3 MLB Best Bets for Thursday 5/16/24

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic

Baseball has you covered if you want a large inventory of options to bet.

From moneylines to run totals to first-five-inning wagers, we have plenty of ways to bet the long, arduous MLB schedule daily. Outlooks can be vastly different due to starting pitchers, and a wealth of advanced stats can let us know if an individual pitcher, a bullpen, or a team is due for positive -- or negative -- regression.

Using numberFire's projections as a guide, which MLB odds from FanDuel Sportsbook are most appealing today?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated projections.

MLB Betting Picks

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies, 6:40 p.m. ET

Over 8.0 Runs (-114)

On Thursday, the lone NL East matchup has caught my eye. Out at Citizens Bank Park, the Philadelphia Phillies (31-13) will host the New York Mets (19-23).

The Phillies have been on a scorcher as of late. To wrap up this four-game series with New York, Philadelphia has currently won 23 of their past 28 contests. As for the Mets, they've fallen short in nine of their last 14 bids.

Jose Quintana and Taijuan Walker are the projected starters today in the "City of Brotherly Love." In 2024, Quintana is the owner of a mediocre 4.87 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) while Walker has a 55.4% fly-ball rate. Transparently, both of those factors could lead to explosive results for the opposing offenses.

Between the Phillies and Metropolitans, I like over 8.0 runs (-114 odds) in this contest. Both lineups here can swing it, especially Philadelphia. The Fightin' Phils boast MLB's third-best team OPS at .757. From there, they are scoring 5.27 runs per game in the current campaign.

The Mets might not be banging the ball like Philly is, but New York's National League side still has myriad hitters who can put pressure on Walker, such as J.D. Martinez and Brandon Nimmo -- both players show OPSs north of 1.200 versus Walker throughout their careers.

numberFire's game projection model is in strong support of over 8.0 runs in this contest. Their forecast presents a winning score for Philadelphia, 5.42-4.61, which summates to more than 10 runs. Simply, numberFire gives the over a 62.95% winning likelihood.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, 7:40 p.m. ET

Cubs Moneyline (-126)

Following the path of the sun, let's move over to the NL Central. Like the game mentioned above, this will be Thursday's only contest from this specific grouping. So, what can we expect as the Pittsburgh Pirates (19-25) and Chicago Cubs (25-19) open a divisional series from Wrigley Field?

On the corner of Clark and Addison, the probable pitchers are Jared Jones and lefty Justin Steele. The rookie Jones has been quite solid for Pittsburgh this season, utilizing a 3.45 FIP over eight starts. As for Steele, he missed some time in April due to a leg injury. Since returning (three appearances), the southpaw has produced a respectable 4.12 SIERA.

With quality pitching expected, we could see a close game on the Northside. Still, with Chicago showing -126 moneyline odds -- which implies a 55.8% win probability -- at home on Thursday, I see value in that listing.

The MLB game projections at numberFire also like the Cubbies in this matchup against the Pirates. There, Chicago is approximated to win by a score of 5.36-3.94 and has a 67.3% winning likelihood for Cubs ML backers. When cross-referencing against ESPN Analytics, it's more of the same. There, Chicago yields a 65.3% chance to win tonight.

In 2024, Chicago has already amassed 202 total runs (or 4.59 runs per game), which is currently a top-10 mark in MLB. Across the way, Pittsburgh's lineup has churned out only 3.7 runs per game. Entering Thursday, that is the second-worst scoring clip on the Senior Circuit.

Let's look for Wrigley to fly the W flag later this evening.

Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET

Over 9.0 Runs (-110)

To keep the theme of divisional battles going, I'll highlight the AL West next. At the quirky Minute Maid Park, the Oakland Athletics (19-26) and Houston Astros (18-25) are finishing up a four-game series.

The A's are technically ahead of Houston in the standings, but the 'Stros have done well to win all three previous games of this set (twice covering the run line). Still, when looking at tonight's personnel, over 9.0 runs (-110 odds) feels like the best approach.

On the mound, we'll see starters Cristian Javier and Joey Estes. Notably, Javier is off to one of the worst starts of his MLB career. He displays a 5.85 SIERA, which might not fare well against an improved Oakland offense.

Estes enters this bid with fewer than 20 innings pitched throughout his MLB tenure, and frankly, things have not gone well for him in the big leagues. In particular, he's surrendered a 45.8% hard-hit rate along with 4.70 HR/9 and when facing left-handed batters. Considering Houston's lineup, the Astros could jump on Estes early and often.

My colleague Tom Vecchio is also featuring this game for Thursday's home run prop bets to target. I believe there is strong merit to that. Despite Houston's struggles as a team, they still hold a collective .738 OPS while also ranking eighth in total home runs (49).

In the visitor's dugout, the Athletics have progressed in the batter's box. Keep in mind: Oakland has scored as many as 20 runs in a single game this season. Additionally, Minute Maid Park is a hitter's venue, as its intimate dimensions -- the left-field Crawford boxes sit just 315-feet down the line -- and optional roof make for a great place to take hacks.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.