler that we is, that's just the kind of thing we'd do.