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MLB Best Bets for Today June 27: The Struggling Starters to Target on Thursday

Publish Date: 06/27/2024
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

Check out my Best MLB Picks for today

The slate on Thursday is a short one, but rest assured there will be plenty of spots to take a look at later on in the night as some struggling starters step to the hill.

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

While we'll pick on one in Baltimore and back a Cy Young Award hopeful, I'm seeing plenty of reasons to believe in a host of others here as we anticipate a surprisingly low-scoring night of baseball around the league.

Let's waste no more time and dive into our MLB Best Bets for Thursday, June 27.

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MLB BEST BET FOR TEXAS RANGERS VS BALTIMORE ORIOLES

I'm a little worried here for the Jon Gray and the Texas Rangers as they step into a very hard park to pitch in.

Home runs have been easier to come by this season in Baltimore, and it's also been an incredibly difficult task to slow down the Orioles who have put the ball in the air at a high clip and converted those batted balls into home runs at a league-best 15.4% clip.

  • Gray has once again lacked the ground ball numbers to successfully pitch to contact around his low 22.7% strikeout rate, and with that it's no surprise it's pitched to a 3.59 ERA in the hitter-friendly Globe Life Field as opposed to a 2.20 ERA on the road.

Yes, this game will be on the road, but the park profiles very similarly to the one he calls home.

The Rangers' outfield defense is currently sporting a mark of -1 Outs Above Average according to Statcast to rank 16th in the league and they should have their hands full with an Orioles team which is third in the league in wRC+ over the past two weeks, carried by a stupendous .230 Isolated Power.

Texas, meanwhile, is down in 27th in that split and has been one of the worst offenses in the game for several weeks now with steady plate discipline numbers but absolutely nothing to show for when it comes to making meaningful contact.

  • That brings us to Corbin Burnes, who has only improved this season since coming to Baltimore with a .215 Expected Batting Average and a much-improved 6.1% walk rate.

He's also brought his ground ball rate up more than five points and the Rangers' current approach of making very weak contact on the ground should play right into his hands here.

I'll go ahead and back the Orioles to be leading after five, a number I still see a wealth of value in. I think we're getting a slight discount here given the Rangers limit strikeouts and Burnes is coming off of one of his worst years when it came to pitching to contact.

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Best Bet: Orioles First Five Innings -0.5 Runs (-130 at Caesars)

Looking to bet this one as the action unfolds? Check out our MLB Live Betting Guide.

MLB BEST BET FOR CLEVELAND GUARDIANS VS KANSAS CITY ROYALS

This number is quite high for a game featuring the worst offense in baseball over the past two weeks, but that's what happens when two pitchers with poor expected numbers toe the slab. With that said, I think there are plenty of reasons to believe in both men.

Starting with Wacha, he's been showing some solid improvements of late. The whiff rates on his changeup and slider are way up, with a lot of emphasis on the former.

That pitch has generated whiffs in June at a rate which is 10 percentage points higher than what we saw in the first two months of the year, and the Guardians are not only middling against this pitch for the season but have been the second-worst in baseball by run value per 100 pitches in the last two weeks.

  • He may not be putting up stellar ground-ball numbers, but that shouldn't matter at Kauffman Stadium. Yes, it grades out as a hitter's park due to its spacious nature, but it continues to be one of the hardest parks in the game to hit home runs in.

The Guardians have feasted on the longball this season and shouldn't experience the same level of success here, particularly if their expert strikeout rate takes a bit of a hit here with the stuff we're seeing out of Wacha.

  • On the flip side, Ben Lively may not own the prettiest peripheral stats as he struggles for swings and misses, but he's pitched to a good .238 Expected Batting Average and has really only been susceptible to home runs this season, allowing 10 in his 12 starts with a higher Expected Slugging.

Kansas City is hitting just .188 over the past two weeks with a meek .134 Isolated Power, so I don't foresee many issues here for either pitcher. I think the Guardians' offense will cool a bit and that'll take us to the Under.

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Best Bet: Under 9 (-114 at FanDuel)

Not sure where to place your bet? Be sure to check out our ballislifebets section. 

BEST NRFI BETS TODAY

It's been a struggle to find a spot to play a NRFI today with so few games to choose from, but I think I've found one in the game which is featuring maybe the worst pitcher on the slate in Davis Daniel.

  • The journeyman, who has thrown just 12 1/3 big-league innings, has had a rather nightmarish season down in Triple-A and is coming off four starts this month where he posted a 4.01 ERA.
  • With that said, though, the strikeouts continue to be there with 29 punchies in 24 2/3 innings at that level, and we can also chalk some of the results up to the hitter-friendly nature of the Pacific Coast League.

It's not as if the Tigers are hitting the ball well at the moment, posting a 92 wRC+ in the last two weeks, and it's also a bit of an adjustment to face a pitcher for the first time -- particularly with very little information and game tape available for a guy who's hardly pitched at this level.

  • So, even if Daniel does struggle, it might take a couple of innings for him to share his true colors -- and against a Tigers team which strikes out a lot he's got a chance to make a good first start this year.

On the opposite end, I've got no concerns about the indomitable Jack Flaherty making it through an injured and slumping top of the Angels order given the year he's had.

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NRFI Predictions: Tigers vs Angels NRFI (-120 at FanDuel)

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