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Best MLB Bets Today: Division Rivals Square Off Thursday

Written by: Michael Savio
Published May 16, 2024
11 min read
Best MLB Bets Today 2024 05 16

Today’s bets come from division clashes where rivals will have their top arms on the mound. The first is an AL East battle between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. The other is an NL Central showdown between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs.

Below, we’ll share our favorite bet for both of these games. We’ll provide insights into each, along with odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook. If you haven’t tried DraftKings yet, sign up using our exclusive link to earn $150 in Bonus Bets when you place an initial wager of $5+.

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Best MLB Bets Today: Rays vs. Red Sox (7:10 PM EST)

Under 8.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook

This is a matchup of two teams with mediocre offenses. The Red Sox are seventeenth in the league in runs scored (180), while the Rays are close at eighteenth (176). While both teams have some dangerous hitters, neither has the depth to consistently put up big run totals. That will be a big problem tonight, as both sides will have a hot pitcher on the mound.

The Rays will be starting Zack Littell (2-2, 3.02 ERA) against the Red Sox tonight. The righty became an important piece of the Tampa rotation last season and has been even better in 2024. While he can’t go deep into games, he has surrendered more than three runs just once this season. We expect that trend to continue tonight as he faces a Red Sox team struggling to score runs.

The Red Sox will have Cooper Criswell (2-1, 2.10 ERA) starting opposite Littell tonight. The 27-year-old was a prospect with the Rays but only played 11 games with the big league club. Boston has given him a spot in their rotation in his first season with the club, and he has exceeded all expectations. 

Like Littell, Criswell can’t go deep into games but has not allowed more than two runs across all six of his starts. While the resurgence of Randy Arozerana gives the Tampa lineup an edge, it won’t be enough to put up a big total against Criswell and the Red Sox.

Bet Under 8.5 (-105) at DraftKings CTA icon

Best MLB Bets Today: Pirates vs. Cubs (7:40 PM EST)

Pirates ML at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Pirates continue to spiral down the standings, but they’ll have a great chance to add a badly needed win tonight with Jard Jones (2-4, 2.68 ERA). The 22-year-old prospect has been incredible in his rookie season as teams struggle to figure him out. His 0.87 WHIP is elite, thanks in part to him walking just seven batters across 47 innings this season. Jones has allowed more than two runs in just one of his previous five starts, and we don’t see that changing tonight.

As good as the Cubs lineup us, Jones looked good against them last week. He allowed just two earned runs (3 total) across six innings. That would typically be enough to get a win, but the Pirates bullpen was hit hard. While that is always a risk with the Buccos, we see a big offensive night come for Pittsburgh.

Chicago will have ace Justin Steele (0-0, 4.73 ERA) making the start tonight. He missed over a month of the season but will make his third start since returning from the IL. His first start back was solid, but Steele was crushed by the Pirates just last week. He allowed six runs on six hits and two walks over just four innings. The performance was eerily similar to his start against the Pirates last September, where he allowed six runs on eight hits over three innings. 

Run scoring has become a big issue for the Pirates, but they have some very good young bats. Given their recent experience against Steele, we think they put up an impressive number again tonight.

Bet on Pirates ML (-105) at DraftKings CTA icon


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Michael Savio

477 Articles

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.

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