Top MLB Picks and Predictions Today (Three Totals to Target on Thursday)

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Braxton Garrett.
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Braxton Garrett. / David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

There are just four teams remaining in the American League wild card race, the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles, entering Thursday's MLB action.

In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers have pulled to within half a game of the Philadelphia Phillies for the final wild card spot, making the stretch run of this season one that will be must-watch baseball.

With a shorter slate on Thursday, BetSided's Peter Dewey and Donnavan Smoot broke down some of their favorite picks for games that could impact these wild card races:

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians Odds, Prediction and Pick

If you want to back the Guardians in this spot, I wouldn’t blame you, as they’ve won 10 of Cal Quantrill’s last 11 outings. 

Still, I believe in Jeffrey Springs as well, as the Rays are 17-6 in his 23 starts this season and have won five straight with Springs on the mound. 

So, rather than fade one of these two starters, I’m going to look to the UNDER in this game, which happens to be at plus money.

Spring has allowed more than three earned runs in just two of his 23 starts this season, while Quantrill is on a streak of seven straight starts with three or fewer runs allowed. 

The Rays rank just 18th in OPS over the last 15 days, and this looks like a game where the better pitching staff wins out. With these two starters on the mound, and two bullpens that rank in the top six in the league in ERA, the UNDER is the way to go.

Miami Marlins vs. Milwaukee Brewers Odds, Prediction and Pick

I’m a bit concerned for the Brewers. Eric Lauer is on the mound in this one and he hasn’t been the most trustworthy starter recently. He’s been pulled before the third inning in his last two starts and he’s lost two of his last three starts.

Braxton Garrett doesn’t inspire much confidence either, with a 2-4 road record and 4.40 ERA away from home. He has pitched well though, only allowing three runs over his last three starts. 

The Brewers only need a win and they have thrived in this spot and they’ve been very good on the year in this scenario. Milwaukee is 38-23 SU as a home favorite

Still, Lauer’s recent performance makes me want to lean towards the OVER rather than a side. 

LEAN: OVER 7.5 (-106)

You can find Donnavan Smoot’s full betting record here.

Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners Odds, Prediction and Pick

Jon Gray has pitched well in his three starts since coming off the injured list, allowing just three earned runs in 13.0 innings pitched, but Texas has found a way to lose each of those games. 

In those starts, the Texas bullpen has given up nine, three and five runs, essentially wasting solid starts by Gray. Despite that, I’m not ready to back the Mariners in this matchup. 

Marco Gonzales has gotten away with pitching pretty poorly this season, as he has a 5.02 Fielding Independent Pitching, but his ERA is nearly a whole run lower. He’s allowed 27 homers in 30 starts, and he’s given up six homers in four starts this month while pitching to a 4.44 ERA. 

I think Texas, which ranks 10th in OPS against lefties this season, will have no problem getting to Gonzales in this game. That, coupled with the Rangers’ questionable bullpen, should lead us OVER this low total.