After a couple days off to enjoy Independence Day and take a deep breath, MLB handicapper Dalton Brown dove right back in with a best bet on Wednesday's MLB slate. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays and White Sox were rained out - but we've got the same pitching matchup in the first game of Thursday's double-header, so the handicap doesn't change. Thursday, Dalton is adding a play on the Pirates and Dodgers to the docket as well.
5:10 p.m. ET: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox: Blue Jays moneyline (-120) at BetMGM
The Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox will resume their series from the south side of Chicago on Thursday, and I'm backing Toronto to pick up a win.
The Blue Jays will get their shot at struggling veteran righty Lance Lynn, a pitcher who has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last six starts and just finished June with an ERA of 6.28. Lynn already saw Toronto in April, and was drilled for four earned runs in only five innings. The veteran righty is facing an especially steep uphill battle against the Jays, who rank sixth in MLB since June 1 with a 111 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching.
Jose Berrios will take the mound for Toronto, hoping to begin a third-straight strong month of pitching in July. Berrios posted a 3.19 ERA in May followed by a 3.53 mark in June, and when he last saw the White Sox in April, he cruised through seven scoreless innings. Chicago hasn't improved much offensively, either - since June 1, the White Sox rank just 25th in MLB with a 91 wRC+ vs. righties.
The Blue Jays' bullpen has been excellent as well, posting a 3.93 xFIP (4th-best in MLB) since June 1. Toronto is the better team here, with a pitching matchup slanted in their favor and a bullpen in good form. Let's trust the Jays.
10:10 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers: OVER 8.5 (-115) at FanDuel
The Dodgers and Pirates will finish up their high-scoring four-game series on Thursday night from Chavez Ravine, and I'm expecting more of the same after back-to-back nights with double-digit runs.
Johan Oviedo pitches for Pittsburgh, a righty whose season has been a roller coaster of emotions to date. Oviedo struggled when he saw the Dodgers in April, surrendering five runs in five innings of work. Since then, he's been streaky - but overall, his xERA of 4.49 tells the story of a below-average arm. After allowing eight runs in his last start vs. Milwaukee, it seems likely that another streak of struggles might be headed his way - especially given the Dodgers' excellent offensive form of late.
When Oviedo exits, the Pirates bullpen will enter - and given that unit's 28th-ranked xFIP since June 1, we could see even more offensive fireworks for L.A. in the late innings.
Julio Urias, the Dodgers' closest thing to an ace in their current patchwork rotation, has struggled when healthy lately in his own right. Urias' 4.94 ERA is his highest since his age-20 season in 2017, and he's allowed five or more runs in four of his last seven starts including a clunker on April 27 in Pittsburgh. It's hard to have a ton of faith in the lefty at the moment, and the Dodgers' bullpen is extremely taxed with de facto closer Evan Phillips and preferred lefty option Caleb Ferguson both likely unavailable here.