MLB Betting Guide: Thursday 8/9/18

It's James Paxton against Justin Verlander, so runs should be at a premium. But, per our models, is the 6.5-run over/under too low?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, a line, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.

Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for today.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros

Over 6.5 (-115): 4-Star Rating out of 5

The Houston Astros have been dealing with a number of injuries to key players, including Jose Altuve and George Springer. Despite those absences, the 'Stros have continued to play solid ball and are a full five games clear of the second-place Seattle Mariners heading into tonight's clash at Minute Maid Park.

The division rivals have met nine times so far this season, with Houston taking home six wins. Each of the Mariners' three wins came when James Paxton started, and he just so happens to be taking the mound again tonight. Paxton has a 0.87 ERA against Houston in his three starts against them this season, so it should be no surprise that tonight's total is set at just 6.5, especially given that his opponent will be Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander.

Despite his success against Houston this season, Paxton has regularly had more trouble pitching on the road in his career, including this year. His ERA, WHIP, and BAA are all higher; his homers per nine and strikeouts per nine are lower. He's allowed at least three runs in three of his past four starts.

The two teams have scored at least seven combined runs in six of their nine contests this season and in 19 of their 28 meetings heading back to last season. The over is 18-13-1 when Seattle is an away underdog this season, with an average combined run total of 9.78 in those games.

We have the two teams scoring an average of 8.62 runs, blowing away the total by more than 2 runs. As such, we give the over a 69.90% chance of hitting. With an expected return of 30.70%, we have this marked as a four-star play, highest on the slate.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Dodgers (-124): 3-Star Rating out of 5

Just 6.5 games separate the top four teams in the National League West with just over a month and a half of baseball left to play. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are second and third, respectively, in the division, and they'll each be looking to take advantage of their meeting as they start a four-game series tonight.

The Dodgers are 6-3 this year in the season-long series versus Colorado, outscoring the Rockies by an average of 1.78 runs. This weekend's series is at Coors Field, where LA is 3-0 this season and averaging a ridiculous 11 runs per game.

They'll get to tee off against Tyler Anderson, whom the Dodgers' lineup has had reasonably strong success against in their careers. Current LA players are hitting .287 against him with a .872 OPS, 8 doubles, 3 triples, and 5 home runs in 122 at-bats.

Colorado is just 3-6 as home underdogs this season, while the Dodgers are 4 games over .500 as away favorites. LA has the second-highest implied total of the slate at 5.47 runs. Our models are much more liberal with their output, suggesting that they'll score 6.98 runs, by far the highest-projected total on the slate.

Given this, it's no surprise we see the Dodgers winning here. We give LA a 65.25% chance of winning outright this evening. With an expected return of 17.90%, we have this down as a three-star play.