MLB Best Bets for Thursday, May 16th

Despite the small six-game slate, we are still on the hunt for some MLB best bets on Thursday. While this can make for sharper lines from the sportsbooks, there are still a couple spots to make money on the diamond tonight.

MLB Best Bets for Thursday, May 16th


MLB Best Bet #1) Pittsburgh Pirates First 5 Innings +0.5 runs (-127)


While the Pittsburgh Pirates have had an underwhelming season so far in 2024, there is reason to trust them in the first half of their matchup with the Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh hasn’t instilled much confidence recently, dropping their last three series, but have a great chance to get back on track on Thursday when they send out ace Jared Jones. The 22-year-old rookie has been excellent in his first big league season, posting the seventh-best SIERA among 148 starters with 20+ innings pitched behind a 30.1% strikeout rate (10th best) and the best Stuff+ grade in the MLB at 135. This should bode well against the Cubs, who have been much better against left-handers this year than right, where they rank just 14th in wRC+ and have the 19th worst strikeout rate, along with sporting the worst whiff rate in the MLB against RHP at 28% over the last four series.

Offensively, the Pirates get another favorable matchup against Chicago starter Justine Steele. Steele has just four outings this season, one being in the minor leagues, and it hasn’t gone very well for him, including giving up six earned runs in just over four innings of work against this same Pirates team last week. Pittsburgh has been way better against left-handed pitching this year too, going from the worst wRC+ in the league against RHP at 77 to 12th best against LHP at 107. Pittsburgh has both pitching and hitting advantages in this spot, so they should be able to at least keep this game tied up before heading into the sixth inning.

MLB Best Bet #2) Los Angeles Dodgers Team Total over 4.5 runs (-135)


The Los Angeles Dodgers will open up a four-game series this weekend against a team headed in the opposite direction of themselves in the Cincinnati Reds. Los Angeles has the third most wins in 2024 and holds a record of 29-16, heavily due to their offensive prowess. Over their past four full series in May, the Dodgers own the sixth-best wRC+ behind impressive power numbers, including the best-ranked ISO and second-best slugging percentage. Their success at the plate should hold true on Thursday evening when they face Cincinnati, who will be utilizing a bullpen day.

They will send out southpaw Brent Suter to start the game, who the Dodgers should be able to produce against early. Suter owns a respectable 3.57 SIERA (72nd among 203 pitchers with 20+ innings) but there is plenty of reason to expect L.A. to hit him around too, including his 36% ground ball rate (156th) and 93 Stuff+ ratings (136th), not to mention the Dodgers ranking top-five wRC+ and a bottom-five strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. Cincinnati will then send out Nick Martinez for a bulk inning role, but his 137th-ranked 4.21 SIERA isn’t much to believe in either. With the offensive firepower Los Angeles has and the middling pitchers the Reds have set to pitch on Thursday night, the Dodgers should be able to take advantage and score five-plus runs.

Main Image: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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