Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Thursday's MLB Games
By Mike Sheets
Even with an abbreviated 12-game slate on Thursday, there are still plenty of aces to power those DFS lineups, as Justin Verlander, Joe Musgrove, Brandon Woodruff and Clayton Kershaw are all scheduled to take the hill for their respective teams. Based on matchup, it will be particularly difficult to fade Musgrove, who matches up with the Colorado Rockies at home, and Brandon Woodruff, who takes on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. If you're searching for that DFS anchor, it's hard to go wrong with either arm.
Alek Manoah is tentatively slated to start on Thursday after being removed from his last start when he was hit by a line drive on his right elbow. Assuming health, the big right-hander will toe the rubber against a Minnesota Twins club that's been league average offensively since the All-Star break. While Manoah hasn't posted gaudy strikeout totals this season, he's been one of the most dependable hurlers in baseball, registering quality starts in 16 of 20 outings.
Dating back to Jun 15, Johnny Cueto (37% rostered in ESPN leagues) owns a 2.41 ERA over his last eight starts. Not only that, but he's produced six straight quality starts and has thrown seven or more innings in three of his last four turns. Sure, the 6.1 K/9 is disappointing, but the veteran right-hander is consistently logging quality innings, and that's what we look for out of our streamers. Thursday's matchup against the Texas Rangers won't be a cakewalk, but Cueto should be up to the task.
With Frankie Montas being shipped off to the New York Yankees, Paul Blackburn (42%) is one of the arms the Oakland A's will rely on to help lead their staff. That said, the 28-year-old right-hander has been brutal lately, delivering an 8.05 ERA over his last seven starts. In those seven outings, he's been hammered for five or more runs on four occasions. Even against the Angels' Mike Trout-less offense, exercise caution if you're considering Blackburn as a streaming option on Thursday.
The Washington Nationals put up a bottom-five 77 wRC+ and .280 wOBA over the last month, and that was with Juan Soto and Josh Bell, who are now in San Diego. This is definitely a lineup we want to stream against going forward (if it wasn't already), and Thursday's beneficiary is the Philadelphia Phillies' Bailey Falter. Falter has been roughed up a bit since joining the starting rotation, but he's coming off a strong outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates (2 ER in 6 IP) and should be able to continue that success against the punch-less Nats lineup. Falter may not be exciting in terms of skills, but sometimes a weak opponent is enough for streaming purposes, and that's the case here.
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Thursday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Thursday
Patrick Wisdom (CHC, 3B -- 47%) at Quintana and Mikolas
Lars Nootbaar (STL, RF -- 1%) vs. Newcomb and Stroman
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Thursday
C.J. Cron (COL, 1B -- 97%) at Musgrove
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR, LF -- 92%) at Gray
Charlie Blackmon (COL, RF -- 95%) at Musgrove
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Kyle Wright pitching outs: Over/Under 17.5 (-170/+125)
THE BAT sees Wright putting up 15.9 pitching outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 38.8% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the UNDER, with an expected value of $37.63.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
The New York Mets have been the third-luckiest offense in the game this year, according to THE BAT X, and are likely to perform worse in future games.
Wright's 94.6 mph fastball velocity this year ranks in the 85th percentile among SPs.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER